Biographies

Samara Azam-Yu



Samara Azam-Yu is the Executive Director of ACCESS Women's Health Justice in Oakland, CA. Samara started with ACCESS as a Practical Support Volunteer in 2007 and was the Development Manager from 2008-2010.  Samara completed her undergraduate degree in International Relations and History from an Ethnic Studies perspective at UC Davis. She is currently an MBA candidate at Mills College with an emphasis on Nonprofit Management and Socially Responsible Business. Prior to coming to ACCESS, Samara worked in the California State Assembly, with Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, with the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, with Aspire Public Schools, and in the personal finance sector.  She lives in Oakland with her partner, daughter, and two chickens.  She is passionate about Reproductive Justice and is excited to be working along side the ACCESS callers, board, staff, volunteers, funders, donors, and allies.

Darcy Baxter
Darcy Baxter is an Unitarian Universalist Minister, currently serving as Director of Family Ministry at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church in Hayward, CA and the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Organizer for the CA Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.  In addition to her congregationally-based work, she is a teacher, facilitator, and public speaker in the broader community on issues of reproductive justice, faith and religion, movement vitality, and the moral/theological legitimacy of progressive politics. Reverend Baxter is currently facilitating the Reproductive Justice Working Group.

Sujatha Jesudason

Sujatha Jesudason, PhD is the Director of CoreAlign, an innovative “think and do tank” that brings together women’s reproductive health care providers, researchers, advocates and activists to design and implement a 30-year strategy to win resources, rights and respect for all people’s sexual and reproductive decisions. In addition, she is a researcher at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), both at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). ANSIRH’s mission is to ensure that reproductive health care and policy are grounded in evidence. Dr. Jesudason earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley. From examining the fault lines in efforts to curtail sex selection to exposing attempts to pit reproductive rights against disability rights, Dr. Jesudason works to forge unlikely collaborations and look past forced simplifications. With over 20 years’ experience as a researcher, advocate and organizer for women’s lives, Dr. Jesudason founded Generations Ahead, and has worked at Center for Genetics and Society, Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, and 9to5 National Association of Working Women. She works at the intersection of issues too often considered separately: economic inequality, domestic violence, cultural norms, discrimination, gender roles and racial identity. In this, Dr. Jesudason merges not only topics but methods, from rigorous academic research to on-the-ground movement building, and from legislative education to media advocacy. Her current research portfolio includes the practices and politics of sex selection in the United States, the intersection of reproductive rights and disability rights in prenatal screening, and the health and safety needs of women in the egg donation process.

Abbey Marr
Abbey is a 3L in the Harvard-Berkeley Law School exchange program, and is the Secretary of the Board of Law Students of Reproductive Justice. She is president emeritus of Harvard's LSRJ chapter and was an editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender. Abbey recently finished a summer with the National Domestic Workers' Alliance working to pass state and local workers' rights legislation, as well as bring a gender angle to the immigration debate. She graduated in 2009 from George Washington University where she ran the Planned Parenthood-Vox campus chapter and worked with Advocates for Youth on sexual and reproductive health issues. Between college and law school, Abbey worked for the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division and served as a volunteer case manager for the DC Abortion Fund. She is assisting CRRJ in the completion of the Reproductive Rights and Justice casebook and the Reproductive Justice Virtual Library.

Loretta J. Ross



Loretta J. Ross was a co-founder and the National Coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective from 2005-2012, a network founded in 1997 of women of color and allied organizations that organize women of color in the reproductive justice movement. Ms. Ross is an expert on women’s issues, hate groups, racism and intolerance, human rights, and violence against women. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of social justice issues and how this affects social change and service delivery in all movements.

Ross has appeared on CNN, BET, "Lead Story," "Good Morning America," "The Donahue Show," "Democracy Now," and "The Charlie Rose Show. She is a member of the Women's Media Center's Progressive Women's Voices. More information is available on the Makers: Women Who Make America video at http://www.makers.com/loretta-ross.

She is one of the creators of the term "Reproductive Justice" coined by African American women in 1994 following the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. She is a nationally-recognized trainer on using the transformative power of Reproductive Justice to build a Human Rights movement that includes everyone.

Ms. Ross was 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. As part of a four-decade history in social justice activism, between 1996-2004, she was the Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE) in Atlanta, Georgia. Before that, she was the 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. She launched the Women of Color Program for the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the 1980s, and led delegations of women of color to many international conferences on women's issues and human rights. She was one of the first African American women to direct a rape crisis center in the 1970s, launching her career by pioneering work on violence against women.

She is a co-author of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, written with Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, and Elena Gutiérrez, and published by South End Press in 2004 (awarded the Myers 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 published in 2006. She has also written extensively on the history of African American women and reproductive justice activism.

Loretta is a rape survivor, was forced to raise a child born of incest, and she is also 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 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.

Eliana Rubin
Eliana is a local organizer in the Bay Area working towards a liberatory praxis for supporting people throughout their reproductive experiences. They are a full spectrum doula and work with currently and previously incarcerated people around sexuality, gender, identity and reproductive health. Eliana joined CRRJ's Reproductive Justice Working Group last year and is currently collaborating in the creation of a zine around how our activism and movement building are affected by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex and capitalism at large.  

Leah Weinstein
Leah is a student in the MA in Sexuality Studies. http://sxs.sfsu.edu/content/graduate-students-2013  

Pat Zavella
Pat Zavella is a Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. Professor Zavella researches family, poverty, sexuality, reproductive justice, social networks, transnational migration of Mexican women and men, women's paid and domestic labor, Chicana/o-Latina/o studies, feminist studies, and ethnographic research methods.