One of the unexpected joys of my new job as an assistant professor at the university of hawai’i, manoa (UHM), is engaging with the Chamoru student community here in hawai’i. they say there are around 50-60 Chamoru students at the university, some of which are a part of the UH MARIANAS CLUB.
many members of the club take Chamoru language class taught at UHM. while my schedule has not allowed me to take the class this semester, i definitely plan on attending next semester when my schedule changes.
in addition to language class, the Marianas club also conducts cultural and political activities. just two weeks ago during the APEC and anti-APEC events, the club co-sponsored and performed at the DEMILITARIZATION ROUNDTABLE that i hosted and co-organized with Brandy Nalani McDougall.
And just last thursday, the club organized and hosted a screening of the INSULAR EMPIRE: AMERICA IN THE MARIANAS and a panel discussion following the screening. they did a great job securing a venue, providing food, and facilitating the panel discussion. they also opened the event with a pledge (INIFRESI) and a chant/song (O ASAINA).
i was on the panel with TRESSA DIAZ and ANGHET HOPPE-CRUZ. it was truly inspiring to be on a panel with these amazing Chamoru women–and it was inspiring to witness the spirit, passion, and love shown by the members of the Marianas club.
i feel very confident that we will continue to support our people’s struggle for decolonization, even though we are far from our homeland. i look forward to working with the Marianas club on future cultural and political actions in hawai’i. additionally, i’m happy to feel that there is a supportive space for future Chamorus students who decide to study at UHM. Chamorus have a long history at UHM, and i honored to be a Chamoru faculty member here.