I was asked to talk on the last day of an Ed.D program cohort II at UH Mānoa. I graduated with cohort I so sometimes they invite a few of us back to talk about something. They wanted to know what we did after we graduated, how we changed jobs and what advice we had. I am always the one that doesn't really answer the question, but they ask anyway, so I wrote this poem. I think in poetry form and Linda Tuhiwai Smith did a keynote by reciting a poem using the Green Eggs and Ham structure so if she can do it, then that gives me permission.
Here is what I'm sharing today:
What an Ed.D can and cannot do for you
One View, One Story
I still come from the
mud flats of Kaunakakai
the Kūkalahale rains of Mānoa.
The ashes and bones of my kūpuna still travel the watery
Lahaina Roads in the middle of the ʻAuʻau Channel.
My Ed.D does not erase that.
I still come from
colonization and isolation,
desks lined up in rigid rows,
concrete and tile
separating my toes from the embrace of grass and mud.
I still come from ripped apart
ʻōlelo kanaka beaten out like fine kapa.
My Ed.D does not heal that.
I still come from quiet nods of feigned/faked understanding,
and scattershot analyses
on worlds and metaphors that are alien to my
multi-cultural self identification,
unconnected to the ʻike that I choose to carry.
My Ed.D does not provide the Rosetta Stone solution to my "other"ness
I am disobedience and non-acceptance.
I teach from catharsis and awakening,
putting on the back shelf canonical, dead white men
in favor of living brown, yellow, red, black women.
I teach from authentic voice and multiple perspectives.
I teach with "love and rage,
without which there is no hope."
My Ed.D allows me to teach others to do the same.
I come from ancestral memories
that fuse what is disconnected inside of me
I come from kūpuna who guide me
through the soft winds that push me forward,
gentle rains that wash away my doubts
the smell of the familiar in unfamiliar places
the pueo, the iwa, the honu that check in
when I think I am floundering.
My Ed.D gives me the permission to surrender
and leap blind.
I now come from a group of educators
who stepped forward together
creating a web of connections
a collective journey
to "free ourselves before we can free others."
This program created enough tension
so that those of us who are the marginalized,
"other" created a hui
out of survivance,
what Vizenor calls the active presence
and continuance of native moʻolelo as
renunciation of dominance, tragedy, victimry.
This program allowed us to be self-named
as mana wahine,
allowed us to mark our attendance
from the list of absentees,
say our names,
imagine its significance,
capture its history,
embrace its connectedness to wider events
and circumstances. . .
Our Ed.D has allowed us to show up
in institutions that have
historically shut us out
with our mana unapologetically on display
and more importantly, it has allowed us
to leave the door open.