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Activist Women Oral History Project: R

Ray, Amy

Interviewee: Amy Ray
Interviewer: Natalia Poppeliers [Bowdoin]
Date of Interview: March 9, 2011
Extent: 2 compact discs; 1 DVD; 61-page transcript

Interviewer: NataliaPoppeliers [Bowdoin]
Date of Interview: April 13, 2011
Extent: 1 compact disc; 1 DVD; 38-page transcript

Amy Ray was born in Decatur, Georgia in 1964. She graduated from Emory University in 1986. She had a passion for music and began performing with friend Emily Saliers as a teenager. The pair later formed the Indigo Girls. As a singer-songwriter, Ray also pursues a solo career, releasing albums under her own name, and has founded a record company, Daemon Records. She supports grassroots activist causes, in particular those relating to the environment, human rights and women’s issues.


Abstract, March 9, 2011:
Georgia native Amy Ray begins by talking about how her early interest in music intertwined with her activism, and was influenced by her Southern roots. Ray and her musical partner Emily Saliers met when they were in elementary school, and Ray discusses their formative years together. Ray and Saliers’ group, the Indigo Girls were involved in the Atlanta music scene of the 1980s, and Ray speaks about the support that that scene provided, and how it influenced the group. The Indigo Girls were signed to two major record labels, and Ray describes how that provided the means and support for much of her activism. She talks at length about ways that the band fused musical performance and social activism in a profound way, and goes on to discuss the process of recording and songwriting as part of the Indigo Girls, and as a solo artist. Ray talks about founding Daemon Records and about the focus of the label and the ways in which it has assisted other artists.

Abstract, April 13, 2011:
Amy Ray begins her second interview talking specifically about her activism. She discusses various groups she’s been involved with, including Project South, Southern Center for Human Rights, Southerners on New Ground, Georgia WAND, and Honor the Earth. She talks about her mentors and supporters in activism. She discusses causes not focused on in the first interview, including immigrant rights and gay rights. She describes how growing up in a religious community and studying religion in college influences her activism. She also discusses how she uses her platform as a musician to support causes, including doing tours for Honor the Earth, holding solar powered shows, giving tickets to gay youth groups, and performing at schools. She discusses how and why she focuses on some causes more than others. She has received some opposition to her activism and she talks about what that has looked like and how she has handled it.


Reis, Leola

Interviewee: Leola Reis
Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: September 19, 2008
Extent: 2 compact discs; 46 page transcript

Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: November 25, 2008
Extent: 2 compact discs; 52 page transcript



Leola Reis was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1963 and graduated from Queens University with a B.A. in English. Reis began her work for Planned Parenthood of Georgia as a clinic counselor and a liaison for judicial bypass (1995-1997). Reis then became Planned Parenthood of Georgia’s Coordinator of Marketing, Communications, and Public Policy (1997), Director of Marketing, Communications, and Public Policy (1997), Vice President for Marketing and Communications (2000), and eventually Vice-President for External Affairs. Reis also served on the board of Refugee Family Services (2005-?), the Atlanta Women’s Foundation Grant Committee (2004), and a panel for the Alan Guttmancher Institute (2003). Reis was also involved in extensive volunteer work with First Line as an after-hours counselor, teaching a course called Judaism and Sexuality, as well as working as a facilitator at Juvenile Justice Fund’s Summit to End Sexual Exploitation (2006).


September 19, 2008 interview
Leola Reis begins her interview by discussing her family lineage. She talks about the experiences of her parents and grandparents, which include one of her grandmothers surviving a German concentration camp during WWII. She discusses being raised Jewish, and what that meant in her family. Reis was born in Canada and eventually immigrated to the United States, and she talks about some of the differences in the two nations. She was educated at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, and she mentions some early activism she was involved with there. Reis talks about the March for Women’s Lives, which was a large demonstration for reproductive rights and women’s rights which took place in Washington D.C. in 2004. She mentions some early lobbying efforts, specifically a meeting with Georgia Representative John Lewis. After a move to Atlanta, Reis became very involved with Planned Parenthood. She talks about the many roles the Planned Parenthood plays and the various services it provides. She discusses the organization’s work in sexual education at length. This interview also touches on politics surrounding Planned Parenthood, as well as programs concerning birth control, medical abortion, emergency contraception, and STD screenings.


Richardson, Deborah

Interviewee: Deborah Richardson
Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: May 14, 2008
Extent: ? compact disc; 1 DVD; 71 page transcript

Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: June 24, 2008
Extent: ? compact disc; 1 DVD; 38 page transcript

Deborah J. Richardson is the Executive Vice President of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights leading its fundraising and program development. Previously, she was Chief Program Officer at Women’s Funding Network in San Francisco, CEO of The Atlanta Women’s Foundation, Director of Program Development for Fulton County Juvenile Court, founding Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Fund (now Youth Spark) and Managing Director of the National Black Arts Festival.

