The 2013 EPIP National Conference included an awards ceremony. The EPIP Unity Award, which honors the chapter that has grown the most over the past year, went to EPIP Hawai'i, recognized as a chapter at the 2012 National Conference in Los Angeles. During the awards ceremony, Kevin Chang of the EPIP Hawai'i chapter and Executive Director of the Hawai'i Community Stewardship Network, sang and played the song Hawai'i 78. The following is a series of excerpts from a letter he wrote to the EPIP staff. Mahalo nui (big thank you) for including a sense of Hawaiʻi in your conference and for the opportunity to share a song. For all you knew I was going to do my best Jerry Lewis impersonation so I appreciate the trust you had in us. Although, since Jerry Lewis was a philanthropist, too, maybe it would have gone over quite well! I wanted you to know that my EPIP Hawaiʻi Chapter friends work hard to bring people together here at home to tackle the wicked issues of our time. It was important to us to express that we are not just an island but part of a larger context and we have role to play. The phrase that makes up the song we presented –“Hawaiʻi 78 “- is for some of our community a veiled kāhea (or call) of independence, the chorus: "Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono"- our state motto: “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”- relates to a time in history when the Native Hawaiian community had regained control of their destiny. (more…)
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