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The Deep End Friends Podcast

Mar 29, 2020

Loretta J. Ross is a Visiting Professor of Practice in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University teaching "Reproductive Justice Theory and Practice" and "Race and Culture in the U.S." for the 2018-2019 academic year. Previously, she was a Visiting Professor at Hampshire College in Women's Studies  for the 2017-2018 academic year teaching "White Supremacy in the Age of Trump." She was a co-founder and the National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective from 2005-2012, a network founded in 1997 of women of color and allied organizations that organize women of color in the reproductive justice movement. She is one of the creators of the term "Reproductive Justice" coined by African American women in 1994 that has transformed reproductive politics in the U.S. 
She is a nationally-recognized trainer on using the transformative power of Reproductive Justice to build a Human Rights movement that includes everyone.  Ms. Ross is an expert on women’s issues, hate groups, racism and intolerance, human rights, and violence against women. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of social justice issues and how this affects social change and service delivery in all movements.   
Ross has appeared on CNN, BET, "Lead Story," "Good Morning America," "The Donahue Show," "Democracy Now," "Oprah Winfrey Radio Network," and "The Charlie Rose Show. She is a member of the Women's Media Center's Progressive Women's Voices. More information is available on the Makers: Women Who Make America video at  
Ms. Ross was National Co-Director of the April 25, 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C., the largest protest march in U.S. history with more than one million participants. As part of a nearly five-decade history in social justice activism, between 1996-2004, she was the Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE) in Atlanta, Georgia. Before that, she was the Program Research Director at the Center for Democratic Renewal/National Anti-Klan Network where she led projects researching hate groups, and working against all forms of bigotry with universities, schools, and community groups. She launched the Women of Color Program for the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the 1980s, and led delegations of women of color to many international conferences on women's issues and human rights. She was one of the first African American women to direct a rape crisis center in the 1970s, launching her career by pioneering work on violence against women.
She is a co-author of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, written with Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, and Elena Gutiérrez, and published by South End Press in 2004 (awarded the Myers Outstanding Book Award by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights), and author of “The Color of Choice” chapter in Incite! Women of Color Against Violence published in 2006. She has also written extensively on the history of African American women and reproductive justice activism. Among her latest books are Reproductive Justice: An Introduction co-authored with Rickie Solinger and published by the University of California Press in 2017. She was the lead editor of Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice and Critique, co-edited by Lynn Roberts, Erika Derkas, Whitney Peoples, and Pamela Bridgewater-Toure published by Feminist Press also in 2017. Her forthcoming book is entitled Calling In the Calling Out Culture to be published in 2019.
Loretta is a rape survivor, was forced to raise a child born of incest, and she is also a survivor of sterilization abuse. She is a model of how to survive and thrive despite the traumas that disproportionately affect low-income women of color. She serves as a consultant for Smith College, collecting oral histories of feminists of color for the Sophia Smith Collection which also contains her personal archives (see  She is a mother, grandmother and a great-grandmother. 
She is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and holds an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law degree awarded in 2003 from Arcadia University and a second honorary doctorate degree awarded from Smith College in 2013. 
AWARDS (partial)  American Humanist Association, Humanist Heroine Award, 1998  DePaul University Cultural Center Diversity Award, 2001  Georgia Committee on Family Violence, Gender Justice Award, 2002  SisterLove Women’s HIV/AIDS Resource Project Award, South Africa, 2002  National Center for Human Rights Education, First Mother of Human Rights Education Award, 2004  Feminist Women’s Health Center, Stand Up for Choice Award, 2005  NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, Blazing Arrow Award, 2006  Federation of Haitian Women, Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Marie Claire Heureuse Leadership Award, 2007  Family Planning Associates, Champion of Reproductive Justice Award, 2007  United States Social Forum, Building Movements Award, 2007  Women’s Medical Fund of Philadelphia, Rosie Jimenez Award, 2007  Sisters of Color United for Education, Denver, CO, 2008  Women of Color Resource Center, Sister Fire Award, 2008  Black Women’s Health Imperative, Community Health Activist Award, 2008  Delta Sigma Theta, Pinnacle Leadership Award, 2008  International Black Women’s Congress, Oni Award, 2010  Women Helping Women, Revolutionary Award, 2011, Foundation for Black Women's Wellness Legacy Award 2015, National Women's Health Network Barbara Seaman Award for Activism in Women's Health 2015. Woodhull Sexual Freedom Network, Vicky Award 2017.