Among Richardson's many awards are: The Community Leadership Award by Spelman College Board of Trustees, The Legacy Award by the Juvenile Justice Fund and The Grassroots Justice Award by the Georgia Justice Project. She also received  the Lives of Commitment Award from Auburn Theological Seminary and The Pathbreaker Award from Shared Hope International. Richardson is a nationally recognized leader on social justice for women and girls and an advocate to end child sex trafficking. She is the co-author of "Ending Sex Trafficking of Children in Atlanta" and a national spokesperson for A Future. Not a Past (now Youth Spark, Inc.), a campaign to stop the sexual trafficking of children.

Abstract, May 14, 2008:
The interview conducted on May 14, 2008, covers Deborah Richardson's childhood, family background, education, marriage and motherhood, and her early years as an executive with several non-profits in Atlanta. She describes her childhood in Atlanta's Collier Heights where neighbors included Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta King and her experiences as one of seven African American students selected to integrate Northside High School. She talks about observing the funeral procession of Martin Luther King, Jr.. As a student at Georgia State University beginning in 1970, she describes her activities promoting Black history and programming at the university. Richardson speaks of her early years working in non-profit work as Director of the Phillis Wheatley YWCA, Executive Director of Capital Area Mosaic, Managing Director of the National Black Arts Festival, Director of Program Development and Evaluation for the Fulton County Juvenile Court, and her work with Angela's House for girls who are victims of sex trafficking. The interview concludes with Richardson's employment at the Atlanta Women's Foundation. 

Abstract, June 24, 2008:
The interview recorded on June 24, 2008, focuses on Deborah Richardson's work with the Atlanta Women's Foundation and the Women's Funding Network. She begins by talking about her role as Vice President of Programs and Strategic Initiatives for the Atlanta Women's Foundation and her specific involvement with the Destiny Fund, Faith, feminism and Philanthropy, Giving Circles, and the Women's Shelter Project. She discusses her appointment as CEO of the Women's Foundation in 2006 and her work with fundraising and efforts to strengthen strategic goals. She talks about her decision to relocate to San Francisco to be Chief Program Officer for the Women's Funding Network. The conversation ends with Richardson discussing her professional legacy and her advice to young women. 



Interviewee: Roger Rochat
Interviewer: Alex McGee
Date of Interview: October 24, 2013
Extent: 1 DVD
Transcript and audio



Dr Roger Rochat completed his residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. He joined CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and was assigned to the Family Planning Evaluation Activity and the Georgia Health Department. One of his first tasks was to determine whether the new Georgia state law legalizing abortion would reduce maternal mortality. Because of restrictive access to services, it would not. A lawyer cited this social inequity in Doe v. Bolton, the Supreme Court case from Georgia that was decided concurrently with Roe v. Wade. In 1981, Dr. Rochat became the first Director of the Division of Reproductive Health for the CDC. In 1985, he developed the Global Health Track in Community Health at Emory, then worked 2 years for USAID in India, and then spent six years developing Maternal and Child Health epidemiology in the Georgia Health Department. After 30 years with CDC, working in 30+ countries and with many State Health Departments, he retired from CDC in 1999, went with his brother briefly to Antarctica, and then joined the Rollins School of Public Health where he has appointments in Departments of Global Health and Epidemiology and in Emory Medical school’s Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics. He serves as Director of Graduate Studies, Hubert Department of Global Health and co-teaches four public health courses related to reproductive health, including The GEMMA Seminar: The Global Elimination of Maternal Mortality from Abortion.  Roger and Susan Rochat have endowed the GEMMA fund to support Emory MPH students conducting international research aimed at eliminating maternal deaths from abortion.

Roger Rochat discusses his life's work involving maternal mortality, abortion, family planning and reproductive health. The interview touches upon his time at CDC, USAID and his research in demography abroad as well as in the United States.

Rooks, Judith

Interviewee: Judith Rooks
Interviewer: Janet Paulk
Date of Interview: April 26, 2004
Extent: 3 audio cassettes; 3 compact discs; 79 page transcript

