Minna Hong is a woman with SCI/D who has been impacting our community in a variety of different ways from peer support to advocacy to art. Get to know some of her work and future goals!
Please tell us your SCI story (about your injury, level of Injury, etc.)
I sustained a spinal cord injury from a car accident in 1999 that changed the course of my life. I became a widow and a single mother of 2 young kids in an instant. After painful 2 years of mourning personal loss, I went to work. I rested my old self to give life to my new self in my new body. I worked as a SCI Peer Support manager at Shepherd Center for 18 years and was very instrumental in creating scientific evidence based program to prove the efficacy of peer support through PCORI Grant. This research changed the way rehabilitation hospitals view the peer support program. It became a standard practice to be recognized as a rehabilitation facility. I was the winner of Hospital Hero Award by GA Healthcare Association for my work.
Minna recently retired to pursue her passions; disability advocacy and her love of creating art. Her goal is to infuse the two in various mediums of artistic expressions. “Nothing about us without us”. This is her way of giving back to the community that has been so generous to her life journey. She is committed to creating a community where ALL are welcome at the table.
Where do you currently reside? Suwanee GA
Education (degrees, art school, etc.) BA, communications, UCSB
When did you realize you had a passion for art? I have always enjoyed art. It came in different forms. Sometimes it was drawing, painting but it also morphed into my daily life. For example, art showed up in plating food, setting the table, alterations of clothes, flower arrangement, gardening etc. it’s all around us.
What motivated you to showcase your creative style regardless of your disability? I believe we all have a unique view. It shifts a bit after the disability because our physical place in this world shifts. The essence stays the same but it becomes fluid with life experience. Art is part of therapy and documentation of personal history.
How has disability played a role in your creativity or the work you create? I cannot be honest with my work without acknowledging my disability. It is not the whole of me but it definitely is a part of me. Thus, it provides a unique opportunity to create art from my personal viewpoint.
How did your art help you through the pandemic? (did it change, evolve, provide new opportunities?) Art helped me escape during the hard times of the pandemic. It helped me concentrate without the usual of social obligations/interruptions. It forced me to extend myself and look for alternative ways of creating art.
What are some of your hobbies besides art? Immersive Traveling, cooking, perpetually learning.
What are your future goals? (short-term/long-term) Short term: Working on a children’s book illustration. Long term: Create a series of books and be able to distribute the books for free to libraries and individuals.
What advice would you give to the disability community? Do you! There is only one you and work on your unique perspective. Most importantly, art is for everyone. It absolutely can be for an audience of one or many! It is equally valuable.
Where can people find your work (social media or website): Instagram: @minnaahnhong