Guest speaker

Wayfinding:  A Story of International Service in the South Pacific

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.

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”:

Kung Fu Cowboys:
Tutu Lady:
Lovely Hula Hands:
Before and After:
Wayfinding (Part 1):
Wayfinding (Part 2):

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

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:
A Nation Rising
ACLU Hawaii report on bail in Hawai’i (2018)
Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System, OHA Report
Community Alliance on Prisons
Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission
Puʻuhonua Penpal Program

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

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

Guest speaker

Anti-racism as a spiritual practice

Description of the presentation:
Allison Mahaley explored the three pillars of spirituality with regard to being an anti-racist in the 21st Century. American white supremacist culture has left an indelible mark on each person’s identity with unconscious bias playing a huge role in our minds on a daily basis. How do we use our bodies and spirits to undo that conditioning and emerge with our minds trained on freedom and not perpetuating old models of oppression? Allison shared how being rooted in UU values provides a roadmap.

Allison is an anti-racism trainer, coach, change consultant and CEO, Red Fern, LLC.

Her current work is focused on dismantling racism, at the personal, team, organization and systemic levels. In this work, she partners with clients to understand their aims, and then crafts action-oriented learning interventions to help them connect anti-racism efforts to individual and organizational performance metrics. This work often takes the form of strategic leadership team interventions, where she works with leadership teams to identify issues, learn new skills and create plans for culture change. In other instances, this work takes the form of large-group workshops, or multi-stage learning journeys – all with the focus on individual performance to recognize and overcome bias, and then learn new skills of compassionate dialogue to create connection where currently there are divides.

Guest speaker

Helping the community of Ferguson, Missouri to heal since the death of Michael Brown, Jr. in 2014

We heard anthropologist and educator Jacquelyn A. Lewis -Harris, Ph.D. speak about her most current project in helping the community of Ferguson, Missouri to heal since the death of Michael Brown, Jr. in 2014. Since that time there have been many more deaths as well as the effects of COVID-19 on communities of color; her healing efforts are crucial.

Guest speaker

The Pōpolo Project

We listened to a presentation about The Pōpolo Project by founder and director Dr. Akiemi Glenn. A discussion followed.

Dr. Glenn holds a B.A. in linguistics from New York University and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. “Her primary interests are in how Indigenous peoples, refugees, captives, migrants, and other diasporic peoples in the Pacific and the Americas use language to construct, navigate, and politicize their identities.” She describes The Pōpolo Project as “a Hawai’i-based nonprofit organization that redefines what it means to be Black in Hawai’i and in the world through cultivating radical reconnection to ourselves, our community, our ancestors, and the land, changing what we commonly think of as Local and highlighting the vivid, complex diversity of Blackness.”