Video screening

Film: Rosenwald

The ADORE (A Dialogue On Race and Ethnicity) group meet via Zoom on March 27th, 11:30am-2:00pm Hawai’I Time following the church service. Now that we have posted a newly revised Black Lives Matter banner in front of our church building on the Pali Hwy, one which includes the statement, “we oppose antisemitism,” it seems timely to learn a bit about the history of Black Americans and Jewish Americans working together for social justice reform in America.

We viewed and discussed writer/director Aviva Kempner’s inspiring 100-minute film documentary, Rosenwald, which will take us back a century to the era of extremely restrictive Jim Crow laws and culture. This film beautifully portrays the little-known cooperative efforts of Jewish American philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, who was the CEO of Sears, and African American educator Booker T. Washington, author, orator, and adviser to several U.S. presidents. Among the many civil rights endeavors Rosenwald and Washington collaborated on were the creation of over 5,000 schools for African American children in the South and the establishment of a generous fund for grants to be given to African American artists, writers, intellectuals, historians and others. Four notable graduates of Rosenwald schools are author and poet Maya Angelou, Congressman John Lewis, journalist Eugene Robinson, and playwright George Wolfe. The Rosenwald Fund recipients included giants such as James Baldwin, W.E.B. DuBois, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Augusta Savage, Jacob Lawrence, Ralph Bunche, Marian Anderson, Gordon Parks, Dr. Charles Drew, and the Tuskegee Airmen. The influence of these Black community leaders has had untold positive reverberating influence up until the present. Julius Rosenwald was deeply inspired by the Jewish tenets, tikkun olam (repair the world) and tzedakah (righteousness, fairness, justice, charity) as well as Booker T. Washington’s writings and philosophy.

Guest speaker

“That is 800 children”: Nazi Germany, the United States, and Dismantling Global Anti-Blackness and Racism

Description of presentation:
Dr. Emanuela Kucik will give an overview of the relationship between Nazi Germany, the United States, and anti-Blackness. Through this focus on the similar, deadly ways that anti-Blackness functions in various spaces, she aims to contribute to conversations that provide an expanded narrative of the Holocaust and allow us to better understand the global intersections of oppressive systems. In discussing how these connected structures sustain each other, she emphasizes that dismantling one piece of systemic oppression can begin to unravel the others.

Biography:
Dr. Emanuela Kucik is an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies and the Co-Creator of the Africana Studies Program at Muhlenberg College, where she was recently awarded the 2021 Ruth and Joel Spira Prize for Distinguished Teaching. Her interdisciplinary research and courses explore the intersections of literature, genocide, race, and human rights violations, and her forthcoming book focuses on how Black populations have used the concept of genocide to write about anti-Black violence.
Dr. Kucik received her PH.D. and M.A. in English from Princeton University with certifications in American Literature, with a concentration in Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies; Holocaust Literature; and Genocide Literature. At Princeton, she also earned a Doctoral Graduate Certificate in African American Studies. She received her B.A. with Highest Distinction (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Faculty page at Muhlenberg:
https://www.muhlenberg.edu/facultysearch/facultyresults/emanuelakucik/

Suggested resources:

  • Clarence Lusane’s “Hitler’s Black Victims” (book);
  • Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste” (book);
  • Robert Kesting’s “Forgotten Victims” (article);
  • Raffael Scheck’s “They were just savages” (article);
  • Hans Massaquoi’s “Destined to Witness” (book);
  • Carol Anderson’s “Eyes Off the Prize” (book);
  • Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing” (book);
  • “Race: Are We So Different?” by Alan H. Goodman, Yolanda T. Moses and Joseph L. Jones (book and exhibit);
  • WithoutSanctuary.org;
  • GenocideWatch.com;
  • We Charge Genocide (historic petition to the UN)
Video screening

Environmental Justice (parts 1 & 2)

Our own Allison Jacobs presented a variety of short videos to stimulate a robust  discussion on Environmental Justice.

“Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”(EPA) Please prepare by reading the following articles : https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/06/is-there-environmental-racism-in-hawaii/ and https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/16/opinion/environmental-racism-memphis-pipeline.html.

Google Slides Part 1
Google Slides Part 2

Guest speaker

Wayfinding:  A Story of International Service in the South Pacific

Title:
Wayfinding: A Story of International Service in the South Pacific
“Disability”, “service” and “adventure” in American Samoa,
including a visual exploration of community empowerment and culture
.

