Monday, January 6 2014, 11:32 AM MST
Person to Person: Anita Hill
In 1991, Anita Hill became a national figure when she testified before the U.S. Senate that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had made harassing sexual comments to her when she worked for him.
Hill was in town recently and sat down with Shauna Lake to discuss how this experience more than 20 years ago has impacted her life.
Shauna Lake: Anita, thank you so much for being with us today, I know you are in town and speaking to the up and coming women who are making big differences in life. What were some of the things you spoke about?
Anita Hill: I was able to say thank you to some people in Utah who, 22 years ago, bought a full page ad in my student paper supporting me. I was able to say thank you to them and talk a little bit to them about what my journey has been since then. But how much that statement meant to me.
Shauna Lake: Tell me, had you ever met those people before?
Anita Hill: Never met them; had never seen them. I was surprised as anyone to see the ad when it happened. I remember it left such an impression that I can remember exactly where I was when I saw it for the first time. The ad came out 10 days after I testified in 1991 and a lot of us at the university really felt under siege from the press and from the critics. I had wonderful colleagues, I had wonderful students who were all trying to be supportive, but we were feeling a little bit isolated after a point and then this student came and said, have you see the student paper today? And, I think I might have been working on the crossword puzzle at the time but he pointed out the ad. I didn't know it was coming didn't expect it and was just really an emotional boost for me and for my colleagues.
Shauna Lake: And youre even moved now. I can tell.
Anita Hill: I am, I am. It's beautiful and it's hard to talk about. I was so thankful just to be here to say thank you in person, a little late, but I guess it's never too late to say thank you.
Shauna Lake: Who is Anita Hill and what gives that person the courage to stand up to, really, an institution?
Anita Hill: Through it all I just kept remembering it's the court, it's the integrity of the court, its the rule of law that is at stake here and the integrity of the court is only as good as the integrity of the individuals who sit on it. I had to keep reminding myself of that. The other part of that was I was teaching law students at the time and I knew in my heart that if I could train people and look them in the face and say this is a profession you should go in I had an obligation to make sure that I believed in it.
Shauna Lake: We never know what course our life is going to take but how has this changed you as a person and changed the course of your life?
Anita Hill: I'm not sure it has changed me as a person, except that Im stronger in the person that I always was. It's changed my career entirely, but in a good way.
Shauna Lake: I was so impressed when I read you were the youngest of 13 children, is that right?
Anita Hill: That absolutely is right, you know I always say to people it is impressive isn't it?, but I had nothing to do with it. My mother was so committed to looking to the future and envisioning things. She helped me believe that we could do the impossible even when you have doubters,
Shauna Lake: And you've helped future generations of girls do the same thing.
Anita Hill: I absolutely hope so.
Shauna Lake: I'm glad that you have a soft spot in your heart for Utah.
Anita Hill: I do, absolutely; absolutely. I was so grateful to be here 22 years later and say thank you.
Shauna Lake: And thank you. Its been so nice to get to know you a little bit better person to person.
-Written and Produced by Angie Denison