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UH Mānoa:
A Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
Campus Center

Loaʻa ke ola i Hālau-a-ola.

Vision statement

ʻŌlelo Nuʻukia

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa TRHT Campus Center envisions a Hawai‘i in which each individual, family, and community can recognize their collective and interdependent kuleana – irrespective of race – to aloha one another and the ‘āina throughout Hawai‘i.

Join us at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa to achieve our vision. 

How? Through Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) grounded in Hawaiian knowledge and led by the Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office. 

Please share your feedback with us regarding this and other pages on our website using our NHPoL Feedback Form.

 Learn about the foundational elements

Engage with the Hawai‘i-grown approach

About Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation

TRHT is a comprehensive, national and community-based process for transformational and sustainable change aimed at addressing the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

TRHT Framework with focus areas. On the top is narrative change and racial healing and relationship building. Below that are the five pillars of separation, law, and the economy.

TRHT Framework

TRHT focuses on the ultimate goal of jettisoning a belief in the false hierarchy of human value. This TRHT framework has been created by hundreds of leaders, scholars, and organizations to guide our work. According to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, “The TRHT Framework consists of five areas, and the first two: Narrative Change and Racial Healing and Relationship Building, are foundational pillars for all TRHT work. And, the remaining three areas are Separation, the Law and Economy.”

Please visit the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s TRHT site for more information.

Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center logo with a blue and yellow figure representing people touching hands and creating a heart

TRHT Logo

“The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is partnering with higher education institutions to develop Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers to “prepare the next generation of strategic leaders and thinkers to break down racial hierarchies and dismantle the belief in the hierarchy of human value.”            – AAC&U Website

Every TRHT Campus Center was selected through a competitive process because of the potential and commitment they demonstrate in jettisoning racism.

UH Mānoa is one of 25 TRHT Campus Centers and was a member of the first cohort of 10 institutions selected to lead this work. The TRHT Campus Centers and their available websites include:

To learn more about TRHT Campus Centers, watch this video and visit the AAC&U website. 

People sitting on chairs in a circle

UHM Racial Healing Circle

AAC&U describes Rx Racial Healing Circles, “As the centerpiece of the TRHT Framework … meant to ground the various elements of the TRHT methodology in a compassionate and expansive forum for sharing personal truth to help begin the process of transforming hearts and minds.”

Currently, UH Mānoa has six members of its lead TRHT design team who have been trained as racial healing circle facilitators and together have convened over two dozen circles in the past three years. Our goal is to exponentially grow the number of facilitators at UH Mānoa and across Hawai‘i.

Please visit the Rx Racial Healing Circle page for more information.

There are many kūpuna and mākua – more than we know – who have contributed to and lead in this TRHT Campus Center kuleana. We want to highlight four of them who continue to guide us:

Headshot of Dr. Gail Christopher

Dr. Gail C. Christopher

Dr. Gail Christopher is considered one of the founders of the TRHT movement and Rx Racial Healing Circles. She is a beacon of light for all the TRHT Campus Centers.

Headshot of Dr. Tia Brown McNair

Dr. Tia Brown McNair

Dr. Tia Brown McNair is the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers at AAC&U. She is a fierce leader of this TRHT Campus Center work.

Headshot of Dr. Lynn Pasquerella

Dr. Lynn Pasquerella

Dr. Lynn Pasquerella is the President of AAC&U. She is a committed leader of this TRHT Campus Center work.

Mee Moua

Mee Moua

Mee Moua is one of the lead Rx Racial Healing Circle facilitators and has been an amazing leader training circle facilitators for TRHT Campus Centers.

Watch Drs. Christopher, McNair, and Pasquerella at the 2020 TRHT Summer Institute hosted by AAC&U. Please visit the 2020 TRHT Summer Institute’s plenary page to view their discussion.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee proposed, “The purpose of the Commission is to properly acknowledge, memorialize, and be a catalyst for progress toward jettisoning the belief in a hierarchy of human value based on race, embracing our common humanity, and permanently eliminating persistent racial inequities.” Please visit Congresswoman Lee’s webpage for more information.

UH Mānoa's TRHT Campus Center

UH Manoa TRHT log with green kalo and the words #TRHT aloha ‘āina UHM

UHM TRHT Logo

Perhaps more than ever before, we are learning and witnessing – both through the pandemic and all of our climate challenges – the ways we need to learn to take care of one another and our island earth. In Hawaiʻi, we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and global warming; sea-level rise, catastrophic storms, rain bombs, and landslides to name a few. Thus, our natural environments – ancestors to the Native Hawaiian people – are calling out to all of us to abandon structures and practices built from racism so that we can collectively work towards aloha ‘āina: taking care of one another and our island home. 