Judith Rooks was born in Spokane, Washington in 1941. Her father was a surgeon in the army reserves during WWII, and her mother was a nurse. She attended the University of Washington where she received a B.S. in nursing in 1963. Rooks married after graduation and then moved to Washington, D.C. where, in 1964, she began working as a nurse at the Clinical Center (part of the National Institute of Health). While in D.C. her husband was sent to Vietnam and during his absence Rooks pursued her graduate degree in nursing at the Catholic University of America. During the late 1960s, after moving back to the west coast, Rooks worked on the weekends at San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury Free Medical Center. The couple moved to Atlanta when Rook’s husband took a job at Emory University Hospital. Once in Atlanta, Rooks became head of a Georgia Citizens for Hospital abortions, an organization which fought to get the Georgia abortion laws changed. In addition to her activism, Rooks also worked for the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as an epidemiologist in the Family Planning Evaluation Division where she uncovered revealing statistics regarding the disparity between black and white women who were allowed to have “legal abortions” prior to the change in the state laws. This research was used in the Doe v Bolton case which challenged Georgia’s abortion laws.  She has continued to work as an epidemiologist for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as the Principal Investigator for the National Birth Center Study at Columbia University. Rooks authored numerous publications about family planning, and women’s health, as well as being an expert in the field of midwifery. She has also been the recipient of numerous honorary awards including the Martha May Eliot Award for exceptional service to mothers and children, in 1993; the Hattie Hemschemeyer Award for continuous contributions to nurse-midwifery and maternal and child healthcare, in 1998; and the National Perinatal Associations’ National Award for Outstanding Contribution to Maternal and Child Health in 1999.
Rooks describes her childhood during WWII. The daughter of a doctor and a nurse, she believed that aside from teaching, nursing was the only occupation a woman could pursue. Graduating from the University of Washington in 1963, Rooks married in 1964, and went on to earn a graduate degree in nursing at Catholic University of America. She describes her early professional experiences, and says that her interest in reproductive rights began when, teaching at San Jose State University, she assigned students to research the effects of illegal abortions on Mexican agricultural workers. Rooks says that she became politically involved with reproductive rights through the Georgia Citizens for Hospital Abortion. She discusses the abortion laws and their realities in Georgia, especially for poor women, who made up the majority of those seeking illegal abortions, and goes on to describe her experiences in getting support for legislation that would change the existing laws. She describes her committee’s failed attempts to get the new legislation passed, after which, she says, she held a press conference on the steps of the Capitol and declared, “because the Georgia legislature has turned its back on the health needs of Georgia women, my committee will establish a counseling center to provide information and arrange legal abortions in Washington, D.C. or New York for Georgia women who could not access necessary health services in Georgia.” Rooks goes on to describe the committee’s efforts to assist women in getting safe abortions. She believes that it was her pro-choice activism that resulted in her being turned down for a job in the school of nursing at Georgia State University, and she recounts her aborted contract signing to illustrate this. Rooks went on to work at the CDC where, in her research into the epidemiology of family planning, she began gathering statistics on legal and illegal abortions. She talks about the Georgia Citizens for Hospital Abortion committee’s decision to bring a suit to challenge the abortion law on the books as unconstitutional, and describes in detail the work that went in to the Doe v Bolton case, and the people involved, including Margie Pitts Hames who argued the case in the Supreme Court. Rooks talks about her book, Midwifery and Childbirth in America, and goes on to discuss the history of midwifery in the United States. She talks about her move to the Pacific Northwest with her second husband, and about the work she has undertaken since then, both nationally and internationally. She finishes by describing what she considers the most important accomplishments of the Women’s Movement: "My life would be totally different without it. The freedom of contraception, the freedom of abortion, the ability to have informed education and consent for your health care…The whole world is changing because of the strengths of women."

Ross, David

Interviewee: David Ross
Interviewer: Morna Gerrard
Date of Interview: March 29, 2012
Extent: 1 compact disc; 1 DVD; 59-page transcript


Attorney David Ross served on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of Atlanta from 1987-1990, was board chair from 1991-1992, and went on to serve the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1993-1994. Ross played a significant role in establishing a corps of local attorneys representing young women who were seeking judicial bypass after the passage of Georgia's parental notification law.

The interview, conducted March 29, 2012, focuses on Ross's family and educational background, work as a litigation attorney for the Atlanta law firm Powell Goldstein, and philanthropic efforts. He speaks about growing up in rural Texas as a supporter of Richard Nixon's 1960 presidential campaign, and his shifting political views after attending college at the University of Kansas, graduate school at Northwestern University, and law school at the University of North Carolina. Ross addresses his many career changes, from social worker in the Kansas prisons, to newspaper journalist in Chicago, to attorney in Atlanta. Much of the interview focuses on his work with Planned Parenthood of Atlanta, where he at one time served as Vice President of the Southern Region, and his work with Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, serving as Board Chair. Additionally, he discusses his work with the Georgia Justice Project and his political campaign efforts in support of Bill Clinton and Barak Obama.

Roegiers, Kelcey

Interviewee: Kelcey Reogiers
Interviewer: Samantha Harvel
Date of interview: March 26, 2021




Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator and Chief Diversity Officer Kelcey Roegiers oversees the compliance, academics, strength and conditioning, life skills, and sports medicine departments, and serves as the Title IX Deputy Coordinator. She is also serving as sport supervisor for women's basketball, court volleyball, beach volleyball, men's soccer, and women's soccer. Previously, Roegiers spent more than four years with the women's basketball program in an administrative role. She is also an ESPN+ color commentator for Georgia State women's basketball television broadcasts.  

Involved with the Georgia State Athletic Department since her days as a student-athlete, Roegiers competed for the Panther women's basketball squad as a four-year letter winner and still ranks on several Panther top-10 charts including assists, steals, free throws made, and 3-pointers made.

Roegiers earned her bachelor's degree from Georgia State in 2007 and followed with a master's in sports business administration in 2011. Roegiers is actively involved within the NCAA governance structure. She currently serves on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee. She is a graduate of the 1A Athletic Director Institute and is an active member of Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA). Roegiers was involved in the development of the athletics department strategic planning initiative as well as the Sun Belt Conference strategic planning committee.


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