HEALING AND RECONCILIATION HAS ALWAYS REQUIRED
TRUTH, ACCOUNTABILITY AND ACTION
About The Letters
Dear Ms. Hill continues the conversation around sexual assault and sexual harassment in the nation as it impacts Black women and girl survivors. Additionally, it continues the conversation that the Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (BWTRC) started in 2016 around what this nation and what the Black community owes to Black women and girls. This letter series is in the work and practice of the BWTRC’s four mandates of Truth, Justice, Healing, and Reconciliation.
These letters to Anita Hill are not simply a gesture to her, but an apology to those who experienced sexual violence in all forms while the rest of the Black community stood by silently at best and vocally judgmental at worst. This is an acknowledgement that silence is complicity in the vicious attacks against Ms. Hill as she was subjected to denigration, castigation, and vile stereotypes that continue to plague Black women and girls even now. This is an acknowledgment that, as a people brought low by tactics birthed during slavery and Jim Crow, we have spent more than a half century choosing to silence Black women and girls in order to “protect the race,” completely misunderstanding that the protection of Black life begins and ends with the safety of Black women’s bodies.
Holding our community accountable is imperative in breaking the cycle of complicity and silence.
Ms. Hill is a hero and a trailblazer. Like many women of African descent, she stood in the intersectional crosshairs of racism and sexism and, yet, she never wavered. She spoke her truth and did so without the support of her own people. To date, we in the Black community have yet to affirm, lift up, and elevate Ms. Hill to the place she rightfully holds in our community. Now is the time.
We at Black Women’s Blueprint believe the first step to healing and reconciliation is acknowledging the hurt that has been caused — whether intentional or not. As a people we have allowed too many survivors of sexual violence and harassment to be silenced. We have, for far too long, forced them to stand alone against the scorn and ridicule of their naysayers. We are contributing to this healing and reconciliation with Dear Ms. Hill, a series of letters to Ms. Hill and, in spirit, to the generations of Black women and girls who were shown that their cries for justice will largely be met with silence.
Apologizing is easy — living with the pain of being discounted by your own people is not. Dear Ms. Hill is our effort to lead in a new way, by truly showing Black woman and girl survivors that we have learned our lesson. We believe you. We stand with you. We are sorry it took us 27 years to say that.