In 2017, a diverse group of students, staff, faculty, and executive leaders from UH Mānoa collaborated on applying for the TRHT Campus Center designation. UH Mānoa was ultimately selected as one of 10 inaugural colleges and universities to be named as a TRHT Campus Center because of the potential and commitment we demonstrated in jettisoning racism and creating healed and transformed futures. 

Two guiding questions in the application were:

  1. What will your community look like when racism has been jettisoned?
  2. How will you create a positive narrative about race?

Given UH Mānoa’s commitment to becoming a Native Hawaiian place of learning and recognizing all that we can learn from Native Hawaiian culture, we grounded our TRHT response in Indigenous Hawai‘i. This is demonstrated in the vision we put forth:

“The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa TRHT Campus Center envisions a Hawai‘i in which each individual, family, and community can recognize and live into their collective and interdependent kuleana – irrespective of race – to aloha one another and all the ‘āina throughout Hawai‘i.”

We utilize the TRHT construct to frame our vision:

Some Truths 

People gathered with Hawaiian flags to protest the arrests of elders atop Maunakea

Kia‘i gathered at Bachman Hall

  • In Hawai‘i we recognize that due to generations of racism, settler colonialism and hegemony, we – both Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians – all require healing. There have been major interruptions in the knowledge systems that guide our kuleana to one another and Hawai‘i, the place that nourishes us with fresh water, fertile soil, clean air, and rich foods, no matter what race or ethnicity we are. Many of us have also been disconnected from our respective homelands around the world.
  • Since its creation in 1907, the University of Hawaiʻi has largely reinforced racial hierarchy and American racial politics. This has resulted in different manifestations of racial inequalities and inequitable distribution of resources at our university that ultimately affect all of Hawai‘i’s communities.
  • In Hawaiʻi, we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and global warming. Thus, our natural environments – ancestors to the Native Hawaiian people – are calling out to all of us to abandon structures and practices built from racism so that we can collectively work towards aloha ‘āina.
  • Hawai‘i has a long history of living with purpose, creativity, intelligence, compassion, awareness, observation, trial and error, and sustainability in teaching, research and service in ways that were in partnership with the physical, natural, social and political world. At the core of this has been and always will be ‘ohana, aloha, and pono.

Racial Healing

People standing in a circle connected by string to visually see connections

Piko Activity (Originally taught by Dr. Noe Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua)

Kuleana does not originate with race. Rather, kuleana emerges from knowing our mo‘okū‘auhau connections to both humans and non-humans and invites us to celebrate and take guidance from the many genealogical lineages, stories, and experiences that shape us and remind us of the reciprocation and interdependence required for sustaining life. This process of reconnection can begin to heal the disconnections caused by racism. 

Transformation

People passing buckets together at a taro patch

Summer 2019 TRHT cohort learns to work together in ‘āina

We build on Hawaiian knowledge, cosmology, worldviews and experience that recognize that ‘āina is not merely land. Instead, we see “‘āina as source, ‘āina as people, and ‘āina as ongoing connection and care” (Vaughan, 2016). Hence, our aloha ‘āina work is about: 

  • Intimately knowing our sources – the spiritual and physical manifestations, food sources, water sources, and other natural resources throughout our environments.
  • Recognizing Native Hawaiians who have intimate and ancestral knowledge of caring and living in harmony with Hawai‘i, and caring for them so that they can continue to teach us and help us realize how we can each contribute to this greater cause.
  • Learning and making sense of the best practices of ongoing connection and care for those sources and people and elevating those practices so that we can continue to live and thrive in Hawai‘i now and into the future. 

By engaging truthfully, we re-examine and re-articulate the role race and racism have played in intergenerational trauma. We empower ourselves to self-reflect on a living, breathing, and growing narrative that illuminates who we are and how we can best work together to heal and move forward based on a set of core concepts and practices that are ancestral to Hawai‘i. 

Thus, we can transform to become fearless leaders in our aloha for ourselves, each other, and our natural and spiritual worlds to ensure the vitality of Hawai‘i for generations to come. 

In our initial three-year action plan the UHM TRHT advisory group decided to create a curriculum to test a process that we believed would support narrative change and relationship building, two of the TRHT framework foundational elements. These areas, we felt, were big gaps on our campus and in our communities. 

