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Collected Item: “Melony Hill Oral History, 2021/07/05”


Interview with Melony Hill of Stronger Than My Struggles

Who conducted the interview? List all names, separated by comma.

Kit Heintzman

Who was interviewed? List all names, separated by commas.

Melony Hill

Email Address(es) for all interviewers. Separated by comma.


Use one-word hashtags (separated by commas) to describe your oral history. For example: Where did it originate? How does this object make you feel? How does this object relate to the pandemic?

#actism, #activist, #advocate, #AfricanAmerican, #alcohol, #alcoholism, #Baltimore, #Black, #busyness, #disabiliy, #disabled, #education, #financialfreedom, #forprofithealthcare, #homelessness, #hydroxychloroquine, #Johnson&Johnson, #lifecoach, #loneliness, #lupus, #Maryland, #massage, #media, #mentalhealth, #mentalillness, #pansexual, #partnership, #restrictions, #rushedvaccine, #trauma, #Trump, #Tuskegee, #USA, #vaccination, #vaccine, #wellness, #writer

What is the format of your recording?


In what ZIP code is the primary residence of the interviewee? (enter 5-digit ZIP code; for example, 00544 or 94305)? In what city/town/village does the interviewee live? In what country does the interviewee live? All comma-separated.

Baltimore, MD, USA

What is the gender of the interviewee? Be sure to allow interviewees to self-identify their gender in the pre-interview or interview. *Do not assign a gender identity to interviewees.*

female, she/her

What is the age of the interviewee?

35 to 44

How does the interviewee describe their race or ethnicity? Be sure to allow interviewees to self-identify their race/ethnicity in the pre-interview or interview. *Do not assign a racial or ethnic identity to interviewees.*

African American

Describe the oral history.

Self-description: “Hi there, I’m Melony Hill. I’m a life-transition coach and trauma survivor from Baltimore, Maryland. I’m really focused on mental health and the pandemic really really stretched my ability to deal with the way that I had been dealing with my mental health.”

Some of the things we discussed included:
Running a therapeutic writing workshop before and during the pandemic, working with people’s hopes, dreams, and traumas.
Activism related to Black mental health in the organization Stronger Than My Struggles
Pre-pandemic busyness: lots of travel to speaking events and taking classes
Having received financial support from a benefactor circa 2018 to fund mental health activism, and living a life of luxury and leisure because of financial freedom
Providing COVID relief funding to parents so they could get holiday presents for children
Severe illness early in 2020 and having been diagnosed with an unidentified viral infection and having been treated with hydroxychloroquine
Canceling what would have been the second Black Mental Health Awareness tour for 2021
Experiencing the pandemic and restrictions as a kind of punishment; pandemic as “trauma on top of trauma on top of trauma”
The impact of having been diagnosed as emotionally and physically disabled in 2010 on the 2020 experience; the pandemic as disabling
Difference access to healthcare infrastructure pre- and mid-pandemic
The consequences of being cut off from doctors
The harm of loneliness
Having a massage therapist come into the home twice a week
For-profit healthcare
State and municipal funding directed at vaccine incentives instead of homelessness and crimes
The rushed production of the vaccines, fear of unknown long term consequences
Johnson & Johnson having prior liability cases
How mandating the vaccines in places like universities will stop people from accessing a better life
Avoiding the news as a form of selfcare; pandemic apathy
Appraising risk while knowing about having a destiny and trusting God’s predesign
The importance of teaching mental health and wellness to youth
That alcohol became an essential service in Maryland
Using restrictions as a metric for safety
Ending a relationship
Pandemic as a lesson in urgency; not wasting time; weighing the quantity of one’s life vs. the quality when engaging in risk assessment
How coloring operates as a form of self-care

Cultural references: DoorDash

On what date did you record this oral history?

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