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Your Views for July 25

‘Hear their story’

This letter is a call to recognize the brighter side of immigration which is recently being portrayed as a negative and dark situation.

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Of course, it’s heartbreaking to hear the stories of children being separated from their parents at the U.S. and Mexico border. In response to this, I have decided to share my mother’s story, with her consent, of moving to America and being adopted, which definitely saved her life.

My mother was born in Colombia during a time of turbulence and danger. My biological grandmother was not able to raise my mother and had to give her up. From a baby to about 2 years old she lived with an older woman who could barely support herself, much less support my mother.

Of course, that did not last long, and my mother was given up to a woman who was a foster mother of five. And she again was unable to support and keep my mother.

However, my mother was extremely lucky to be able to be admitted into an adoption service that at the time probably would not meet the regulations of now. She was adopted by my grandmother, who was also an immigrant seeking refuge from World War II, and my grandfather, who was from the islands of Tonga, who traveled to Columbia and found my mother who was extremely malnourished.

She continued her journey to America at 3 years old and still went through the trials of being an immigrant in America.

My mother is an upstanding citizen and obeys the rules installed by the government. Despite how disheartening her story is, she always says how fortunate her life has been. She is the definition of a success story, and there are so many stories like hers out there.

All I can hope is that this story helps you and others recognize there are two sides to the story, and before you judge anyone, hear their story first and recognizes that they may have gone through a lot more than what is seen at first glance.

Scarlett P. Jordan

Kohala

Education priorities

Ms. Christina Kishimoto took a lot of criticism for the decisions she made regarding the pandemic school year.

Yet, there’s one thing shared in the June 29 Tribune-Herald article (“Departing Superintendent Kishimoto discusses reopening of schools in August”) that should alarm families with school-aged children: the budget cuts.

Ms. Kishimoto mentioned, “in the midst of a pandemic, the DOE had $100 million taken from kids … .” These monies were to be used to equip students with the resources and tools to succeed academically. It appears that legislators allocated no money to be used for this purpose, and the achievement gap is very telling.

As a former educator, I am concerned about the effects this pandemic school year will have on the educational sustainability and wellness of our young learners.

Not allocating funds for student achievement is a disservice to our keiki and our community. With students returning to in-person learning, the focus should be on school infrastructure, ensuring the safety and well-being of the students, and making sure the learning environment sets the student up for success.

This led me to the archives to locate articles about two Hawaii Island schools receiving the governor’s nod on funding.

May 23, 2020, “Hilo High football field in works; legislature OKs funds for turf surface, synthetic track.” The article stated, “Hawaii state Legislature passed a budget to fund the $4.5 million project … .”

May 29, 2020, “$6.3M allocated to Konawaena High for athletic site improvements.”

I’ve seen first hand some of the cockroach-infested, rust- and asbestos-laden facilities at some of our public schools. I’ve worked with families whose children are not performing at grade level.

How dare our leaders boast about the millions for athletic facilities when classrooms are in urgent need of repair and upgrades.

I advise our leaders to reassess budget priorities and do right by all Hawaii students.

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Lisa Pana

Hilo

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