Building the curriculum

Our cohort experiences focus on:

A‘o: Learning from one another’s personal truths as well as collectively engaging in systemic truths 
Alu: Connecting with one another and finding our common humanity
‘Auamo: Engaging our individual and collective kuleana to reach our TRHT vision

Our cohorts

We have convened four cohorts between 2018-2020:

2018:

After committing to the creation of a curriculum and process that would support narrative change and relationship building, we piloted that curriculum with our original advisory board and other guests in spring 2018. This pilot cohort included UH Mānoa students, staff, faculty, executive administrators, and community members. We convened the 12-week program at Waiwai Collective.

We learned an immense amount during this pilot. We evaluated, re-designed, and planned for the next cohort. 

2019:

TRHT Student Cohort. Three rows of people in a group.

TRHT Student & Community Cohort

In spring 2019 we welcomed a UH Mānoa student and community cohort. We again partnered with Waiwai Collective for this 12-week program. The insights from UH Mānoa undergraduate and graduate students as well as community members were remarkable. We learned a lot about the process, curricular content, and facilitation. We took all those experiences and evaluated, re-designed, and planned for the next cohort. 

TRHT summer 2019 staff and faculty cohort. Three rows of people stand in a group.

TRHT Staff, Faculty, & Community Cohort

In summer 2019 we welcomed a UH Mānoa staff, faculty, and community cohort. Recognizing the unique needs of staff and faculty, we re-designed the curriculum for a one-week intensive program. We utilized space on campus, at Lyon Arboretum, and at Waiwai Collective for this programming. 

TRHT executive leadership and community cohort standing together at the oceanfront at Punalu‘u.

TRHT Executive Leadership and Community Cohort

In fall 2019 we welcomed a UH Mānoa executive leadership and community cohort. Recognizing the incredibly busy schedules this group has to manage, we re-designed the curriculum into a nine-week hybrid experience, including seven weeks of asynchronous online modules and a 2.5-day residential retreat.

In fall 2019 we also started a monthly gathering to re-connect participants across cohorts and to continue to explore the ‘isms’ as well as Hawaiian concepts as they are showing up in our personal and professional lives. This programming continues through the pandemic in an adjusted online format.

2020:

In summer 2020, we invited participants from all four cohorts to join our TRHT Summer 2020 Summit. At this summit we re-connected, evaluated, and explored important areas for growth and expansion for our next 3-year plan.

Our next steps are also informed by findings from our longitudinal study led by Dr. Monica Stitt-Bergh and graduate research assistants Ha Nguyen and Adrian Alarilla. Click here to view the presentation on their findings

We have learned an immense amount over the last three years about what our campus and community needs from and can offer to the TRHT movement. A few high-level take-aways include:

  • Racial Healing Circles are incredibly important. We need processes that can bring us together and help us recognize our common humanity. This is the pre-work for deeper engagement.
  • Hawaiian knowledge and ‘āina are healing. While race and racism have disconnected us from our kuleana to one another and ‘āina, learning from Hawaiian knowledge and being in and with ‘āina can help to heal those disconnects and  help us to re-discover our kuleana.
  • Hawai‘i is complex. There are many facets of Hawai‘i’s history, communities, and people. Racism and settler colonialism have definitely complicated things. We have much to uncover and share with one another in order to understand where we are, how we got here, and where we want to go as an island community.

Based on what we have learned, our next steps include:

  • Preparing Racial Healing Circle facilitators. We are working on plans to bring facilitator preparation workshops to UH Mānoa and Hawai‘i’s communities. 
  • Creating stellar online learning resources. We are working to bring stellar online resources that engage UH Mānoa and Hawai‘i’s communities in the TRHT Framework as well as the TRHT concepts we focus on in our Hawai‘i-grown approach.  This will also make online cohorts more possible in the future.
  • Investigating Hawai‘i’s complex story. We are applying for funding to partner across both public and private sectors in Hawai‘i to launch a pae ‘āina-wide investigation and exploration of Hawai‘i’s stories, especially as it relates to racism and settler colonialism.

The work of UH Mānoa’s lead design team is to increase the capacity for our campus and communities to engage in this work for the long haul. After all, ending racism is a marathon, not a sprint.

With that said, we recognize that there is an urgency for action and change on individual, group, organizational, and systemic levels. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for steps you can take right now:

A group of students watching a video and learning together.

Spring 2019 TRHT students watching video together

A‘o: Let’s teach and learn from one another.

