Why PointBreakPacific? A
writer’s navigator’s note…
Over the past few months, I have had the privilege to study along some of the brightest minds in the Pacific here at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Between growing up here on the Big Island and moving to the mainland at a young age, I was exposed to the vastness of the Pacific Islander community along with the clusters of PIs throughout the west coast. There is something special about the islands of Oceania. Rich with culture, diversity and community, even away from home the people have managed to thrive and adapt to western cultures while still watering their roots. Still there is so much to learn about our own islands and other islands, and there is still much to be done in the Pacific.
With Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander becoming one of the fastest growing demographics but lowest retention and highest dropout rates in the country, it is the most critical that students begin to make a decision of what kind of impact they want to make. Here at the University of Hawaii at Hilo is the country’s first Pacific Islander Student Center at a public institution. As a fellow student new to all these resources, it is so exciting to witness young men and women challenge this stigma as this next wave of change is beginning to swell.
Overall what I’ve learned is that there is so much “stuff” going on in oceania and the lives of people of the Pacific, and my hope is to amplify these stories struggles and triumphs from voices in the community. Currently the number of Pacific Islanders in the United States and in the State of Hawaii is higher than it’s ever been and there are so many questions about who these people are, where do they come from, and why have they come. In addition, there is more exposure to these communities on the larger scale in sports, media and higher education. Pacific Islander names and faces are becoming more recognizable but their struggles and battles aren’t.
For generations our stories were told to the outsiders from the perspective of those on the outside. As social scientists do their best to explicate the culture in their best capacity, the voices behind our stories and practices were told from a voice that was not ours. As much as I appreciate their desire to learn, some things cannot be taught secondhand. PointBreakPacific now my opportunity for myself and other fellow navigators to rewrite our narrative. Though most coverage will be objective, some of PointBreakPacific will be opinion posts or scripted in storytelling tone.
The “breaking point” or “breaking wave” is the invisible line where the waves reach its highest climax, becomes unstable and must crash into the shore. Oceania is in need of a wave of refreshing, and the swells of this wave are starting to take form in the lives of students and young men and women who fired with change.
This is an exciting journey, and like our forefathers before us, I have no idea where this may lead but I am trusting the winds, stars and currents to get there. Get ready for an exciting journey!
And off we go…