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Film recognizes Hawaiians

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Maydeen Merino
Staff Writer

The Pomona College Asian American Resources Center presented a screening of “Out of State,” a documentary directed and produced by Ciara Lacy.

The night included a panel after the viewing on April 25 at Pomona College. 

Around 20 people attended the event that was hosted by the Pacific Islander Empowerment Committee of Pomona College.

“We aim to highlight Pacific Islanders issues through our programming on campus, to educate issues about Pacific Islanders or to support Pacific Islanders in higher ed spaces,” Alison Choi, committee member said. “Within Asian American and Pacific Islanders this umbrella term, Pacific Islanders is usually put to the side, there is more focus on Asian Americans in terms of organizing and we specifically focus on them because of that absence.” 

The documentary follows two native Hawaiian men, David Kahalewi and Gerano Hale, who were incarcerated and sent to Arizona for their sentencing due to overcrowding in Hawaii. 

While the two are in prison, they learn about their own culture for the first time.

“I think it would be important for other people to watch this film because it sheds light on people feeling displaced and I don’t think anyone wants to learn about their own culture in prison,” Claire Bold, sophomore landscape architecture major at Cal Poly Pomona, said. 

The film shows what life in prison looks like, as well as the difficulties of restarting life once released. 

The film is something that deserves a lot of attention and discussion because of its important content said Taula Tupua, Claremont School of Theology graduate student.

After the screening, a question-and-answer session was held with Lacy and Hawaiian native Kehalaulani Vaughn, a former Pomona College professor. 

“This sort of thing doesn’t get talked about a lot and one movie showing is great, but opening a little bit of a discussion is definitely a benefit,” Donau Taber, committee member said.

Lacy received many questions that included the current status of the subjects, as well as her reasons for creating the film. 

“To not do the film is a disservice,” Lacy said. 

Lacy, being Hawaiian, said she felt the responsibility on behalf of her people to create the film as a way to acknowledge the invisible community of native Hawaiians. 

Maydeen Merino can be reached at maydeen.merino@laverne.edu. 

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