  • Visit our A‘o Page and begin to learn more about Mānoa and Hawai‘i. If this material is already familiar to you, plan ways you can share with others in ways that make space for truth sharing, healing of relationships, and taking care of ‘āina.
  • Check out the TRHT resources below and read/watch something in an area you are less familiar with so that you can expand the breadth and depth of your knowledge in the intersecting areas of racism, settler colonialism, kuleana, and aloha ‘āina. You might ask yourself:
    • How do these intersecting areas shape my life?
    • How can I utilize these intersecting areas in my social justice work?
  • Learn more about the TRHT work happening across the US continent at the links below:
A group of people finding their connections through a string activity

Spring 2019 TRHT participants discover their kuleana to one another

Alu. Let’s connect & collaborate.

  • Reach out to others who are interested in TRHT and start a conversation.
  • Connect with UHM’s TRHT design team at trht@hawaii.edu.
  • Share your TRHT-related resources with us via our Resources Form
  • Reach out to colleagues from other TRHT Campus Centers (listed above).
A group joyfully doing work together

Summer 2020 TRHT participants find joy in their work together

‘Auamo. Let’s get to work.

UH Mānoa TRHT Resources

UHM TRHT Publications:

Reconnecting to Mother Earth:

Complex histories and intersections between racism, climate justice & social justice:

UH Mānoa TRHT Media

TRHT in the News

Mānoa TRHT Punaluʻu Cohort
Michele Tom and Beverly McCreary as part of the executive leadership and community cohort

Ending racism is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. And the work to share and learn truths, create spaces of healing in which we can all recognize our common humanity and our interconnectedness, and transform spaces using our radical imagination as well as the intelligence of our ancestors is not easy.

Kaiwipuni Lipe, UH News  – 7/14/2020

Black Lives Matters Protest Sign
Leaders from across the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi affirmed their support for the mass public demonstrations and the Black Lives Matter movement here in Hawaiʻi and beyond, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

Our diverse group collectively believes that the intersectionality of oppression, racism and violence experienced by our communities in Hawaiʻi, throughout the U.S., and across the world must end.

TRHT Team – 6/10/2020

 

Assistant Professor Keith Cross of the College of Education and Interim Mānoa Chancellor David Lassner share stories at the launch of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation.
Assistant Professor Keith Cross of the College of Education and President David Lassner share stories at the launch of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center

TRHT is a comprehensive national and community-based process for transformational and sustainable change, with the goal of addressing historic and contemporary effects of racism.

UH News – 11/27/18

Video & Podcast Gallery

American Association of Colleges and Universities presents an introduction to TRHT Racial Healing Circles (2022). 

An introduction to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa as a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center: Connecting racism, the climate crisis, and indigenous knowledge. Featuring Sonya Zabala, MA, and Drs. Kaiwipuni Lipe, Monica Stitt-Bergh, & Siobhán Ní Dhonacha (2021). 

Beautiful Emergence Podcast: “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation for Island Earth” w/ Dr. Kaiwipuni Lipe

This conversation between Dr. Kaiwipuni Lipe and Matthew Kamakani Lynch explores the origins of the “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation” collaboration between the UH Mānoa’s Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office and the UH Office of Sustainability.

 

Episode 4 of The Bravethrough Series podcast with Dr. Maya Soetero-Ng featuring guest Dr. Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Punihei Lipe.

Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng is a peace educator and professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is also the co-founder of three nonprofits: Ceeds of Peace, The Institute for Climate and Peace, and Peace Studio. The Bravethrough Series brings Maya to the table with change-makers and influencers from the front lines of our communities. Listen to learn new strategies, revisit out assumptions, and challenge ourselves to take action in brave new ways. In this episode she is in conversation with Dr. Kaiwipuni Lipe, UH Mānoa’s Native Hawaiian Affairs Program Officer and TRHT Campus Center director. 

The fourth webinar in the American Public Health Association’s Advancing Racial Equity series covered racial healing as essential for dismantling racism and advancing racial equity. Featuring Dr. Gail Christopher with UH Mānoa’s Drs. Mapuana Antonio and Kaiwipuni Lipe (2020).

University of Southern California holds its esteemed 42nd annual Pullias lecture, “Advancing Racial Equity Through TRHT Campus Centers” with keynote speakers Drs. Tia McNair and Kaiwipuni Lipe (2020).

In this video, the TRHT Campus Center intention and framework is introduced and the first 10 TRHT Campus Centers (including UH Mānoa) describe their work (2018).

Photo Gallery

Design Team Biographies

Mai kāpae ke aʻo a ka makua, aia he ola ma laila.

For inquiries regarding TRHT please email trht@hawaii.edu.

Headshot of Jennifer Darrah-Okike

“TRHT is important to me because I care deeply about justice and equity. I love Hawai‘i and want to be a better steward of our ʻāina and communities. I cherish our ever-growing TRHT community and how we are committed to learning and aspiring together.” 

