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As the founder and former Executive Director of the National Centre for Human Rights Education in Atlanta, U.S. activist Loretta J. Ross understands, perhaps better than most, the need to move beyond single-issue politics in order to effectively fight for human rights.

In 2004, Ross served as National Co-Director of the 2004 Washington March for Women’s Lives. It was the largest protest march in U.S. history, bringing together over a million people—against war and for women’s rights, civil rights, and gay and lesbian rights.

Loretta Ross will be in Toronto on Friday, April 13th to share her insights in an evening public address at the Sheraton Centre. Her visit kicks off the 2007 Anti-Racism Forum series on Employment Equity sponsored by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

Ross has played a lead role in the Black Nationalist and civil rights movements and has a 25-year history in the women’s movement. From 1985-1989, she served as Director of Women of Colour Programs for the National Organization for Women, and from 1990-1995 as National Program Research Director for the Atlanta-based Centre for Democratic Renewal (CDR), formerly the National Anti-Klan Network. Loretta is currently National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Colour Reproductive Health Collective, a network founded in 1997 of 80 women of colour and allied organizations that work on reproductive justice issues.

A political commentator on shows including Good Morning America, The Donahue Show, The Charlie Rose Show, Pacifica News Service and CNN, Ross has called for “a progressive coalition for survival” to push back against a multi-issue attack in the U.S. against gay rights, women’s rights, youth rights and the environment. She notes that someone in the Bush administration went so far as to call those who participated in the 2004 march, ‘terrorists.’

Given that multi-issue attack, we can’t afford single-issue politics,” she said in an interview published in YES! Magazine following the Washington march. “We have to pull together a super coalition that connects our own dots, that uses the human rights framework…and focuses on what we have in common, not what divides us. Many voices, one movement, that’s what a coalition for survival is.”

Members of the public are invited to the Loretta J. Ross keynote presentation on Friday, April 13th at 7:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, 123 Queen Street West. Tickets are $20.00 for community members and $10.00 for unwaged/students and are available at the door. Price includes refreshments, entertainment and registration for the forum’s events on Saturday.