HHC Upstander of the Week: Dr. Meredith Shockley-Smith

Through the Cincy Upstander Project, the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center will highlight upstanders making a difference in our community and the world.

Upstanders are individuals who stand up for others and their rights. They fight against injustice and unfairness, and they use their character strengths to inspire action and become the best of humanity today.

Today, we’re highlighting Dr. Meredith Shockley-Smith, Field Service Assistant Professor-AFF and Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Strategies at Cradle Cincinnati and Queens Village, as HHC’s Upstander of the Week. Meredith was nominated by her daughter, who said:

“Because of her work with her team, Hamilton County moved from having one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the US to being in the lower 25 percentile. She did that by following the lead of Black women in the community and ensuring racial equity was not just lip service. She also happens to just be an awesome human who uses humor and love every day in what she does!”

Meredith said her mother, a Freedom Fighter in the Civil Rights Movement, instilled in her the drive to carry out this work. She is motivated by Black women who lead the work of fighting for racial equity alongside her.

“Living in a Black, female, queer-identified body means I am constantly faced with inequity. I truly believe that standing on the shoulders of giants is the gift I was given. I am honored to work toward equity for my children and the greater good of our society.”

Her advice for others who want to make a sustainable change in their community is to listen to the folks you serve. Trust and appreciate those you work with. Finally, leverage your network to continually improve.

“The power of Black women leaves me in awe daily,” she said. “When I am tired, they give me rest; when I am out of ideas, they innovate and create. I wake up every morning grateful for my community.”

About the Cincy Upstander Project

Through generous funding from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation and creative support from AGAR agency, the Cincy #Upstanderproject aims to inspire our community to become upstanders through a city-wide art campaign, monthly programs, museum tours, giveaways, and training opportunities.