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An Agenda for 21st Century Women

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Date and time
Friday, April 20, 2007

Five distinguished women bring the theme "Stand Up, Speak Up: an Agenda for 21st Century Women" to life through dialogue rooted in their areas of expertise: the persistence of slavery, ensuring clean water, empowerment through the vote, women's roles in postcolonial societies and the challenge of enduring discrimination.

Mende Nazer lost her childhood at age twelve, when she was sold into slavery. It all began one horrific night in 1993, when Arab raiders swept through her Nuba village in the Sudan, burning the buildings, murdering the adults, and kidnapping Mende and thirty other children.
Bertha Merrill Holt is a former North Carolina state representative.
Deepika Bahri is Associate Professor in the English department at Emory University. Her research focuses on Post-Colonial literature, culture, and theory. She is the author of *Native Intelligence: Aesthetics, Politics, and Postcolonial Literature* (2003) and co-editor of *Between the Lines: South Asians and Postcoloniality and Realms of Rhetoric*. Bahri has written several articles on Post-Colonial issues in journals and book collections. She is currently working on the representation of Anglo-Indians, Eurasians, and racial hybrids in Post-Colonial literature. HIV/AIDS in developing countries is a secondary research interest. Based on preliminary research in this area, she has written a report entitled "AIDS Prevention and Control in Tamil Nadu" for USAID/CDC. She earned her Ph.D from Bowling Green State University in 1992 and taught at the Georgia Institute of Technology before joining the English department faculty at Emory University in 1995.
Loretta J. Ross is a founder and the National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, composed of 70 women of color organizations across the country. Ross' areas of expertise are reproductive rights, human rights, women's issues, diversity issues, hate groups and bias crimes. Ross is the founder and former Executive Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE), a training and resource center for grassroots activists on using human rights education to address social injustices in the United States. Prior to that, from 1990 to 1995, she served as the national program research director for the Atlanta-based Center for Democratic Renewal. Ross' involvement in women's health issues was initiated as a result of a personal triumph. She was one of the first African American women to direct the first rape crisis center in the United States in the 1970s. Women's human rights are of significant concern for Ross because she was sterilized at age 23. Ross was also one of the first black women to win a suit against A.H. Robins, manufacturer of the Dalkon Shield that sterilized thousands of women worldwide. Ross is co-author, with 3 other writers, of the book *Beyond the Politics of Inclusion: Women of Color in the Reproductive Rights Movement* (2004, South End Press). She is currently authoring a book on a black women's activism in the reproductive rights movement called *Black Abortion*. Other writing projects include editorials for the Progressive Media Project for the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain and she serves as a political analyst for Pacifica News Service and Alternative Radio. Ross has appeared on talk shows such as *The Donahue Show*, *The Charlie Rose Show*, CNN, BET *Lead Story*, and *Good Morning America*. She has also been featured in *Emerge Magazine*, *Biography Magazine*, *San Antonio Express News*, and the* Los Angeles Times*. For the last two years, she has also been collecting oral histories of elder feminists of color for archives at Smith College. Ross was invited to testify before the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and the Food and Drug Administration on women's health and human rights issues. She served eight years on the Washington D.C. Commission for Women. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Foundation for African American Women, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the Committee on Women, Population and the Environment, and SisterLove Women's AIDS Project. Ross received an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law degree in 2003 from Arcadia University.