We are thrilled to announce that Chimére Smith and Terri Wilder will be joining #MEAction as consultants to execute a new volunteer leadership training program funded by the Ford Foundation! We are so thrilled that we will be able to expand our volunteer programs to include robust training and provide fulfilling roles and opportunities for anyone who wants to work with us, become an activist with us, or provide support for a growing community. We are so privileged to have Chimére’s teaching and advocacy experience and Terri’s experience with protest and training activists. Together, we know that this new initiative will flourish.
Chimére L. Smith is also a writer and thought leader who has appeared on Next Question with Katie Couric, MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin, The Washington Post, Medium, and on PBS NewsHour. She has been consistently coined as a “passionate” patient-led advocate after attracting the attention of local politicians, doctors, and hospital administration to receive life-saving care as she battled Covid-19.
Since June 2020, she has used her social media platforms, engagement in grass-root Covid-19 support groups (notably Body Politic and BIPOC Women Long Covid “Long Hauler” Support Group), and strong media presence to raise awareness about the importance of Black voices in conversations on the prevention, treatment, and research of Long Covid in urban communities.
In April 2021, Smith was praised for her heart-wrenching and brazen testimony during a bipartisan Congressional hearing on Long Covid after becoming the first Black woman to detail her Long Covid experience. She recently documented her testimony in Huffington Post. And in July 2021, she was a featured panelist on Japan’s NHK’s Global Agenda, speaking on the mental health effects of the pandemic on women and children.
Chimére currently writes about her experience in dating, romance, and physical intimacy as a Black woman with Long Covid and is now learning how to navigate her new life, disability, and purpose as a patient consultant and public speaker.
Terri L. Wilder, MSW is a social worker and activist for the rights of people living with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), Long COVID, and HIV. She has worked in public health since 1989 providing social services, coordinating education for clients and medical providers, managing volunteer-led programs, and advocating for policy change. She has presented at local national, and international conferences on a variety of health topics. Terri was diagnosed with ME in March 2016. Since her diagnosis she has worked with elected officials, public health departments, health care providers, and activists to raise awareness and change policy around ME in New York State and across the globe. She was finishing her PhD in Sociology at Georgia State University when she became ill however believes she has had the disease since 1996. She has years of experience working with #MEAction and has represented the group on the federal Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee (CFSAC), and during NIH, CDC, and HHS meetings. She uses the skills she learned from the HIV movement and the LGBTQ+ community to fight for the ME and Long COVID community.
Chimére and Terri are beginning now with interviews and assessments and we plan to launch the new program in fall of 2022. Stay tuned and in the meantime, help us share our thanks for Chimére and Terri!
A special thank you to the Ford Foundation for supporting us! As we grow, we can do great things!