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Loretta J. Ross

founder, national coordinator, SisterSong

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.