Regina Holliday: A Perfect Storm

Regina Holliday is a health-care reform activist. She is powered by love for her late husband Fred, who was diagnosed with stage IV kidney cancer last spring and died on June 17 at the age of 39. A week after his death, Holliday blogged this self-portrait:

I am a liberal democrat raised in Oklahoma by conservative republicans. I am a Lutheran whose best friends represent many faiths. I am a mural artist in Washington DC and was Oklahoma State Champion in Original Oratory in 1990. I have worked in a factory, in food service, in retail, as a teacher, and served briefly in the US Navy. I am a mother of a special needs son and am the widow of a good man. I am the perfect storm. (See The Battle Begins.)

And Holliday’s words ring true with media coverage of her mural painting from her home base in the US Capitol with the Washington Post to foreign outlets including the BBC and Al-Jazeera. So far her public murals include Medical Facts and 73 Cents.

Besides painting, Holliday blogs about health-care news, media coverage of her advocacy efforts, and real-life stories. She succinctly fuses the political and personal. For instance, Holliday compares her experience as a childhood survivor of violence at the hands of an alcoholic parent to how people are coping with today’s health-care system. (See “The Abuse in the Medical System”.)

Through her blog, we learn that Holliday spoke by invitation at a conference alongside health providers, her flesh-and-blood story dispelling the anonymity of bar charts (see “Thoughts on Medicine and Social Media”). We also find original poems like “The Cleaning of the Brush”, which traces how “art defines life” from her childhood to becoming a marriage partner.

Holliday welcomes people to join her health-care reform efforts. She also invites firsthand stories about tragedies with medical care for her murals. Holliday can be reached by email reggieart123[at], through her blog, and via social media like Facebook and Twitter.

What especially inspires me about Holliday’s art-advocacy is how she’s following her own vision, carrying out her own contribution. She’s willing as an individual to express her views through creation in the middle of the public eye. She’s enriching community spaces with art that speaks to the everyday struggles and hopes of onlookers. May Holliday’s truth-speaking command a humanitarian response from parties with their hands crammed down the cookie jar of US health care.


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