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posted by Hillary in on Jan 26, 2010 - View profile


Trust Women Conference

Reproductive Justice

Thursday January 28 2010

Venue: McNally Theatre, Saint Mary's University
Address: 923 Robie St. Halifax NS

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Panel featuring Jessica Yee, Joyce Arthur and Loretta Ross

Choice Monologues screening and q & a with Jessica Shaw


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. She was the Co-Director of the April 25, 2004 National March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C., the large`st protest in U.S. history. She is also the co-author of Undivided Right: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice (2004, South End Press). 

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 (CDR) (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. Ross directed specific projects on far right organizations in South Africa and Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi involvement in anti-abortion violence in the U.S. 

Ross’s 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. 

As an advocate for social justice, she has coordinated several conferences that address the reproductive rights movement and violence against Third World women. She co-coordinated the first national conference on Violence Against Third World Women in 1980. From 1985 to 1989, she served as the Director of Women of Color Programs for the National Organization for Women. She also organized a second “first,” a national conference on Women of Color and Reproductive Rights in 1987. She successfully organized women of color delegations for the massive pro-choice marches sponsored by the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1986 and 1989. In 1990, she coordinated the first national conference of African American Women and Reproductive Rights as Program Director for the National Black Women’s Health Project. 

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.

Jessica Yee is a self-described Indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter. 23 years old and Two-Spirited from the Mohawk Nation, Jessica is the founder and Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, a CanAmerica wide organization working on issues of healthy sexuality, reproductive justice, cultural competency, and youth empowerment. Jessica is currently serving as the first inaugural Chair of the National Aboriginal Youth Council at the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network and the International Indigenous HIV/AIDS Working Group, and she is also the first North American youth representative at MenEngage International Alliance for Gender Equality. She is a strong believer in the power of the youth voice, and you can see her activisting it up on sites like the CNN syndicated Racialicious, Indian Country Today, or pick up her recently released book "Sex Ed and Youth: Colonization, Communities of Colour, and Sexuality." She is the 2009 recipient of the YWCA Young Woman of Distinction award, a 2009 Role Model for the National Aboriginal Health Organization, and was recently named one of 20 International Women's Health Heroes by Our Bodies/Our Blog.

Joyce Arthur is the founder and Coordinator of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, a national political pro-choice group. She has been a writer and activist for reproductive rights for over 20 years.

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Topics: GenderHealth
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