Legacy of Race


As a response to recent events that led to tensions between black communities and law enforcement authorities, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has launched Humanities and the Legacy of Race and Ethnicity in the United States, a yearlong initiative of programming to foster meaningful dialogues that focus on issues that deal with racial issues that divide our communities. HCH is a proud state affiliate of the NEH and has been awarded this special initiative grant.

NEH Chairman William D. Adam states: “It’s clear to us at NEH that the humanities have much to offer the country in this time of urgent need. The humanities have the capacity to connect the present to the past and to the ways in which our history has shaped our understandings, predilections, and divisions; the humanities offer multiple avenues for the clarification and articulation of both our shared and conflicting values and principles; and the humanities demonstrate the power of stories to help us know ourselves in deeper ways and to reimagine our relationships.” Read the Chairman’s “Humanities and the Legacy of Race” memo.

Throughout 2017, the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, in partnership with community stakeholders, will conduct public programs, workshop for teachers, among other events, to explore and contemplate who we are, and how we relate to one another.

Understanding Civic Power: Immigration in Hawai‘i

Saturday, July 1, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.             
Location: Location in Honolulu
Admission: Free, ticket required
Limited to 20 people. More information and sign up here.

What is Civic PowerHow can the concept of “civic power” help us examine Hawai‘i’s immigrant history? Can it help us understand the creation of immigration laws and policies in the past, and the current challenges to them? Can it inspire innovative educational and public programs?

Join us for a free small-group, facilitated program to explore these questions and the topic of civic power and its relevance for understanding historic and contemporary immigration issues.

This program is aimed at lifelong learners, education and public program professionals, and students. Interaction between presenters and participants is encouraged.

Presenters include:

Frank Middleton
education coordinator, WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, National Park Service
Before coming to Hawai‘i in 2010, he worked at the Boston African American National Historic Site, as the community and youth program coordinator, where he focused on improving access and employment opportunities for underserved communities in the National Park Service. Frank has worked for the National Park Service for over 20 years.

Kenneth “Mitch” Mitchell
education specialist, WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, National Park Service
In addition to his work with the National Park Service, he teaches history at James Campbell High School in ‘Ewa Beach. Mitch holds a M.Ed. from Hawai‘i Pacific University.

Kelli Nakamura
assistant professor of history, Kapi‘olani Community College
Kelli’s research interests focus upon Japanese and Japanese American history and she has published articles in the Journal of World History, Amerasia, the Historian, and also the Hawaiian Journal of History. She also teaches at the Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, and History Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa focusing on gender and race during World War II. Kelli received her Ph.D. in History from UH Mānoa.

Mateo Caballero
legal director, American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i
Mateo joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i in 2016 and has been working to defend and advance the civil rights and liberties of everyone in Hawaiʻi, but particularly those of prisoners, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, the homeless, the disabled, and other disadvantaged minorities. He is admitted to practice law in Hawaiʻi, the District of Columbia, and New York. Mateo earned his degree from Harvard Law School.


Sponsoring Partners
• Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities • WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument •
• UHM Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program • The Liljestrand Foundation •
• Hawai‘i Museums Association • National Endowment for the Humanities’ Legacy of Race Initiative •

13th + Post-Screening Discussion Panel

Angela Davis in ’13th’

Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017
7:00-9:00 p.m.            
Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Museum of Art
Admission: Free
Post-screening discussion featuring: Sharla Manley, DeMont Conner, and Ciara Lacy.

On Sunday, February 12, 2017, Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities, in partnership with Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Museum of Art, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, presented a free screening of the film 13th, from director Ava DuVernay (Selma), a documentary about the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed slavery, to a full auditorium.

Following the screening was a discussion featuring guest speakers Sharla Manley, DeMont Conner, and moderator Ciara Lacy.

Sharla Manley
Litigation Director, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation
Sharla joined Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation in 2010. She works on prison litigation involving native Hawaiian traditions and customs and quiet title cases at NHLC. Currently, she has two cases pending about Saguaro Correctional Center against the Department of Public Safety and CoreCivic (formerly CCA)—one concerns Hawaiian language and one concerns native religious practices. She also represents three other prisoners in cases about accommodations for Native Hawaiian religious practices at Hālawa Correctional Facility and Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center.


DeMont Conner
An activist with experience within the prison system, and who also works with native Hawaiians in prison.

Ciara Lacy
Independent Filmmaker
Ciara Lacy is a native Hawaiian filmmaker whose interest lies in crafting films that use both strong characters and investigative journalism to challenge the creative and political status quo. Her latest documentary, OUT OF STATE, chronicles the verite experience of native Hawaiian men finding their culture while imprisoned at a private prison on the continental U.S.


(L to R) Moderator Ciara Lacy with DeMont Conner and Sharla Manley.

Discussion about “13th” documentary and national and Hawai‘i issues about incarceration.

Standing-room attendance in the Honolulu Museum of Art, Doris Duke Theatre listens to the post-screening discussion.










Museums: Race, Diversity & Institutional Change


Event Flyer

Friday, Nov. 4, 2016
5:30-7:00 p.m.
Kana‘ina Building, ‘Iolani Palace Grounds  map

What is structural racism? How does it prevent us from achieving true diversity among our staff, boards, and audiences, and in our programs?

This panel discussion is inspired by programs at previous museum conferences. At the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) annual meeting in 2015, the response was overwhelming to a session about the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. It eventually led to a regional discussion about related topics at the Western Museum Association (WMA) conference last month.

To continue the national momentum, please join us on November 4, 2016, at 5:30 p.m., to hear perspectives on structural racism and diversity from three museum professionals. Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu will report on her participation on the WMA panel, Museums & Race 2016, and share her observations from working in the local museum community; Kathy Suter will draw on her experiences at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and ideas about how the Hawai‘i Museums Association and its members may facilitate the dialogue on change; and Kippen de Alba Chu will describe efforts by AAM to provide guidance to museums for implementing structural changes. Audience participation is welcomed!

Noelle M. K. Y. Kahanu
Assistant Specialist, Public Humanities/Native Hawaiian Programs,
Department of American Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
As a Native Hawaiian writer/poet/artist/scholar with 15 years of program and exhibition experience at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Noelle remains active in the Native Hawaiian visual arts community as an artist, curator, and arts organizer. She is deeply interested in how issues of privilege and racism persist, even when diversity is seemingly achieved.

Kathy Suter
President, Hawaiʻi Museums Association
Kathy Suter retired from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2012 after 12 years of designing and producing exhibit media. She is now the President of the Hawaiʻi Museums Association and lives on the Big Island.

Kippen de Alba Chu
Executive Director, ʻIolani Palace
Kippen has been with ʻIolani Palace for 10 years. He currently serves on the board of directors for the American Alliance of Museums, Friends of Hawaiʻi Robotics, Hawaiʻi Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations, and is the immediate past president of the Western Museums Association.

Karen K. Kosasa 
Director, Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program
Associate Professor, Department of American Studies,
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Click here for information and resources about this program.


Karen Kosasa delivers introductions. (L to R) Kippen de Alba Chu, Noelle M. K. Y. Kahanu, and Kathy Suter.


Kippen de Alba Chu speaking to a packed audience.