Description of presentation:
Across a span of 20 years, Jim Skouge represented the University of Hawai’i providing special education services in American Samoa. Through lasting friendships and adventures his perspectives on life changed.

Biography:
Dr. James Skouge — recipient of the Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching — is a retired professor of “special education”, University of Hawai’i. He served Pacific Islander students, including outreach to their Polynesian and Micronesian islands — promoting “digital storytelling”, disability awareness and community voices. A lifelong Unitarian, Jim and his wife Sharon reside both in Honolulu and Victoria, appreciating a marriage approaching 50 years.

The UH College of Education produced a short video documentary of Dr. Skouge’s aspirations and achievements entitled “Wayfinding: Giving Voice through Technology”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRAVWNA6M68

Resources:
Kung Fu Cowboys: https://tinyurl.com/KungFuCowboys
Tutu Lady: https://tinyurl.com/TutuLady
Lovely Hula Hands: https://tinyurl.com/LovelyHH
Before and After: https://tinyurl.com/aewmhvtt
Wayfinding (Part 1): https://tinyurl.com/Wayfinding01
Wayfinding (Part 2): https://tinyurl.com/Wayfinding02

Guest speaker, Video screening

“Voices Behind Barbed Wire” + Dr. Jonathan Y. Okamura

Showing of the 75-minute docudrama Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai’i followed by discussion with Dr. Okamura

Description of the presentation:
The rise in anti-Asian hate incidents this past year has prompted an important discussion about racism toward the Asian-American population, both in Hawai’i and the Continental United States. During the meeting, we will view the film mentioned above and then listen to a presentation and hold a discussion led by University of Hawai’i Professor Emeritus Jonathan Y. Okamura. This will include various related topics such as the history of anti-Asian racism, including the WWII internment camps, the burden of the model minority myth, the indiscriminate lumping of all Asians into one block, and Asian-American support for other vulnerable ethnic groups such as those who are caged at the US southern border and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dr. Okamura’s biosketch:
Jonathan Y. Okamura is professor emeritus at the University of Hawai’i where he worked for more than thirty years, twenty of which were with the Department of Ethnic Studies. He is the author of several books, including “Ethnicity and Inequity in Hawai’i” and “Raced to Death in 1920s Hawai’i: Injustice and Revenge in the Fukunaga Case.” Professor Okamura continues to serve on the UH Manoa Commission on Racism and Bias and to write and lecture on race and ethnicity in Hawai’i.

Description of the docudrama:
Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai’i. The film was sponsored by, among others, the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program, and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i. It was written and directed by Ryan Kawamoto with David Sato directing photography, including the historical reenactments.

While the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II has been well documented on the U.S. Mainland, new information about the sites and untold stories continue to emerge from Japanese Americans in Hawai’i who endured this dark chapter of history. “Voices Behind Barbed Wire: Stories of Hawai’i” explores the personal stories of Yakuma Hayashi, George Hoshida, Koiichi Iida, Rev. Tadao Kouchi, Dr. Motokazu Mori, Dr. Seiichi Ohata, Kanesaburo Oshima, Matsujiro Otani, Joichi Tahara, Shigeri Terada, and Kyoichi Ueda from the counties of O’ahu, Maui, Kaua’i and Hawai’i Island. The film also takes an archeological journey through the 19 former WWII confinement sites in Hawai’i and the relevance of history upon civil liberties today.

Guest speaker

Current issues in the Micronesian community of Hawaiʻi

Presentation by Jocelyn “Josie” Howard, Program Director of We Are Oceania (WAO). Josie Howard discussed current issues in the Micronesian Community of Hawaii.

“Cultural differences between Micronesia and Hawai‘i in the areas of medical care, employment, education and laws, compounded with the unfamiliarity with navigating Hawai‘i’s systems and services, has led to the numerous challenges facing the Micronesian community in Hawai‘i. Among these challenges are homelessness, highest number of student truancy, lack of job readiness skills, increasing numbers of children in child welfare services, and increasing numbers of juvenile and adult incarcerations.” — WAO Needs Statement
https://www.weareoceania.org/
https://manoa.hawaii.edu/thompson/wp-content/uploads/Research-Report-Stotzer-2019_3.pdf

Guest speaker

Abolition in Hawaiʻi

Description of presentation:
Discussion led by abolitionist organizers Aree Worawongwasu and Noelle Kakimoto from the Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective. Abolishing prisons, policing, and the military are heated topics with easily manipulated definitions, so Aree and Noelle explained what abolitionists truly want and why these goals are beneficial for everyone. Starting with a quick background on how abolition developed, Aree and Noelle lead audiences into today’s movements for community safety, accountability, and healing outside of the inherently racist and punitive legal system. They shared influences from revered abolitionists like Mariame Kaba and Ruth Wilson Gilmore and present possibilities of what a Hawaiʻi without prisons, policing, and the military will look like.

