The Ella Jo Baker Distinguished Lecture: Calling In for Human Rights and Democracy with Loretta J. Ross
The Department of African American Studies presents the Ella Jo Baker Distinguished Lecture
Calling In for Human Rights and Democracy
featuring Loretta J. Ross
Thursday, February 23, 2023 / 5:30PM – 7:00PM / ICC Auditorium
The battle between democracy and authoritarianism is a defining issue of our time. Given the strong correlation between democracy as a form of government and the protection and realization of human rights, the future of both human rights and democracy hangs in the balance. This presentation on “Calling In for Human Rights and Democracy” will assess the nature of the threat, propose tactics and strategies for the human rights movement, and offer a promising vision for activism in the 21st century.
Loretta J. Ross is an Associate Professor at Smith College. She is an activist, public intellectual, and scholar. She is a 2022 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” She passionately innovates strategies and discourses about global human rights and social justice issues. As the third director of the first rape crisis center in the country in the 1970s, she helped launch the movement to end violence against women that has evolved into today’s #MeToo movement. She founded the first center in the U.S. to innovate creative human rights education for all students so that social justice issues are more collaborative and less divisive. She has also deprogrammed members of hate groups leading to conceptualizing and writing the first book on “Calling In the Calling Out Culture” to transform how people can overcome political differences to use empathy and respect to guide difficult conversations.
She started her career in activism and social change in the 1970s, working at the National Football League Players’ Association, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Black Women’s Health Project, the Center for Democratic Renewal (National Anti-Klan Network), the National Center for Human Rights Education, and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, until retiring as an organizer in 2012 to teach about activism.
Her most recent books are Reproductive Justice: An Introduction co-written with Rickie Solinger, and Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique. Her forthcoming book is Calling In the Calling Out Culture.
She has been quoted in the New York Times, Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, among others.
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