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Special Collections and Archives: Activist Women Oral History Project: D

Davis, Stephanie

Interviewee: Stephanie Davis
Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: August 26, 2010
Extent: 2 compact discs

Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: September 29, 2010
Extent: 2 compact discs

 

Biography:
Stephanie Davis is the executive director of Georgia Women For a Change, a non-profit public policy institute with a gender lens, that represents Georgia activists across a spectrum of issues including health care, economic justice and challenging violence against women and girls. Georgia Women for a Change introduced legislation to combat human trafficking and institute flexible sick leave policy. Davis served as the first Policy Advisor on Women's Issues to Mayor Shirley Franklin and in that role, coordinated the "Dear John" campaign to end the prostitution of children in Atlanta. As the first director of the Atlanta Women's Foundation, where she served for 11 years, Davis was responsible for raising several million dollars, establishing an endowment and positioning the Foundation to be the fastest growing women's fund in the country. Davis currently serves on the Board of Synchronicity Theatre and the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She is a graduate of Skidmore College and recieved one of the country's first Masters in women's studies from Goddard College.

Abstract, August 26, 2010
Davis describes her experiences growing up in a Jewish community in Tampa, Florida during the 1950s and early 1960s. She discusses the impact of her parents upon her life and how they supported her activism. Her life was deeply informed by the public service of her mother who served in the Florida House of Representatives for many years. Davis attended Skidmore College and then traveled in Europe where she exposed a CIA operation tracking New Left student groups. Later, Davis earned a Master’s Degree from Cambridge in a pioneering feminist studies program. This program cemented her desire to dedicate her life to working on issues of social justice for women. Davis talks about beginning her career working to establish a battered women’s shelter in Charleston, South Carolina. Davis then relocated to Atlanta where she has remained ever since. In her early years in Atlanta Davis worked for the YWCA and then became the first staff person for the Atlanta Women’s Foundation. Davis discusses the role and evolution of the Atlanta Women’s foundation which was originally a part of the Community foundation of Atlanta, but became independent under her leadership. She details the structure and the individual women who were active in the many spheres of women’s activism in Atlanta and nationally during the ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s. Davis has been involved with a variety of issues throughout her life, but she was particularly active in women’s reproductive justice, violence against women, and the campaign against child sex trafficking. 

Abstract, September 29, 2010:
Stephanie Davis begins her second oral history by discussing her work with the Atlanta Women’s Fund and the projects that she launched with the Fund, including Numbers Too Big to Ignore and a lesbian breast health campaign.  She talks about the decision to separate the Fund from the Community Foundation, and the conflicts associated with that. She also talks about the opportunity she had to run for political office, and how her decision not to run affected her and her career path. She describes her activism in the fight to end child prostitution, beginning with her role in establishing Angela’s House during her years at the Women’s Foundation. After leaving the Foundation, she continued to work to end child sex trafficking, as Mayor Shirley Franklin’s policy advisor on women’s issues. Davis discusses the Women’s Policy Group, a lobbying organization she founded, and her role as the first executive director of the Women’s Assembly. As the oral history comes to a close, Davis focuses on her more current work, including the White House Project, the board for the W.E.B. Dubois Society, the board of the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the board for Synchronicity Theatre. At the end of the interview, Davis gives advice to younger generations of women activists.

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