Aree Worawongwasu’s bio:
Aree Worawongwasu (อารีรัตน์ วรวงศ์วสุ) is a Mon Teochew Thai community organizer, cultural worker, and educator from Bangkok. She is a member of Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective and a PhD student at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she is a teaching assistant in Indigenous Studies and Ethnic Studies. She is the Director of Communications for the Afro-Asia Working Group and a technician for Dark Laboratory, a collective for Black and Indigenous relationality. As a diasporic Indigenous woman, Aree is deeply committed to and in solidarity with the movement for Hawaiian self-determination.

Noelle Kakimoto’s bio:
Noelle Kakimoto is a Kanaka Maoli organizer and writer born and raised in Honolulu. She is a co-founder of the Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective and is on the board of Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice in her free time, and she works for the Office of the Public Defender as an Appellate Legal Clerk and a freelance sports writer at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Noelle is passionate about building abolitionist futures in Hawaiʻi and she wants to establish connections between Hawaiians and other communities in our shared struggles. Her goal is to do reentry work with people who are released from prison.

Suggested resources:

8toAbolition.com
A Nation Rising
ACLU Hawaii report on bail in Hawai’i (2018)
Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System, OHA Report
HawaiiCommunityBailFund.org
Community Alliance on Prisons
Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission
Puʻuhonua Penpal Program
instagram.com/kalihirisingco/

Guest speaker

Honolulu Police Commission Task Force and the current state of affairs

Presentation by Cathy Lee, a founder of the Honolulu Police Commission Taskforce. In the past several weeks we have witnessed the tragic events in which Iremamber Sykap and Lindani Myeni , both unarmed men of color, were killed by the HPD. Many of us have been appalled by the systemic issues in policing here in Hawai’i.

Cathy Lee spoke to us about how to be engaged with Honolulu Police Commission and we discussed further actions that we can take to work towards creating a more equitable Hawaiʻi with transparent and just policing.

Suggested resources:

The Untold Story: Policing with Jay Ellis
HPC homepage

Guest speaker

Environmental Justice is Racial Justice: From Memphis to Kahuku

Title:
Environmental Justice is Racial Justice: From Memphis to Kahuku

Description of presentation:
Many regard the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, Dr. King’s final advocacy while still among us, to be a seed of the environmental justice movement. This legacy, and struggle for racial justice and equality in relation to health, spirit and the natural world, has grown into a powerful movement. Raya will discuss the fundamentals of environmental justice and her experience working with Ku Kia’i Kahuku’s fight for environmental justice on the North Shore. She will also share national context and next steps for federal action.

Biography:
Raya Salter is an attorney, educator and clean energy law and policy expert with a focus on energy and climate justice. She is a member of the New York State Climate Action Council, which is developing NY’s plan to reach the nation’s leading climate action goals, and the Policy Director for the NY Renews climate justice coalition. In previous roles she was an attorney for both the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund. She started her legal career as an energy associate at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP.

Raya has practiced in several jurisdictions, including New York, California and Hawaii and is the co-editor of Energy Justice: US and International Perspectives (2018). Raya worked as a consultant for Henk Rogers, at the State legislature in the Legislative Reference Bureau and enjoyed living in both Kailua and Ala Moana.

Raya sits on the board of directors of the Energy and Environmental Study Institute and the advisory board of Evergreen Action. Her web site is www.RayaSalter.com. Raya is @ClimateAuntie on IG and Tik-Tok and Raya Salter on YouTube and Twitter.

Guest speaker

Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs (AHCC)’s adoption of Resolution No. 2020-30 “Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community in their struggle for social change, justice, equity, and equality”

Anthony “Makana” Paris, Esq., current Treasurer of the AHCC and President of Prince Kuhio Hawaiian Civic Club talked to us about his work with an import important resolution: Resolution No. 2020-30 “Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community in their struggle for social change, justice, equity, and equality”.

The AHCC adopted this Resolution at the 61st AHCC Convention which was held in November 2020. The AHCC was originated in 1918 by Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, who was also the first Senator from the Territory of Hawaii. The AHCC represents 62 clubs, of which 17 clubs are on the continent, and has 5,000 members. Click to access 2020-AHCC-Adopted-Resolutions-excerpt.pdf