This year, HawaiiSlam competed on finals stage at the National Poetry Slam for the first time ever.
Will Giles, Jenna Robinson, Travis T, Simply Tee White and Sam Skeist worked incredibly hard this summer, and it was an honor to see their work validated in this way.
We thank every single person who supported us: our slam master Kealoha Wong who made our journey possible; our mentors who introduced us to poetry; our fellow poets who we share space with to write, share and dialogue; our friends and family who come out to hear us speak; and our ancestors who gave us life and language.
As a coach, I tried to make sure that we carried the stories of Hawai‘i and the Pacific wherever we went—celebrating the people and places that have given us life and the ability to speak, using the slam platform as a means to reclaim power, reshape narratives and spur change.
While we did not win, I believe that we fulfilled our goals, and I am proud of the team. Oakland was good to us.