Discusses Impact of Housing Crisis and More
Before Welcoming Crowd at MCCC
N.J. - In
an engaging talk that included personal history, some keen
observations about how our troubled economic times impact
women, and a call for women to become more vigorously involved
in issues of gender equality, Professor Anita Hill, Esq.,
spoke to a packed auditorium at Mercer County Community College's
Conference Center on May 2.
During her presentation, entitled "Reimagining Equality,
An Evening with Anita Hill," Ms. Hill, the youngest of
13 children from a rural Oklahoma family, said she learned
of the power of education from her mother, and developed a
sense of self-worth from an early age that has guided her
Currently a professor at the Heller School of Social Policy
and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., Ms.
Hill first became widely known during the Senate hearings
for Clarence Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court in
She noted that she came forward because of her concern about
the integrity of the court. "The Supreme Court is only
as good as the people who sit on it. These are lifetime appointments.
The time was right for disruptive conversations about the
realities of women's lives. My testimony didn't change things.
Your reaction changed things," she said to the attendees.
Since that time, Hill has remained a champion for women's
and racial equality and an advocate of women's rights. She
notes that many women have contacted her to tell their stories
in the workplace, and their experiences as mothers and daughters.
Recalling the recent debate about oral contraception for women
and the testimony of Georgetown Law School student Sandra
Fluke before Congress, Hill noted, "This is a transformative
moment. It's time for young people to get re-engaged in gender
equality issues and for young women to have their voices heard.
We deserve a place at the table and to have our representatives
Hill added, "There is a bundle of issues. Gender equality
is not a simple formula. We have to be careful that women's
health care does not take a backseat in the debate."
She praised the two women currently serving on the U.S. Supreme
Court, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sondra Sotomayor, and noted
that more women need to be represented in government.
With regard to the impact of the housing crisis on women and
the impoverished, the subject of her new book "Reimagining
Equality," she explained that women will always be playing
catch-up as long as their wages remain at $.77 for every dollar
earned by men." With the rise in home ownership by women
beginning in earnest at a time when subprime mortgage loans
became popular, the foreclosure crisis has hit women especially
hard. "We cannot assume that the issues will be resolved
by the market," Hill said. "The next generation
is at stake."
In the question-and-answer period, Ms. Hill addressed voter
rights and offered advice to a single mother of a 6-year-old.
"Make sure she has a strong sense of self and knowledge
that she has something of value to offer the world,"
Hill said. She shared that her own mother advised her to "plan
based on what you want for your future. You have to be ready
for the opportunities."
Hill added, "If you stand up for your rights, you are
going to be called names. Don't let people define you by their
labels. And know that you have a sisterhood behind you."
With event proceeds to be donated to HomeFront, which works
to end homelessness in Central New Jersey, the evening ended
on a perfect note. HomeFront clients in attendance were asked
to come forward to accept scholarships from the New Jersey
Women Lawyers Association (NJWLA) to study at MCCC, which
were presented by NJWLA President Wendy Lario.
Said HomeFront staff member Lynne Wise, "Many of our
clients earn their GED through Mercer and 80 percent go on
to college at Mercer. Once they get their first taste of success,
The event was jointly presented by the Association of Black
Women Lawyers of New Jersey (ABWL) and the New Jersey Women
Lawyers Association. Sponsors included Mercer County Community
College, African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey,
the American Association of University Women, the Collegiate
Title Corporation, the National Congress of Black Women, and
Rutgers Camden Law School.
Also participating in the program were MCCC President Dr.
Patricia Donohue, ABWL President El-Rhonda Williams Alston,
Esq., Dean and Provost of MCCC's James Kerney Campus Monica
Weaver, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority President Geraldine
Return to Current News
Hill expresses her views on issues of gender equality and
the impact of the housing crisis on women.
and special guests, from left, Geraldine Eure, Esq., NJWLA President
Wendy Lario, Esq., JKC Provost Monica Weaver, speaker Anita
Hill, Esq., State Senator Shirley Turner, ABWL President El-Rhonda
Williams Alston, Esq., MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue, and
one of the event sponsors, Laurie Poulos, Esq.
with Anita Hill (center) are HomeFront clients, front row
from left, Latavia Lopez, Helen Baeza, Shanell Hutchinson
and Tiesha Horton; back row from left, HomeFront staffers
Judy Long and Lynne Wise, client Kristen Lloyd; and Executive
Director Connie Mercer.
Hill accepts a commemorative award from the organizers.
Poulos, Esq., congratulates HomeFront clients, who were presented
with NJWLA scholarships to continue their education at MCCC.
members clap enthusiastically at the conclusion of Hill's