Anita Hill urges Detroit International Academy students to fulfill their promise, continue fight for gender equality

The Anita’s Aspiring Attorneys club of Detroit International Academy for Young Women, a K-12 all-girls public school, welcomed their club’s namesake today when Professor Anita Hill addressed the school’s high school students.

The nearly two dozen members of Anita’s Aspiring Attorneys welcomed Hill with a special breakfast reception before she addressed the entire high school, sharing lessons learned throughout her life.
Hill encouraged the young women of DIA to continue the battle for gender equality that their predecessors have fought.

“Say ‘enough is enough’ to sexual harassment,” Hill told the hundreds of students and teachers gathered. “Enough is enough to physical abuse from our boyfriends and enough is enough to not earning what we are worth in the workplace.”

Hill recalled her personal role models in the legal profession, and encouraged the aspiring attorneys to seek not just legal role models, but those close to home, such as teachers, their principal and relatives.
At the same time, she urged students to avoid imitating their role models, but to be the “best ‘you’ you can be” by working hard and making good ethical and moral choices.

Hill shared stories about her childhood in Oklahoma at a time when there were few female lawyers of color. She sought information about “strong women with strong voices” to inspire her, and encouraged the DIA students to do the same.

Calling her visit to DIA the highlight of her brief trip to Detroit, Hill said she was impressed by the young women of DIA — particularly the Color Guard and ROTC Corps, who welcomed her with a sword salute, a first-time experience for the esteemed attorney.

About the Detroit International Academy for Young Women
Detroit Public Schools’ Detroit International Academy is the only all girls’ K-12 public school in Michigan. The school’s academic focus is on math and science, and the program boasts a variety of Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) and extra-curricular activities at every grade level, including FIRST Robotics, VEX Robotics, Lego League and “You Be the Chemist.”

The school’s mission is to equip students with the skills to be positive, competitive, articulate and competent leaders in the school, community and in an ever-changing global society.

Students and staff, who wear uniforms, are creating a “community of sisters” that stresses academic achievement. The older students are part of a “Sister to Sister” mentoring group, tutoring elementary and middle school students before school, after school and during the lunch hour. The academy’s seventh-grade students participate in “Project Citizen,” a program sponsored through the Center for Civic Education that earned Superior ratings in both state and national showcases.

Detroit International Academy also has a heavy emphasis on reading, sponsoring a Book Challenge, where students are challenged to read 100 books or more. The academy also offers competitive sports and activities, such as volleyball, basketball, swimming, tennis, cross-country, cheer, citywide dance, and a JROTC battalion, whose Color Guard was designated first place in the district.

The school’s all-girls robotics teams are highly competitive. The robotics program offers four branches: a robotics class for students in grades 9-12 where students learn C++ programming, sensors, mechanical and electrical engineering concepts and more; an after-school Lego robotics team for grades 5-8; and after-school VEX team; and an after-school FIRST team in its fifth year, which recently won first place in a local competition for its robot that can target and launch T-shirts 40 feet away. The VEX team recently placed in the top 4 percent in the 2010 VEX Robotics world championship.

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