Being a 5th generation American on my mom’s side of the family and 4th generation on my dad’s and born and raised in Hawaii where there is a mixture of ethnicities with no majority, I was surprised to experience discrimination in Eastern Washington when I lived there and Idaho where I frequented with my law school friends for snowboarding and events. In Idaho, on a snowboarding trip, my law school friends Paul from Hawaii (hapa: Caucasian and Japanese), Joe from Southern California (Filipino), Marx from New Orleans, Louisiana (Jewish), and I went to a venue where we weren’t served. Not quite sure if my friend Karlin (Inupiak Eskimo and Caucasian) was there since he snowboarded with us. Also, in Cour d’alene, Idaho, on 4th of July, white supremacists drove by in their 4×4 trucks and jeeps yelling bad stuff with their Confederate and Nazi flags. Our country, the United States is not doing too well on these issues with a number of very public incidents.
My late great uncle Roy Okubo, my late grandma Bessie Karamatsu’s baby brother enlisted in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 522nd Artillery during World War II to prove the loyalty of Americans of Japanese Ancestry despite the racism and mass imprisonment done by our country.
When I became a politician in Hawaii, I pushed for equal rights for all, including legislation for gay marriage for the LBGT community and support of programs for single mothers and survivors of abuse. My political career has been overshadowed by my legal bouts with driving under the influence. Thus, now, I’m directing a good portion of my energy towards writing fiction, nonfiction, poems, and creative writing, on top of my business projects and legal career. Through stories, we can touch people’s souls by reaching into their emotions. Laws can’t do this in the way storytelling can. I’m hopeful that love, compassion, and empathy will overcome anger, hate, and discrimination. Together, we’ll make this world better!