Anita Hill is having a moment: she was the hit among Hollywood’s A-list at this year’s Oscars’ afterparty; she’s casting a shadow over the potential presidential run of former Vice President Joe Biden; and she’s a leading face of the #MeToo movement.
Now she’s been named the winner of this year’s Courage Award from the literary and human-rights organization PEN America, which lauds champions of free expression. The group said she was chosen both for what first brought her into the spotlight — her Senate testimony in 1991 claiming she had been sexually harassed by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, which prompted aggressive and skeptical treatment by Biden and other senators — and her work since as a university professor, scholar, and chair of the Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality.
“Anita Hill stepped alone into the glare of the public spotlight to call out abuses that others insisted be forgotten or overlooked,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement. “She has devoted her life since then to teaching, writing, and speaking out-in the process, helping to catalyze a global movement that is essential to the achievement of equality.”
The award means more time for Hill in the limelight: she’ll collect the award at a May gala hosted by comedian John Oliver. Other award winners at the ceremony will include Saudi women’s-rights activists Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain al-Hathloul and Eman al-Nafjan, as well as The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward.