Raising the Volume of Women's Voices: Lorenza Holt
By OBOS — April 14, 2010
From 2009 – 2011, Our Bodies Ourselves honored the work of women’s health advocates worldwide by asking readers to nominate their favorite women’s health hero. View all nominees by year: 2009, 2010, 2011
Entrant: Randi Friedman
Nominee: Lorenza Holt, Executive Director, Boston Association for Childbirth Education
My women’s health hero is my next-door neighbor and dear friend, Lorenza Holt. Lorenza is passionate about empowering women during the childbirth process. She has devoted the past 15 years of her life to working primarily with multicultural inner-city women as a doula, community outreach coordinator, and childbirth educator.
When Lorenza excitedly describes her work helping women discover their strength, courage, and power during this significant moment in their lives, you can literally feel the depth of her passion and the intensity of her commitment. I have attached a short video/digital story, which will provide a sense of Lorenza and what has inspired her work.
Lorenza was born and grew up in Mexico; she is bilingual and began working as a community coordinator for the Cambridge Birth Center before it even opened in the mid-90s. Lorenza was instrumental in creating its doula program, which continues to serve a culturally diverse population.
As Lorenza explained to me: When a woman who may be an immigrant and who may not speak English has the support of another woman during childbirth, who understands her language and culture, it “raises the volume of her voice” and allows her to be heard. Lorenza feels that helping women find their voice during childbirth can be a transformative experience for that woman in all aspects of her life — and can have a profound impact on society.
After working for a number of years in the Cambridge Birth Center doula program, Lorenza went back to school and obtained a master’s degree in public health at Boston University, specializing in maternal and child health. She studied maternal depression, using a multicultural approach. After obtaining her degree, Lorenza administered the doula program at Boston Medical Center for several years.
Lorenza is currently devoting her energies to working with the Boston Association for Childbirth Education (BACE). As its volunteer executive director, she is tirelessly working toward developing multilingual community-based childbirth education. She and BACE are trying to develop a workforce of community health workers who can provide a range of culturally appropriate services to help women make informed decisions about the birthing process and provide support to new mothers.
Lorenza’s work with women is her “calling.” There have been quite a few times when I am leaving my house in the morning and Lorenza is returning from a long night when she has been a doula at a birth. At those moments, Lorenza is full of energy and emotion and her excitement is palpable. Her birth stories have moved me to tears. They are amazing stories about women who were scared and sometimes alone and who found the power and courage, with her support, to trust themselves and their bodies as they bring promising new lives into the world.
Lorenza, you are my hero! Thank you for taking BACE under your nurturing wings and guiding this important organization towards fulfilling its potential to reach, teach and empower more women in the community to “raise the volume of their (public) voices” by listening and connecting to their authentic inner voices.
Lorenza, you are truly a gift to society, I wish their were more people like you.
Thank you for connecting with such devotion.
Lorenza, congratulations! My niece is just days away from having her first baby here in dallas. She is going to the Womens and Birthing center here. We are thrilled for her. Thank you for your beautiful work and devotion I have sent to her.
Lorenza, congratulations! Your tireless work and devotion to this issue deserves recognition. You are my Hero
Big abrazos, Rosa
You dedicate your time in helping others without even asking anything in return. I think that we should all be grateful to have someone so giving and caring in our lives. I sure am!
Love you tons!
Lorenza, what a wonderful honor and you are certainly most deserving of it. A beautiful and loving advocate for all women and their families. Those who have the honor of being touched by you in some way are truly blessed.
Congratulations my sister!
Lorenza is TRULY a women’s health hero. You will not find a more dedicated person to the cause of improving maternity care for ALL women.
Lorenza is a blessing to all the women whose lives she has touched! I am so happy our paths crossed at the DONA doula training. Your warmth and passion for birthing women was tangible.
Congratulations on the nomination. Your dedication, persistence and desire to follow your heart inspire us all.
We are so proud of you! You are such an inspiration to all of us and how selflessly and diligently you have pursued this incredible cause.
We love you so much.
Rejas y Josh
You are my hero too!!!
Good for you! You are a gift from god. You saw/felt what was wrong/missing in the birth process and help to make it right everyday. Thank you!
Te Adoro! Mil Felicidades amiga y hermana del alma. I am so touched and grateful that a women like you is celebrated, acknowledge and honored! For all those things you do, have done and will continue to do to help every single other human being that crosses your path! Namaste!