Loretta J. Ross photo

Loretta J. Ross: Biographical Note

Loretta J. Ross is the Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education, the USA Partner of the Peoples' Decade of Human Rights Education. CHRE is a training and resource center for grassroots activists and is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to founding the Center in 1996, Ms. Ross was the national Program Research Director from 1991-1995 for the Atlanta-based Center for Democratic Renewal (formerly the National Anti-Klan Network). CDR is a national, non-profit clearinghouse for information on hate groups and bigoted violence including the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi movement. Ms. Ross managed the research and program departments and directed specific projects on (1) human rights education in the U.S.; (2) right wing organizations in South Africa and (3) Klan and neo-Nazi involvement in anti-abortion violence. She produced CDR's quarterly newsletter, The Monitor, and the monthly intelligence report on far right activities, The Activist Update. She recently attended the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995 and the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt in 1994.

Prior to joining the CDR staff, Ms. Ross was Program Director for the National Black Women's Health Project, and Director of Women of Color programs for the National Organization for Women (NOW). As one of the first African American women to direct a rape crisis center in the 1970s, she organized the first national conference on Violence and Third World Women in 1980, and in 1987 she organized a second "first", a national conference on Women of Color and Reproductive Rights. As a reproductive rights activist, Ms. Ross was one of the first black women to win a suit in 1976 against A.H. Robins, manufacturer of the Dalkon Shield which sterilized her at age 23. She organized women of color delegations for the massive pro-choice marches sponsored by NOW in 1986 and 1989. Also in 1989, she co-coordinated production of a popular brochure for African American women called "We Remember," of which 250,000 copies were successfully distributed. In 1990, she coordinated the first national conference of African American women for reproductive rights for the National Black Women's Health Project. She is currently authoring a book on black women's activism in the reproductive rights movement called Black Abortion.

She has testified before the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and the Food and Drug Administration on women's health and civil rights issues. She served eight years on the D.C. Commission for Women, and has appeared on national talk shows such as The Donahue Show, The Charlie Rose Show, and Good Morning America. Ms. Ross is also an editorial writer with the Progressive Media Project for the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain on political affairs and a political analyst for Pacifica News Service.

Ms. Ross currently serves on the boards of directors of the Foundation for African American Women, Pacifica National Radio Foundation, the Independent Commission for Human Rights Education, Students Organizing Students, Sisterlove Women's AIDS Project, the Center for Campus Organizing, and Men Stopping Violence.