Donte Smith

Donté Smith

National Lecturer

Donté (they/them) Smith is a national lecturer, health educator, and cultural curator known for their diverse range of clients from large Southern US county health departments to DIY punk rock of colors music festivals and innovative approaches to community engagement and public health. Donté is an alumnus of Georgetown University and co-creator of the Black & Brown Punk Show (Chicago 2009-2015), which spurned 6 direct spin-off festivals also nurtured by Donté’s guidance (the Universe is Lit in Oakland, Black and Brown Punk Show in San Antonio & Houston, Or Does It Explode? Chicago & Deep Cuts music festivals in New Orleans) in the last decade, which all blended cultural events with STI testing initiatives. A previously incarcerated political prisoner from the School of the Americas Watch movement in 2006, Donté’s riveting jailhouse sentencing speech was recently published by University of California in “Solidarity Witness: Collective Resistance to the US Security State” by Chandra Russo. Before serving time in federal prison, Washington Peace Center coined Donté Smith, the “Activist of the Year” in 2006 for their School of the Americas anti-militarism political prisoner work, while simultaneously being a member of the original Soulforce Equality Ride featured in “Equality U” and losing nearly 30 pounds hunger striking as part of the Georgetown University’s historic worker living wage campaign and its prolific student solidarity committee. Diagnosed as living with HIV in their early 20s, Donté led a Chicago AmeriCorps AIDS United team in 2012 to be awarded the Alexian Bros. Award of Excellence for their sustainable garden project for a community of people living with HIV in a food deserted South Chicago and was also a 2020 Human Rights campaign ELEVATE fellow linking feminine people of color of transgender experience across the South who were changing the face of the US public health workforce during COVID-19. For more than a decade, Donte has led patient navigation teams, coordinated HIV & HCV testing initiatives for key populations at large federally qualified health systems across the Southern US (Legacy Community Health in Southeast Texas and CrescentCare Healh in Southern Louisiana). A former nationally known high school speech competitor and debater who was honored with a National Forensic League Service award in 2004, Donté is a featured speaker on food justice for Soul Fire Farms Speaker’s Collective & sexuality educator for Sex Discussed Here! at university campuses across North America. Currently situated on Kansa land, Donté works as a leading with lived experience technical assistance consultant for NASTAD — supporting local health depts in increasing hepatitis engagement and cure for marginalized key populations through a drug user human rights lens. Donté is also a professional Tarot reader whose likeness has been depicted as the “World” in Cristy Road’s “Next World” Tarot deck. In their spare time, Donté loves gardening, virtual reality games & making a new home with their adorable partner Evan.



The inaugural 40 under 40 cohort represents the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, activists, intellectual provocateurs, authors, and directors who inspire and catalyze us all to a more just and equitable world.