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Four women participate in a panel on stage. Three are listening eagerly while a fourth speaks.

A space for listening, dialogue, and expanding perspectives

From “understory”

by Craig Santos Perez
For my wife, Nālani, and our daughter, Kaikainali‘i, on her first birthday

nālani clips
kaikainali‘i’s tiny

fingernails while
she sleeps —

“the rape
of oceania

began with
guam” — soldiers

invade okinawa,
hawai‘i, the

philippines, and
south korea —

how do

[we] stop
kaikainali‘i’s body

from becoming
target practice —

bullets fragment 
and ricochet —

nālani brushes
kaikainali‘i’s hair

when she
wakes, sings

the names
of body

parts in
hawaiian language —

who will
remember the

names of
girls disappeared

from reservations
and maquiladoras

from villages
and schools

#mmiw #mmaw

nālani gathers
the clippings

because even 
[our] nails 

are ten 
percent water —

outside, mānoa
rain falls

as large
as eggs —

inside, nālani
lies on

her side
to breast-

feed kaikainali‘i
in bed —

they fall
asleep facing

each other,
still latched —

i nestle
with them

and, for
a moment,

kaikainali‘i smiles —
what does

she dream
about? her

deep breath
rises and

falls like
king tides —

her fragile
rib cage

appears and
disappears like

a coral
island crowning —

my daughter,
i know

our stories
are heavier

than stones,
but you

must carry
them with

you no
matter how

far from
home the

storms take
your canoe

because you
will always

find shelter
in our

stories, you
will always 

belong in 
our stories, 

you will 
always be 

sacred in 
our ocean 

of stories —  
hanom hanom 

—published in Poetry, July/August 2016



Writing down our private thoughts to prompts is one way of becoming more aware of our place in work or the world.

Questions for Journaling

  • At what point did you realize all was not right in the world?
  • What has been your journey to growing in political awareness?
  • Gender, Equity & Diversity story sharing: What is one instance where you confronted systemic power and moved the needle toward equity?

Listening and Action

The following exercises are intended to generate dialogue and help us learn from others, ultimately spurring action. They can be done alone or in a group.

Homework Assignments

  • Where do you see structural oppression in your environment (institutions, policies, legacies), in your relationships (interpersonal dynamics) and your agency/self-determination (internalized, individual outcomes)? And what does resistance look like in each case?
  • Examine this timeline of philanthropy, oppression and resistance.
    • How do the three timelines align with one another?
    • What would you add from your own contexts?
    • How does this impact your work, relationships and status?
    • What legacies are you aiming to influence and shift? Break? Repair? Support?

CARE’s  Strategic Impact Inquiry on Women’s Empowerment Global Research Framework (PDF) considers what is happening in communities due to the humanitarian or development operating environment. Looking back at your organizational SWOT Analysis, add any additional points that come to mind. Reflect on:

  • What areas your organization pays attention to?
  • What areas does it not give attention to?
  • What are the consequences of this?

CARE Tools


Work should be grounded in political education and study. Search sources of learning and histories from your own context.

Here are some high-level media and movement statements for additional reading and reflection.




Build Your Skills


Please help us grow this section by making suggestions. 

Explore the Toolkit

Part 1: Reflect

Learn from diverse histories to build understanding, connection, empathy, and respect. Read More

Read More

Part 3: Resist

Resist oppressive systems and practice self-accountability. Read More

Read More

Part 4: Act Bravely

Take brave actions toward transformative futures and collective liberation. Read More

Read More