2018 Honors Loretta J. Ross
Ms. Ross is the former National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. She co-created the theory of Reproductive Justice in 1994 and has co-written three books on reproductive justice as Black feminist practice. She most recently taught a Women’s Studies course, “White Supremacy in the Age of Trump” at Hampshire College as a Visiting Professor from 2017-2018 and will be teaching the same course at Arizona State University from 2018-2019. She is an expert on human rights, feminist issues, hate groups, and appropriate whiteness.
Her newest book, Radical Reproductive Justice was published in November 2017 and her book before that, Reproductive Justice: An Introduction, was published in March 2017. Her forthcoming book, Calling In the Calling Out Culture will be published in 2019.
She has appeared on CNN, BET, "Lead Story," "Good Morning America," "The Donahue Show," the National Geographic Channel, the Oprah Radio Network, and "The Charlie Rose Show.” She has also been interviewed in the New York Times, Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post,among others.
As part of a 45-year history in social justice activism, Loretta founded the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE) in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996, teaching more than 1 million activists how to bring human rights home to hold the United States accountable domestically and internationally. Before that, she was the Program Research Director at the Center for Democratic Renewal/National Anti-Klan Network where she led projects monitoring and researching hate groups, and worked with universities, schools, and community groups. She helped pass the Federal Hate Crimes Statistics Act, and taught community activists and law enforcement officials how to recognize, respond to, and document hate crimes. She also helped de-program people who left the white supremacist movement, working with Leonard Zeskind, a foremost anti-fascist researcher.
She launched the Women of Color Program for the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the 1985, and was national program director of the National Black Women’s Health Project, also in the 1980s. She was one of the first African American women to direct a rape crisis center in the 1970s, launching her activism as a rape and incest survivor by pioneering work on violence against women at the first rape crisis center in the U.S., founded in 1972.
She holds a BA from Agnes Scott College in Women’s Studies, and honorary doctorates from Acadia University and Smith College. Her papers and records are housed at the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, and her life story has been featured in a PBS/AOL Makers video.
She is a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and an avid pinochle player and tennis fan. She reads and writes science fiction in her alleged spare time, and will debate anyone who thinks they know more about the Dallas Cowboys or the Georgetown Hoyas than this sports-addicted feminist. She is originally from Temple and San Antonio, Texas and happily lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more info, www.LorettaRoss.com.