Nicole: I don’t know where to begin. I guess I’ll start here… I wasn’t ready to start. I guess we never feel like we are ready, then something happens. Except this is not how I wanted it to happen. I wanted more time and guidance but here we are. I will honor you by doing my best at this new kuleana. You set me up for amazing opportunities and I am forever grateful and humbled by your giant heart and ability to see what I may not have seen in myself. A hui hou my friend ❤
Celina: Life is so precious. It passes us by so quickly and most of the time we end up wasting time. People we meet are for a reason and for a season and others become friends and stay family. In the Hawaiian way, we say we become `ohana. Ka`imi was just that to so many people.
It's been a rough last couple of weeks for me personally after hearing about the passing of my friend, director and mentor of one of the studies I had the opportunity to coordinate-Native Strong Men Strong Communities. I am so grateful for the times I got to spend with Ka`imi, learn from her, dream with her, laugh…and laugh and laugh with her and talk story.
I look forward to her visions continuing to be brought forward through me, Pee, Nicole and the HHAPI team and those closest to her. She made a beautiful impact on so many people especially native men in the last three years. So many times, after sharing progress, videos and pictures of the Strong Men project and participants, she shared tears of joy - she was so proud!
I can't put into words right now the love and impact Ka`imi has had and will live on through so many of us. I will continue to honor Ka`imi, her family and her life's work in a good way. A hui hou (until we meet again) Alohilani!
Marla: Ka`imi and I shared the same middle name, Alohilani (brightness of the heavens/heavenly skies). She was truly a ray of sunshine. I felt honored to work for her and the HHAPI program. I never thought I could work from Seattle and teach/impact the health and lives of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders across the nation, but her vision made that possible! She created a culture of gratitude in the workplace, like I’ve never seen before. She was thankful for us and she said it all the time! In return, we were grateful to be a part of her team, too. She made a huge imprint on me as a leader, mentor and friend. She created such a beautiful life tapestry; her legacy. She is mana wahine, and we will continue to carry out her torch and vision, as we continue the work she was so passionate about.
Sukhneet: I had only known Ka'imi for a short time, but I am grateful for the times I did get to know her. I will remember the time we were on shift together at the Seafair powwow; she was an overwhelmingly impressive person, bringing her sunny personality to every table and creating connections with the community with ease. While we waited for the event to get started, we got to learn a little bit about each other. We learned that we both love shopping (one can never have too many mugs, and we both wanted bucket hats because they were in style), that my favorite treat is a donut (we laughed as I didn't know what to do about my sticky, jelly and powdered sugar-covered hands), and that she loved turquoise jewelry (solid choice, and one that reflected her colorful persona). Now, turquoise jewelry will make me think of Ka'imi and her hardworking and bright spirit, characteristics of hers that I admired the most, and that I will always try to embody.