FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2019
RCRC MAKES CHANGE IN EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP
Rev. Katey Zeh Named Interim Executive Director
The Board of Directors of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) has made a leadership change in the day-to-day management of the organization, moving from three executive directors back to one, and naming Rev. Katey Zeh as Interim Executive Director.
At this perilous time for reproductive health, rights and justice, RCRC benefits from Rev. Zeh’s extraordinary scholarship and leadership in the broader reproductive health, choice, rights and justice movement.
She recently published an article on why clergy should discuss abortion issues in the pulpit and how to do so. She was quoted this week in an analysis article in the Washington Post about clergy activism supporting reproductive freedom. Her newly published book, Women Rise Up: Sacred Stories of Resistance for Today’s Revolution, offers an alternative for people of faith dissatisfied with our culture’s misuse of faith to shame and divide people.
In addition, Rev. Zeh had completed years of service on the RCRC Board in December 2018. She knows RCRC’s mission and internal structure well from her past experience on the Board’s Executive Team. She also oversaw RCRC’s previous executive transition and led the organization when Rev. Harry Knox stepped down.
Commnting on the recent passage of extremely harsh abortion bans in states such as Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Kentucky, Rev. Zeh said, “These bans are an affront to the sacred teachings and core values of our faith traditions that call us to care for the marginalized with compassion, love, and dignity. Any religious conviction that promotes injustice ought to have no place in our laws.
“Christian conservatives may try to claim the moral high ground on abortion, but their moral framework centers around the oppression and control of our reproductive lives.”
Reasons for the Leadership Change
Board Chair Rev. Linda Jaramillo explained RCRC’s transition in leadership, saying, “RCRC yearns to reclaim our history as an historic religious leader in the reproductive health, choice, rights, and justice movement.
“As these rights are being stripped away at the state and national level, our interfaith religious voice has never been so critical. The Board firmly believes that the internal operations and the external image of RCRC will be enhanced by making this structural change,” she said.
Board members acted after an assessment of the executive director model that had been in place on a trial basis — three co-equal executives, each with a different portfolio. The Board unanimously voted down that approach. The board had also reviewed feedback from numerous partners, affiliates, former employees, and executive team members leading up to its decision to make changes.
When Rev. Zeh began working as Interim Executive Director in mid-March, Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz resigned her position as one of the three prior executive directors. Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson, another member of that three-person team, was named to a new RCRC position, clergy-in -residence. The Board remains in discussions with Delia Allen-O’Brien, the third member of the earlier executive team, about her role with RCRC.
Rev. Jaramillo welcomed Rev. Zeh to her new position, anticipating both a bright future for RCRC and a search for a full-time executive director.