Kaitlin Kamalei Brandon, 20’s
Current Role: Kindergarten Teacher, Director and Founder of Colorful Pages
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
Biracial - Native Hawaiian and White
Tell us about your family story.
I was born on the Big Island of Hawai’i and a lot of my ohana are still on the islands. My mom and dad moved us to the Mainland to try to get more educational opportunities for my brother and me.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Hawaiian & Biracial?
The strengths are the absolute BEAUTY of our cultures and identities! Also, I love my community and the sense of collectivism. The challenges of course are the systemic and interpersonal racism that we constantly face as Native Hawaiians and people of color.
Native Hawaiian students are constantly facing disproportionate discipline, lower Kindergarten Readiness, and bigger opportunity gaps. Because of our small population (outside of Hawaii), we do not have access to the resources and opportunities we need to counter racism. We also face extreme culture and language erasure due to the colonization of our lands.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment (besides what I do in my classroom with my kiddos every day) is Colorful Pages. Colorful Pages is an organization that aims to ensure colorful pages for students by supporting educators, families, and librarians in using multicultural literature, diverse books featuring characters of color. It has been so awesome to help educators and the community through this work!
Reflecting on how you grew up, what did you learn or appreciate from your family?
My ohana and I are extremely close. I learned to believe in myself and the importance of education (My Papa’s last wish for me was to go through school and go to college). I also learned to be proud of our culture and stand up against injustice.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
Unfortunately I do not. I have tried to learn but it is so hard on the Mainland where there are so few speakers of the olelo.
What advice do you have for the younger generations in our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community?
You can do it! There are going to be people and society telling you that you can’t due to racism, but you can! We can make change for our communities.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
It is definitely a tie between my ohana/friends, my husband, and my work with diverse books, students, and Ethnic Studies.
Are there any projects you have created that you'd like to share and promote?
My work with Colorful Pages (Links are listed above).
If you would like to share your voice as a person of color, please read the directions and fill out this form here. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome. Thank you!
Who are we?
Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander voices in our communities.
This is a section for AAPI specifically because, coming from our Khmer culture, we often feel invisible in various spaces from school to the media.
We want to show the ways in which we are the same and different, and that all of our backgrounds and experiences are valuable to learn and celebrate. Let's uplift each other!
Want to share your voice?
To be featured, read the directions and fill out this form. All ages, backgrounds, and generations welcome.
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Danielle Bopha Khleang
Emma S. Buchanan
Firda Amalia Herryanddhy
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Justin Cardona (JCool)
Kaitlin Kamalei Brandon
Krystal M. Chuon
Lina (Spring Roll Fever)
Mei Mei Long
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Note K. Suwanchote
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