I try to celebrate and uplift women every day of the year as I’ve come to believe in the brilliance and strength of women throughout history– particularly women of color, LGBTQ+ women, immigrant women, and incarcerated women who have survived through immense pain. Although I grew up surrounded and inspired by a lot of men, I see the women in my life as my sources of light and knowledge. As my understanding of what constitutes womanhood and how women have been violated and disregarded throughout history has increased over time, I value our struggles and fight so much more. I’m inspired by the best girls in my life who support, love, and encourage me every other day of the year, so why not go the extra mile this Hinamatsuri or Girls Day?
My mom is the most selfless and loving woman I know and is the first woman I value on Hinamatsuri. She puts her whole heart and mind into the children she educates and into her family, who she actively cherishes and defends no matter what (don’t worry mom, I won’t rehash your Disneyland fight here!). I’m so thankful that she’s my best friend from whom I can’t keep any secrets. My sister Megan is brilliant, determined, and hardworking (it’s super annoying and I tell her this every time we speak). While I struggled to stay afloat in the great white way of academia, Megan thrived. She also loves school (why?), running (why again?), and reading the same fiction novels over and over again, but she’s a legitimate genius so I guess she’s one of the best people I can admire. Kaiʻolu is my oldest best friend whose friendship has stood the test of time for the past 14 years and counting and is one of my most important girls on Hinamatsuri. She’s the type of friend who will ignore my text messages, but shows up for me every time that I really need her. Her strength (arm muscles), dedication, and wisdom inspire me. I knew I wanted to be friends with Mikayla from the moment we met in 2013 (she decided that a reciprocated friendship was necessary a few weeks later) when she still wore a side braid and I was four shades paler. We’ve been inseparable ever since. Whenever I need someone to spill my guts to without judgment, I know I can turn to Mik. She’s one of the bravest people I know who gives her heart and soul to the ones she loves, and that’s what I admire most about her (it also helps that we consistently say the same things at the same time). Lo has saved my life more times than I can count, and she’s one of the main reasons why I graduated from school on time. I don’t know many people who are as caring and dedicated to their family, friends, and work as Lo is. I’m eternally grateful that she’s one of my best friends and that we’ll remain family forever, no matter the distance (and that I’ll see her in two weeks!!!).
This Hinamatsuri I also want to acknowledge the women leaders, organizers, and artists that I’ve admired throughout the years, including Angela Davis, Mariame Kaba, Haunani Kay Trask, Liliʻuokalani, Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Audre Lorde, Sarah Kay, Yuri Kochiyama, Grace Lee Boggs, Fannie Lou Hamer, Assata Shakur, and Olivia Gatwood. May we all continue to lift up and empower the women and girls in our lives and around the world who make the world a better place.