The highlight of my last couple of weeks was going to the Girls for Gender Equity 10th Anniversary and witnessing a conversation between three young ladies and Professor Anita Hill.
The interesting thing about the event was that it wasn’t about Professor Hill; it was very much about the young women holding the conversation with her. It was their time to shine. They very much dominated (not in a bad or obnoxious way) the conversation. They spoke and inquired about misogynistic environments, development and displacement, powerlessness and the act of ‘speaking truth to power’.
More so than anything I sensed a supportive and loving synergy from the crowd which was comprised mostly of women. Everyone was patient through the technical difficulties (which I have seen audiences deal with very badly). No one cut any throats for some time with Anita Hill. People didn’t mind standing up the entire night. It wasn’t a stuffy, over-the-top, dressed-to-the-nines affair, which made me feel very comfortable. Even the historic building seemed to radiate something that was intangibly for the cause.
By the end of the night the Brooklyn Historical Society became my very warm and cozy. When it was time to leave I felt as though I was leaving my home amongst dozens of amazing women and entering into the cold, harsh world. I didn’t want to leave.
Policymakers versus Ground Workers
Legal Momentum offers no “direct services”. We sort of temper with policies, try to make groups understand laws and act when laws/policies are not being implemented. My internship coordinator at LM who works on the Pipeline Project is fed up with policy makers. As a Public Policy Studies major, I will spend the rest of my summer in NYC pondering which group makes the most difference: the ground workers or the policy makers? While both groups impact this world through different ways and while both are needed, I think one has to win.
The women at the Girls for Gender Equity event featuring Anita Hill were ground workers. The women (and three men) I work with at LM are policymakers (and policy temperers/fixers/implementers). These are very different groups.
There seems to be little tangible change you can make on a computer all day in an air conditioned office. However, those doing the dirty the work wouldn’t have the power or space to without the policies and laws behind them.
I will report back as I learn more throughout the summer.