Delida’s Story

The picture on the left is me in 1991 when I read, among other things, everything related to black feminism that I could find.  The picture on the right is me today.

Delida past and present

In the space between these two photos, I simply lived, accumulating experiences and looking for the next opportunity for excitement and learning.  Then, one day in 2014 I found myself monitoring a mandatory harassment course that my team had coordinated for my company. The instructor mentioned the irony of the fact that Anita Hill’s sexual assault allegations against Clarence Thomas stemmed from their employment at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of gender and race and other characteristics.

Two things happened.

First, I started thinking about the changes that I had seen in my capacity as a lawyer and employee in the years since Anita Hill’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Second, I got really curious about the people whose names are on a poster that I had carried with me every time I moved during the past twenty-five years.  The names surround an open letter, a proclamation, by 1600 black women and their allies who protested the way the Senate Judiciary Committee treated Anita Hill and her allegations.

My name is in the twenty-sixth row.

I love history. It gives us context and texture for the choices we make today. It is complicated non-fictional storytelling and it can be engrossing.  It is easy to find facts such as the first Supreme Court case where sexual harassment was recognized (Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson,1986) or the year that the EEOC promulgated guidelines related to sexual harassment (1981), but for me the real fun of history is to feel my way into how people’s thoughts and actions connect to the choices we face today.  What can we learn from those 1600 signatories whose journeys crossed and paused at that one historical moment?

Sisters Testify started that afternoon as a serious of questions that I set aside, grew into a team of researchers, and has become a commitment to personally contact as many signatories as I can find.

I’m asking signatories to share their stories, so it’s fair that I share some information about what I’ve been doing since 1991.

Education

Citizen

  • Vice President of the board of directors, Oakland Symphony
  • Former board chair of the Lincoln Child Center, an organization that serves children and their families throughout the Bay Area
  • Worked to ensure that prisoners have access to law libraries, taught English to Hmong kids, won political asylum for a Haitian family, served as a sexual assault hotline crisis counselor, and advocated for sexual assault survivors as they interacted with medical and law enforcement personnel

Fun facts

  • Moved to California to snowboard, but haven’t been to the mountains as often as I would like
  • In elementary school, Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time  and Andre Norton’s Outside ignited my lifelong love affair with science fiction and fantasy
  • Currently reading The Passage of Power, the fourth book of Robert Caro’s biography about Lyndon Johnson
  • Spent two summers in college as an intern at CBS Records; one in the Video Production and Promotion department during the early days of music videos