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Trained Racial Healing Circle facilitator; Content lead in race, racism, and settler colonialism
  • Affiliation: Sociology, UH Mānoa
  • TitleAssistant Professor

Headshot of Zelda Keller

“TRHT is important to me because this work creates and holds enabling spaces for community to come together and build futures where our children will thrive.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Fall 2019 TRHT cohort participant
  • Affiliation: The Institute for Climate and Peace
  • Title: Executive Director

Photo of Dr. Punihei Lipe

“TRHT is important to me because it gives me a tangible pathway towards a future I want for my children and grandchildren.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Director; Trained Racial Healing Circle Facilitator
  • Affiliation: Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office, UH Mānoa
  • Title: Native Hawaiian Affairs Program Officer

Headshot of Creighton Litton

“TRHT is important to me because it provides a concrete roadmap to a near future where our campus community, from all corners of the globe, can address the “isms” that divide us by binding us together under a Hawaiian lens, and in so doing allows us to take meaningful steps towards meeting our mission to become a Hawaiian Place of Learning for everyone.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Summer 2019 TRHT cohort participant
  • Affiliation: Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management / Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, UH Mānoa
  • Title: Professor / Director

Headshot of Matthew Lynch

“TRHT is important to me because it has taught me how to listen deeply to other’s stories – which helps me to better understand the unhealthy systems we are entangled in that our complex histories reveal – so that I can find my common humanity in others, and begin to heal the ancestral traumas that I have carried with me.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Trained Racial Healing Circle facilitator; Content lead on the complexities of sustainability
  • Affiliation: Office of Sustainability, UH System 
  • Title: Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Headshot of Megumi Makino-Kanehiro

“TRHT is important to me because it is a transformative initiative that improves our world.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member
  • Affiliation: Mānoa Advising Center
  • Title: Director

Headshot of Charmaine Mangram

“TRHT is important to me because TRHT national and TRHT Hawaiʻi provides me with strategies and tools to actively fight against the negative forces (all the -isms) that work to disconnect me from other beings and the land.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member
  • Affiliation: Mangram Financial Services
  • Title: Financial Consultant 

Headshot of Eileen Nalley

“TRHT is important to me because healing our communities and our planet is the most important work in the world!” 

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Spring 2019 TRHT cohort participant
  • Affiliation: Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, UH Mānoa
  • Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Headshot of Siobhán Ní Dhonacha

“TRHT is important to me because TRHT has so kindly provided tools to experience a profound reconnection with my own culture, to be part of a movement to jettison racism and re-center love and care, and is a profoundly generous opportunity to be a student of the Hawaiian Worldview, pathway, wisdom, and culture in direct relationship to kuleana, Hawai‘i, our community ‘ohana, and the ‘Āina.” 

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Summer 2019 TRHT cohort participant
  • Affiliation: Honors Program, UH Mānoa
  • Title: Faculty Specialist

Headshot of Katey Peck

“TRHT is important to me because it has enabled me to understand and embrace my kuleana to Hawaiʻi as a military-connected settler.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Spring 2019 TRHT cohort participant
  • Affiliation: Alumni, Office of Public Health Studies, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, UH Mānoa; Population Council
  • Title: Research Impact Specialist

Headshot of Makana Reilly

“TRHT is important to me because it continues to ground me in a space of reciprocity, equality, and kuleana.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Trained Racial Healing Circle Facilitator; Content lead in aloha ‘āina; Spring 2019 TRHT cohort participant
  • Affiliation: Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
  • Title: Director of ʻĀina Connection

Headshot of Monica Stitt Bergh

“TRHT is important to me because our understanding about where we live, how we can support each other, and how we might live sustainably can be complete only when it’s grounded in indigenous knowledge and when we are truthful about the past, present, and future.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Trained Racial Healing Circle facilitator; Lead for evaluation and assessment
  • Affiliation: Assessment and Curriculum Support Center, UH Mānoa
  • Title: Faculty Specialist

Photo of Sonya Zabala

“TRHT is important to me because it helps connect people to place by turning to the wisdom of Native Hawaiians and indigenous knowledge systems.”

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member; Trained Racial Healing Circle facilitator; Spring 2018 TRHT cohort participant
  • Affiliation: Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office, UH Mānoa
  • Title: Operations Coordinator
Photo of Pua Souza

 

“TRHT is important to me because it provides one more path we can take to move out of the unsustainable systems and structures we live and work in every day. “

  • TRHT Kuleana: Design team member
  • Affiliation: Curriculum Studies
  • Title: PhD Student

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