On Monday afternoon, UC Merced held an award ceremony celebrating the social justice advocate, Anita Hill in the Merced Theatre. UC Merced’s Spendlove prize was established in 2006. The award is in honor of Sherrie Spendlove’s parents, and recognizes either, “a scholar, author, artist, or citizen who exemplifies in their work, the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in the diverse local and global society,” according to UC Merced’s Spendlove biography.
Anita Hill is infamously known for revolutionizing how sexual harassment is viewed and treated in the workplace. On 1991, she testified in court against Clarence Thomas, an associate Justice in the Supreme Court, for sexual harassment. Since then she has become a national figure and advocate against sexual harassment.
Hill used her recognition as a platform to advocate for victims of sexual assault and discussed the need to continue to push for the advancement of gender equality and respect for women. “I believe change is possible, but this past month and time to time since the year 1991, question of women’s right to their own bodily integrity are again on the front pages of newspaper… the mere fact that it is newsworthy shows we’ve come a long way since 1991,” she explained in response to Donald Trump’s 2005 comments.
Hill also discussed the frequency and seriousness regarding sexual assault, “I believe it’s going to take all of us, people of good will and integrity, women and men, to rid our workplaces and our schools and our streets of this problem… We know as I’ve said that 1 in 3 women are going to be sexually harassed. 1 in 5 women or 1 in 7, depending on which statistics you read, are going to be sexually assaulted… It impacts all of us and you can say, well what is a good number? 1 in 500? 1 in 1000? No one in any number is good, when you think about it if it’s your wife, your sister, your daughter, no level off harassment is tolerated…So how do we change the script?”
The moving speech regarding sexual assault moved mountains and ended her speech with an anecdote on her never ending determination and how she forever will be a, “catalyst for change.”
Photo Credit: UC Merced