Fellows mentioned in this story: Josie Howard, Cohort VIII
From Honolulu Star-Advertiser:
Growing up in Pearl City, Krystal Ka‘ai said she sometimes took living in Hawai‘i’s “beautifully diverse” communities for granted. That changed when she moved to the mainland and realized that her strong sense of cultural identity could better inform her work and guide her passions.
The Kamehameha Schools graduate made history in 2021 as the first Native Hawaiian appointed executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. She said she hopes to bring that same inclusivity and strong cultural identity that she grew up with to the national scale.
Ka‘ai is among at least nine people from Hawai‘i or with local ties who have been recently appointed or nominated to key federal positions, most of which seek to better support and advocate for AA and NHPI communities. Some of these appointees and other local community leaders say this is a good step in the right direction in bringing more visibility to and representation from Hawai‘i. But many also say that execution is key moving forward, pointing out that there is still a lot more work needed to continue pushing for social, economic and racial justice.
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