United States Interviews

The USA interviews, conducted in the mid-2000s, purposefully feature women whose activism was less widely-covered in the media, and therefore less-visible, than the activism generally associated with issues of second-wave feminism. The site team also sought to focus on women whose work is intersectional, addressing issues of gender that co-exist with other core identities (race, sexual orientation, other-abledness, religion). The women discussed a wide range of topics and issues, including disability rights, Palestinian rights, sexual orientation, artistic expression, homelessness, worker’s rights, gender-based violence, colonialism, and welfare rights. For more historical context and information about the United States country site, see our country site introduction. For the thematic film, a useful introduction that provides some moire context for women’s activism and scholarship in the USA, see our video and transcript.

Rabab Abdulhadi : 1955-

Rabab Abdulhadi


Rabab Abdulhadi, born in 1955 in Palestine, is an activist and scholar contributing to the struggle for Palestinian self-determination and the well-being of Palestinian women. She was the Director of Political and International Relations at the Middle East Research Center in New York. She helped found the Union of Palestinian Women's Associations in North America during the first Intifada, or Palestinian uprising. At last contact, she was conducting research for the Gender and Sexuality Studies Center, in the Global South Project.
Keywords: reproductive rights, rural women, land reform
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Adrienne Asch : 1948-2013

Adrienne Asch


Adrienne Asch (1948-2013) was an author and an internationally known bioethicist. At the time of her death, she was director of the Center for Ethics and the Edward and Robin professor of biotethics at Yeshiva University in Manhattan. She was also professor of epidemiology and population health at Yeshiva. Adrienne was a long-time member of the board of directors of the American Society for Bioethics in Humanities and served on the Clinton Task Force on Healthcare Reform and the Ethnical, Legal, and Social Implications Policy Planning Group of the National Human Genome Research Institute. The GFP staff note with sadness Adrienne's death in 2013. Read the NYT obituary to learn more about her pioneering work in disability rights.
Keywords: disability rights, reproductive rights
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Grace Lee Boggs : 1915-2015

Grace Lee Boggs


Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) was an activist and writer. A daughter of Chinese immigrants, she moved to Detroit and worked in grassroots projects together with her partner, James Boggs. They founded Detroit Summer, an intergenerational multicultural youth movement, and wrote in the Michigan Citizen newspaper. She published her autobiography, Living for Change, and among others, received the distinguished Alumna Award from Barnard College, the Chinese American Pioneers Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans, and a lifetime achievement award from the Anti-Defamation League. A plaque in her honor is at the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY. The GFP staff were saddened by Grace's death in 2015. Read the NYT obituary to learn more about her remarkable life, spanning a full century, as a human rights activist.
Keywords: community activism, education, intersectionality, politics, law
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Cathy Cohen : 1962-

Cathy Cohen


Cathy Cohen, born in 1962, is the former co-chair and a founding board member of the Audrey Lorde Project in New York. She served on the board of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY. Cohen was a founding member of Black AIDS Mobilization (BAM) and a core organizer of the International Conference, Black Nations Queer Nations. Cohen has also served as an active member in many organizations, such as the Black Radical Congress, African-American Women in Defense of Ourselves, and the United Coalition Against Racism.
Keywords: LGBT, intersectionality
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Holly Hughes : 1955-

Holly Hughes


Holly Hughes, born in 1955, is a performance artist. She became a member of the WOW cafe, a feminist collective and works on issues of sexuality, identity, personal narrative, and freedom of expression. She has performed across the USA, Canada, and Great Britain at venues ranging from cultural institutions to alternative spaces. At last contact, she was teaching at the University of Michigan.
Keywords: art as activism, LGBT
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Marian Kramer :

Marian Kramer

Marian Kramer (interviewed with Maureen Taylor) at last contact was the co-chair of the National Welfare Rights Union. She has fought government programs, such as Workfare, defended poor women against unjust persecution for welfare fraud and led campaigns to elect the victims of poverty to political office. She has organized poor people's movements, housing takeovers by people without homes, and led efforts to unionize in the South. She has received many community service awards and mentors college students fighting poverty. 
Keywords: community activism, politics, law
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Martha Ojeda :

Martha Ojeda

Martha Ojeda, born in 1956, is the Executive Director of the Tri-National Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladora, where she directs the Maquiladora Worker Empowerment Project. While a worker in the Free Trade Zone factories, she led the Nuevo Laredo Sony Movement and wrote a manual on Mexican Federal Labor Law. She has received the Petra Foundation Award, "Troublemaker of the Year" by Mother Jones Magazine, and the Quality of Life Champion's Public Service Award.
Keywords: international rights, intersectionality, politics, law
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Loretta Ross :

Loretta Ross

Loretta Ross, born in 1953, is an activist and was one of the first African American women to direct a rape crisis center. She has served as director of the Women of Color Programs for the National Organization for Women, as national co-director of the March for Women's Lives in DC, and as National Program Research Director for the Center for Democratic Renewal. She founded the National Center for Human Rights Education and co-authored "Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice". She is a founding member and most currently a national coordinator of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective.
Keywords: gender-based violence, intersectionality, reproductive rights
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Sista II Sista :

Sista II Sista

Sista II Sista is a Brooklyn-wide, community-based organization located in New York. It is a collective of working class young and adult Black and Latino women building together to model a society based on liberation and love. The organization is dedicated to working with young women of color to develop personal, spiritual and collective power, and is involved in a variety of projects, including The Freedom School for Young Women of Color, The Big Mouth Project, and Sista Liberated Ground.
Keywords: community activism, gender-based violence, intersectionality
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Andrea Lee Smith :

Andrea Lee Smith

Andrea Lee Smith, born in 1966, is an activist/educator. She served as a delegate to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durbin (1991), representing the Indigenous Women's Network and the American Indian Law Alliance. She is one of the founding members of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, and is the co-founder of the Chicago chapter of Women of All Red Nations (WARN). She has organized several conferences, including the Color of Violence I & II Conferences, Race, Gender and the War Community Forum, and Decolonizing Methodology and Beyond: Constructive Proposals for Indigenous Methodologies.
Keywords: intersectionality
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio

Maureen Taylor :

Maureen Taylor

Maureen Taylor (interviewed with Marian Kramer) is a social worker and community activist. She has served as chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights organization and was elected treasurer of the National Welfare Rights Union. She defends recipients of public aid at the Michigan Family Independence Agency in case disputes, and directs the Detroit NFI Community Self Sufficiency Center. She was awarded the National Community Leader Award from the National Black Caucus in Washington, DC.
Keywords: community activism, politics, law
Media: Transcript (English), VideoBibliographyYouTube VideoName Pronunciation Audio