Human rights advocate and activist Loretta J. Ross ’07 has been named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in the Class of 2022. The $800,000, no-strings-attached award–more commonly known as the “Genius Grant”–honors individuals for their extraordinary efforts to improve the world.
Ross is the second alum to be given the prestigious honor in as many years. Artist Jordan Casteel ’11 was a part of the 2021 class.
After graduating from Agnes Scott College, Ross pursued her doctoral studies (2008–2009) at Emory University. She is the co-author of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice (2004) and the co-editor of Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, and Critique (2017). Her forthcoming book, Calling in the Calling Out Culture, is set to debut in 2023.
“Human rights play a central role in the geopolitical landscape and the future of democracies,” Ross said in an interview with Smith College (Mass.), where she is currently employed as an associate professor for the study of women and gender. “We need to re-envision the ways in which human rights are understood and practiced to ensure we are able to address today’s most pressing problems. I am delighted to receive this award to further the work of social justice.”
In 2021, Ross served as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King Commemorative Speaker at Agnes Scott. She spoke to the science of “call-in culture” and challenged Scotties to engage in meaningful dialogue and change.
Nell Ruby, professor of art, summarized the event in a blog for the college at the time.
More information about the MacArthur Foundation can be found here.
Photo courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation