Three Indigenous women speakers from Okinawa, Guam, and Hawai’i will be speaking in Seattle , as part of the “Oceania Rising: Peace Pivot to the Pacific” tour, to discuss the growing movements against U.S. military bases, and for a demilitarized, nuclear-free, and independent Pacific. The event will be on Thursday, February 21, 2019 at El Centro de la Raza / The Center for People of All Races (2524 16th Ave. S.) at 7-9 pm.
The effects of the U.S. military bases are environmental, social, political, cultural, and economic. The bases make up about a quarter of the islands’ most valuable land, and make the islands vulnerable to toxic and radioactive contamination, damage from test bombing, jet crashes, unexploded ordnance, desecration of burials and other Indigenous sacred sites, potential foreign attack, and high social costs such as homelessness and sexual assault.
Washington state is the location of major military bases that figure prominently in the Pentagon’s “Pivot to the Pacific” that is now redirecting U.S. military strategy from Europe to Asia, but few residents are aware of these concerns. Nor are we aware how the military presence prevents colonized Indigenous peoples from exercising their self-determination, particularly the Uchinaanchu (Okinawans) of Japanese-controlled Okinawa, the CHamoru (Chamorro) of the U.S. territory of Guåhan (Guam), and the Kanaka Maoli of Hawai’i. The three speakers are members of Women’s Voices Women Speak (WVWS), working toward a demilitarized, peaceful and nonviolent world.”
OKINAWA: Tina Grandinetti is a PhD candidate in Geography at RMIT University in Australia. In 2017, she traveled to Okinawa as a member of the WVWS delegation to the International Women’s Network Against Militarism gathering. As a biracial Uchinaanchu (Okinawan) woman who grew up in Hawaiʻi, she is interested in nourishing transnational solidarity against imperialism and towards decolonial futures. In Okinawa this week, the Japanese government is filling in a coral reef with sand to extend the new Henoko Marine base, destroying a highly biodiverse ecosystem that is home to fish, sea turtles, and dugong (manatees).
GUAM: Kisha Borja-Quichocho-Calvo is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, where Pacific Islander students have organized the Oceania Rising group. She is CHamoru from Guåhan (Guam) who has been very active in efforts to curb the military buildup there, and in cultural work and poetry.
HAWAI’I: Ruth Aloua is a Kanaka Maoli from the Kona District, Hawai’i. Her grandmother’s lineage binds her to the island Hawai'i and her grandfathers to Maui. She is a mahi'ai (farmer) for Malu 'Āina Center for Nonviolent Education and Action and a kia'i loko (fishpond guardian) for Kaloko Fishpond. Her work extends to the peaks of Mauna a Wākea (defending Mauna Kea peak from the Thirty-Meter Telescope), to the plains of Pōhakuloa (a military training area on the slopes of Mauna Kea), into the deepest depths of the ocean to the realm of Kanaloa. She is an advocate for peace and justice fostering nonviolent interaction between people, land, water, ocean and air.
The speakers will be introduced by Kyle Kajihiro, former American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) staff member, Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice board member, founder of DMZ Hawai'i / Aloha 'Aina, and PhD candidate in Geography at the University Hawai'i-Manoa.
The speakers were brought to the Pacific Northwest by The Evergreen State College in Olympia, and the regional speaking tour is also supported by Hawai'i Peace and Justice and local chapters of Veterans for Peace. Endorsements by other organizations are welcome! The “Oceania Rising: Peace Pivot to the Pacific” will be stopping at these venues:
Feb. 17-18 (Sun.-Mon.) Coupeville (Whidbey Island) & Port Townsend WA
Feb. 19 (Tues.) Olympia WA: The Evergreen State College (Purce Hall 1), 7-9 pm
Feb. 20 (Wed.) Portland OR: Peace House/Metanoia Peace Community (2116 NE 18th Ave), 7-9 pm
Feb. 21 (Thurs.) Seattle WA: El Centro de la Raza / The Center for People of All Races (2524 16th Ave. South), 7-9 pm
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