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Published on October 4th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


28th Annual Anita Hill Celebration

“I Believe Anita Hill!,” the longest-running women’s networking event in the country, will be held Tuesday, Oct. 15, at a new venue:  Central Energy in the BullStreet District of Columbia.  This is the 28th annual celebration.

Hill, an attorney, electrified the nation in 1991 at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when she described alleged sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas, her former supervisor and then a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hill, a professor at Brandeis University, attended three previous “I Believe Anita Hill!” celebrations in Columbia, in 1997, 2011, and 2016.

The event’s 100 hosts selected this year’s theme: ‘Forward – Not Back.’ 

“When it comes to pay equity, political representation, reproductive rights, jobs, sexual harassment and sexual assault, women will not go back,” said Barbara Rackes, a founder of the annual event and a South Carolina entrepreneur.

More than 750 women and men from across the state attended last year.

The first event was held in 1992 as a way to channel the outrage many women felt at the disrespectful way Hill, who is African-American, had been treated during her testimony by the all-white, all-male U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Twenty-seven years after Hill’s testimony, Professor Christine Blasey Ford alleged at Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 confirmation hearing for the U.S. Supreme Court that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her decades earlier.  Despite Ford’s testimony, Kavanaugh was confirmed to the high court.

The “I Believe Anita Hill!” celebration, which is nonpartisan, blossomed into a women-supporting-women networking event sponsored by professional women and activists.

The Oct. 15 event is free.  Doors don’t open until 5:30 p.m., and the event ends at 8 p.m. at Central Energy, 2030 Gregg St., at the corner of Calhoun and Gregg streets near the new Columbia Fireflies stadium.  Valet parking is provided by the nonprofit organization Choose Well.

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