Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

June 17th Post

Anita Hill and Reimagining Equality

Tonight was my book group meeting to discuss Anita Hill’s Reimagining Equality.

A chapter in Hill's book is about the play

A chapter in Hill’s book is about the play

I loved the definitions of home that Hill puts at the beginning of each chapter. Two or three others did too. But a couple of women didn’t care for them.

There were mixed comments about the theme – a couple of women questioned whether there was enough of a connecting thread throughout the book. I thought so, but several women felt it could have been stronger and wished it had been, because they thought the topic was really important and worth major attention.

Still, the discussion was heart-felt, fascinating, thoughtful and thought-provoking.

We talked about A Raisin in the Sun which Hill discusses. Jackie said she met the playwright Lorraine Hansberry in Chicago and again in New York after her famous play came out.

Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry

Fay who is Black said, “As a Black woman, I could never just pick up and move anywhere.” Several of us told stories of racism and anti-semitism in places we’ve lived or thought we might want to live. Sonja who is also Black said, “Realtors wouldn’t show us homes in New Canaan. They turned their backs on us when we asked.”

I felt she captured exactly what Hill was saying – this ‘American dream’ of having a secure place to be at home is not realistic for people, especially women, of color.

I promised to write again to Anita Hill and relate our discussion!

I kept thinking of Rachel Dolezal. I wanted to ask what others thought about her claim to be Black when she is white. But I forgot! I think her story is complex and I’d like to hear what she says when her life calms down.

Busy Buhari 

The Financial Times had a piece several days ago about the many challenges Buhari is facing. William Wallis, the author of the article, said that the Senate and the House of Assembly declined to elect the leaders that Buhari’s party wanted. Buhari and his advisers did not believe this was a problem; rather they took it as a sign that the political system was working.

Wallis said, “The action plan for the president’s first months in office was drafted by an APC transition team with the help of consultants KPMG, and makes priorities of short-term remedies for electricity blackouts, fuel shortages and salary arrears.” I am eager to learn what the short-term solutions will be. And then to find out how he’ll address the longer-term issues, especially unemployment.

Among other questions he faces, “Mr Buhari must quickly determine whether to maintain multibillion-dollar fuel subsidies that the state can no longer sustain or remove them and potentially stir popular unrest, the document advises.”

When Goodluck Jonathan announced an end to the subsidies two years ago, I believe it was, he had to back down quickly. I’m guessing that if Buhari decides to reduce or end the subsidies, he won’t give in to pressure to change his mind.

U,S. 1 Nigeria 0

Women U.S. Global News CA

U.S. Women from Global News CA

Did you know immediately what the reference was?

Women’s soccer! The United States defeated Nigeria in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Vancouver, Canada. The Americans were favored to win. According to the story I read from NPR, they took “twice as many shots as the Nigerians.”

They now advance to the elimination rounds, “where they’ll face another group’s third-place team on Monday, followed by a possible matchup against Cameroon or China later next week.” That could be exciting!

A friend said to me this evening while the match was on, “You win either way!” That’s true – but when I came home and saw the score, I was a little disappointed that Nigeria wasn’t victorious.

Photo is from “United States’ Abby Wambach celebrates her goal with her teammates during first half FIFA World”

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Picnics

I think I would have watched the game if I’d been home. Instead I was at the second Mount Holyoke Alumnae picnic in three days.

Fairfield Villages MHC Alumnae picnic

Fairfield Villages MHC Alumnae picnic

The first was the Fairfield Villages Alumnae Club summer picnic on Sunday at Jeanne’s lovely historic home in New Canaan. I’d had a tour last time we were there, so didn’t follow others on the house tour but stayed for conversation with Ann, class of 1970, the sister of my classmate Liz.

More recent alum Ali, whom I’ve met before, was there too. She’s starting an online business with a Nigerian partner. And then there was a woman who has a niche online business. She sells high end grooming products for horses!  And today I saw a van labeled equine photography. I wonder if they know each other. Who knew there was such a market?

Tuesday I was at Joan’s home in Trumbull for the Bridgeport Alumnae Club summer picnic. Most members of our book club were there as well as several other women, including two I’d never met before. I do like learning about people’s histories, interests, and careers.

I wish I had a picture from the second picnic in Trumbull – next year!

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Great post! Saw the Lorraine Hansberry exhibit, “Twice Militant,” at Brooklyn Museum of Art last year. Had NO idea of the forward-looking advanced thinking she held re women’s rights & roles nor her leadership in creating & supporting forums/media for women writers to publish. Given your longtime social justice efforts, wondering if your book club has considered WHAT IS THE WHAT, by Dave Eggers, about a Lost Boy of Sudan, Valentino Achak Deng? I’ve never been so moved by an author’s writing; I wept many times. I highly recommend this book if your book club hasn’t considered it.

    • Thanks, Luvon. I will take that suggestion to my book club the next time we’re choosing books. This week our TEAM Westport is sponsoring the 2014 film “The Good Lie” about the “lost boys” of Sudan. I don’t know if the film-maker was influenced by Eggers’ book. I’ll probably write about it on my next blog day.

  2. You captured our book group discussion perfectly, Catherine. I too thought of bringing up the topic of Rachel Dolezal. We’ll have to have that discussion next time.