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Anita Hill keynotes Illinois' 5th annual Jane Addams Day tribute
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2011-12-14

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Jan Huttner as Addams photo for Windy City Times by Hal Baim


Anita Hill, senior advisor to the provost and professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University, was the featured speaker at Illinois' 5th annual Jane Addams Day held Dec. 10 at the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple in the Chicago's Loop.

The event was attended by approximately 100 people who came to hear Hill speak about her book Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home.

"Jane Addams," played by Jan Lisa Huttner of Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now ( WITASWAN ) made the opening remarks, before Kim Benziger, chair of American Association of University Women-Illinois' ( AAUW-Illinois ) First Jane Addams Day Committee welcomed everyone.

Hill, made famous for her charges of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas in his Supreme Court Senate confirmation hearings, spent the majority of her time speaking about housing issues as they relate to gender and race, delving into the history of home ownership in the United States going back to the 1800s as well as the current mortgage crisis and the affect that food deserts, lack of transportation and infrastructure, and other issues have on low-income areas.

In speaking about equality, Hill said that just because President Obama was elected president doesn't mean that the country is now equal. Hill said, "equality comes when everyone has equal access to all of the opportunities that our country has to offer regardless of where she calls home."

Hill took questions from the audience ranging from home insecurity as it relates to health insecurity, what role she saw herself taking if she were to work in government, various financial questions including credit inequality for women and finally the issue of sexual harassment. Of sexual harassment, Hill said that bullying is tied into sexual harassment issues so it is critical to educate males as well as females about sexual harassment and bullying.

Following Hill's Q&A, Louise W. Knight, author of Jane Addams: Spirit in Action, spoke about Jane Addams and the progressive tradition. Huttner closed out the morning's event with the discussing the importance of celebrating Jane Addams Day.


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