Anita Hill, Ayanna Pressley and More Convene the First Online Survivors’ Summit

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Sep 24, 2020

Starting today and running through Saturday, the Survivors’ Agenda will bring together activists, influencers and survivor advocates in the movement to end sexual violence—including Brandeis University professor Anita Hill, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke.

The first online Survivors’ Summit will address the need to center survivors of sexual assault to better develop policies and solutions that will ultimately end the culture of sexual violence. To do so, the Survivors’ Agenda is calling on divestments from the criminal justice system and for investment in community services instead, specifically for communities of color. That means increasing access to therapy; quality sex and consent education; and shelters and other services that will provide greater safety and justice for survivors.

"Survivors are powerful. We are workers, students, parents, corporate executives, teachers, lawyers, and constituents," Hill said in a statement. "We are in every community in this country, and it is long past time that we help form an agenda that creates solutions for our safety, dignity and equality. Now more than ever, our elected officials must choose to model good leadership and embrace the lasting reforms we seek, rather than duck from them." Hill is best known for speaking out about alleged harassment by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings in 1991. She also leads the Hollywood Commission, which aims to eliminate sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. 

During the summit, the coalition will address the systemic roots of sexual violence. It will also explore strategies to create restorative justice and policies that support survivors, position them as experts, and build networks among them and with larger communities, according to its agenda. 

"It is our responsibility to collectively affirm the dignity and humanity of survivors and to ensure that survivors know that they are seen and represented in our democracy," said in Pressley in a release. "In this moment of reckoning, we must use our collective power to demand policies that center our needs and advance our shared mission of realizing true justice for all survivors."

Visit the Survivors’ Agenda website to learn more.