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SSSP Student Voices

Peer Mentor Story

SSSP Peer Mentor Kaipo Wahinepio recently sat on a panel at Hawaiʻi Community College on November 28, 2016 in commemoration of Lā Kūʻokoʻa, or Hawaiian Independence Day. In this story, he shares what this day means to him and how he finds personal relevance to what was shared.

Photo of Kaipo Speaking at Lā Kūʻokoʻa

Today's date is November 28, 2016. Today is the 173rd anniversary of the Hawaiian Independence day, also known as Lā Kūʻokoʻa. November 28, 1843 was the official day Great Britain and France signed a joint proclamation recognizing the Hawaiian Kingdom as a sovereign nation amongst the Family of Nations. On this day, Native Hawaiians everywhere solemnly celebrate in remembrance of the great country which once stood as the pillar for Hawaiian identity. As a Native Hawaiian, an aspiring educator and historian, I was asked to speak on an education panel highlighting the different perspectives of this day. There were five members on the panel but every other panel member, by my standards, I consider heavy hitters in the Hawaiian community.

At first I felt like I did not belong there, sitting next to these older and experienced panelists. But as time went on, and I listened to everyone's manaʻo being shared, I felt more encouraged to be there giving my manaʻo. While everyone on the panel came from different backgrounds or walks of life, we all shared the same underlying message about self-determination, self-sufficiency, self-education, self-realization, and self-independence. In order for us to understand these concepts we must first know where we came from, so we know where we are going. The message I took away from this experience, is that in order to get to the point where your unconscious comes to the light of your consciousness, you must find your skills in life and consciously use it to better the lives of others and oneself. That means go out and find something you're good at. Discover your weaknesses knowing that there are others who thrive in areas you are weak in, and that you do not have to know or do everything in order to thrive. It takes many different pieces to make the whole.