Thedora Smith is the mother, sister, auntie, daughter and best friend. Born and raised in Chicago, she has resided in Wisconsin since 2006. She has since focused her attention on addressing the issues facing Black families through empowering the Black woman, she achieved this through a supportive sistah hood galvanizing and helping Black women to navigate systems and create social change within Dane County with her organization named Sistahs of African Descent.
Thedora has eight years of experience in advocacy work. She serves as a Neighborhood Advocate for the City of Sun Prairie – acting as a conduit between the community and local businesses and supporting residents recovering from traumatic experiences. She currently works at Domestic Violence Intervention Services as a Shelter Advocate--providing trauma-informed support, advocacy, crisis intervention, safety planning, parenting support, information, and referrals.
Thedora strives to become one of the many innovative organizations that will lock arms and fight to decrease the infant mortality rate amongst black women within Dane County and change the way Black consume health care. She will accomplish this by accompanying black women to doctor and emergency room visits making sure that Black women have physical support and a good understanding of their care while addressing concerning issues. She helps women build a great communicating relationship with their doctors which promotes equitable access to prenatal care.
Research shows that when an advocate is present at doctor visits, communication between physicians and patients improves, patients feel understood, and physicians receive valuable information about patient issues. Building trusting and sustained relationships with doctors increases the overall health of the woman and child. In attending doctor visits with expecting mothers, Thedora helps black women feel empowered to make active choices about their prenatal care, develop their own voices, have a say in what is done to their bodies and advocate for the health of themselves and their babies.
Last year, Thedora supported a close family member through pregnancy. When this mother lost her baby boy “Halo”, Thedora suffered a loss as well. The experience inspired her to start the project “Halo’s Advocates” in memory of his life. Thedora is now a certified doula with DONA (Doulas of North America International). She is currently continuing her training in post-partum care and in lactation counseling.