Loretta Ross is an expert on women’s issues, racism, and human rights. Her work emphasizes the intersectionality of social justice issues and how this transforms social change. She is a nationally-recognized women's rights and human rights leader.
Ross is the co-author (with Rickie Solinger) of Reproductive Justice: An Introduction (2016 University of California Press), a first-of-its-kind primer that provides a comprehensive yet succinct description of the field. Putting the lives and lived experience of women of color at the center of the book and using a human rights analysis, Reproductive Justice provides an essential guide to understanding and mobilizing around women’s rights in a period in which women’s reproductive lives are imperiled.
Ross is also a co-author of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice (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. She has written extensively on the history of African American women and reproductive justice activism and is a member of the Women's Media Center's Progressive Women's Voices. Ross appears regularly in major media outlets about the issues of our day.
She was a co-founder and the National Coordinator, from 2005 to 2012, of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a network of women of color and allied organizations that organize women of color in the reproductive justice movement. Other leadership positions have included:
- 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.
- Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE)
- 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.
- Founder of the Women of Color Program for the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the 1980s
- Leading many women of color delegations to international conferences on women's issues and human rights.
Ross is a rape survivor, was forced to raise a child born of incest, and is 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 is a nationally-recognized trainer on using the transformative power of Reproductive Justice to build a Human Rights movement that includes everyone.
Ross 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.
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. She is pursuing a PhD in Women’s Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. She is a mother, grandmother and a great-grandmother.