Stand up, Speak Out

On Thursday I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Anita Hill address the Chicago Foundation for Women annual luncheon. Her words moved me, so I thought I would share a few of the memorable quotes here in this space.

In response to her experience in law:

  • “Judicial accountability.”
  • “Take risks for women.”
  • “I will never recant my statement.”

In response to standing up for women:

  • “We have to do it even when we’re alone.”
  • “There is no room for complacency.”

My favorite:

  • Standing up and speaking out will never go out of fashion.”

Prior to Anita Hill speaking, a courageous woman named Tawny got up and shared her heart-wrenching experience with drug addiction, jail and having her own child taken from her while she served her jail sentence. Through an organization supported by the Chicago Foundation for Women grants, Tawny slowly rebuilt her life through an ex-offender support and training program. She’s fully employed now and living the life she says she will never give up on.

She cried as she described each step that lead her closer to the bottom and she smiled with tears running down her face as she described each step that lead her back to her son and to a job that affords her enough to support them. The audience gave her a standing ovation many times throughout her very personal story. I could only imagine that standing up in front of a room of 1,600 women (and maybe 50 men?) would be tough, but extremely validating after all that she went through to get on that stage, to stand up and speak out.

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