Interview with Danielle Holliday
Today our guest is Danielle Holliday. She is an activist and writer. We have conducted an interview with her.
What experiences caused you to begin writing?
I began writing because I realized that there were not a lot of voices of color advocating for wellness, or socioeconomic policies. But I am so glad that things have begun to change. The first magazines that published me were “Blavity” and “For Harriet”, publications for Black women. They are smaller and niche based but growing. Then I moved on to “Thought Catalog” and eventually my local newspaper “The Gazette”. It is my belief that the liberation of one group is essential to all people. I speak on issues that affect everyone such as wellness, relationships, and self-care and also social, economic and racial inequality
I believe many women of color like myself became more mobilized after the beginning of the black lives matter movement, and more people became vocal about community issues. A few years ago in my hometown, I organized a protest against gun violence and police brutality in my hometown. But afterward I was left feeling like I needed to do more than just protest. I wanted to be a strong advocate. Writing was one way, I could contribute to the conversation. My involvement with the Iowa Democratic Party, and the Women League of Voters, were other more political based ways I decided to be active and involved in creating change.
Which kind of social purposes are you particularly interested in? Why?
The issues I care most about are wellness and mental health care, criminal justice reform, gun violence, affordable housing, immigration and food insecurity. These issues have hit very close to home for me. I feel so blessed to have graduated from University of Iowa, because those years were the most defining years of my life. I transformed as a person and dealt with the death of a loved one, who took his own life. These things are hard for anyone to understand. But it hurts. It hurts for a long time. I am so grateful that with my supportive family I was able to come out of a depression and get therapy to address the pain of that loss, and other issues. Eventually, I became very strong. I gained a lot of understanding of myself and the world and I graduated from college after completing a Congressional Internship in D.C. Through my experiences, I gained the passion to help others through their pain through my writing and advocacy. In 2015 I traveled to the Dominican Republic, and found that people thousands of miles away are dealing with the same issues we are in the states. I believe that my experiences are not unique to me, but this pain is something experienced through communities which are suffering from gun violence, incarceration, housing issues, food insecurity, low wages, and lack of help. So by writing I hope to inspire some towards self-care and others towards empathy and awareness.
What were your first challenges when you first start the culture, intersectionality, literature, and wellness blog? How did you overcome it?
I think the main challenge is building a following and a brand that people recognize and will come back to over and over again. In this area, I am a work in progress. But I am growing in readership every day.
What do you aim to achieve with your writing and activism?
I simply hope to inspire someone and to give others hope. The world can be a difficult place, and the journey can be hard. So on that journey, we all need some self-love, kindness, advice, and empathy.
What are your goals and your next steps?
My goals are to continue to raise awareness through my writing and political work. I also want to apply to Business School, and continue to build on my skills in social media marketing, content writing and blogging. In the bigger picture, I believe that innovation and social good can be connected, and that the highest purpose for innovation is to solve real world needs like food insecurity, housing issues. I want to be a part of that mission.
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