Anita Hill speech at Simmons College on April 11, 2008, “The Power of Our Presence: African American Women Building Communities, Families, Ourselves,” focused both on the past by examining the racist and misogynist 1965 Moynihan report, and on the present by noting milestones achieved by black women since the report’s release.
Looking to the future, Hill urged the audience to take advantage of opportunities outside the community: in the workforce and in areas like education, politics, and law. She cited five ways, or “pledges,” for Black women to further their presence in leadership roles, including: moving beyond Brown v. Board of Education to change access and curriculum; integrating society, starting with the workplace; creating a safe-haven in the home and community; and saving the community’s soul by emphasizing religion and generating positive images of African American culture.
“We have to become the political leaders we deserve,” said Hill as the fifth and final pledge. “If we are serious about having a conversation about race and gender, we must have elected officials in leadership roles that are willing to talk about it.
“The burn of identity,” Hill said, both as a women and as an African American, “can be overwhelming but nothing for Simmons women.”
“Our hopes speak to all Americans,” said Hill. She urged the crowd to strive to leave the next generation inclusive, not just tolerant. “We are the American Dream,” she concluded.