THE Guam Humanities Council (GHC) last week announced the recent publication of “A Pacific Collection – Readings for Civic Reflection.”
The book features 20 literary pieces from Chamorro and Pacific Islands writers. Those pieces were used in the Council’s project, entitled “‘8,000, How Will It Change Our Lives?’ Community Conversations on the US Military Buildup in Guam.”
The project, which began nearly three years ago with partial funding support from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ We The People (WTP) Initiative, engaged in a “civic reflection” model to explore the impact of the relocation of military personnel and their families to Guam in 2014.
According to GHC, the “civic reflection” model was selected to convene community conversations with diverse groups of residents in a variety of settings around the island. Civic reflection is an innovative approach that has been successfully implemented by humanities councils across the country to engage citizens in discussions of important issues affecting civic life.
“Through civic reflection, individuals are invited to step into a hospitable space where they may critically think and talk about the values and choices we make while living together as a community,” stated GHC in a news release.
“The Pacific-focused poems and essays played an important role in the success of the project by providing the voices essential for civic reflection in Pacific Islands communities,” GHC added.
The contributing writers include Brandy Nalani McDougall (Hawaii), Barry Lopez (Hawaii), Craig Santos Perez (Guam), Jay Baza Pascua (Guam), Christine Taitano DeLisle (Guam), Emelihter Kihleng (Pohnpei), Ruperake Petaia (Samoa), Charissa Aguon (Guam), Teresia Teaiwa (Kiribati), and CT Perez Cruz (Guam).
Throughout the project, the Council convened 142 conversations with an encompassing range of Guam residents which include college and GED students, the Dededo and Tamuning municipal planning councils, artists, active and retired military personnel, activists, civilian military contractors, legislative staff, community leaders and university professors in 48 venues across the island.
Complimentary books will be donated to the island’s public and school libraries.
The Guam Humanities Council is a non-profit organization that provides foundational support and educational programs for the people of Guam. The mission of the Guam Humanities Council is to foster community engagement and dialogue, inspire critical thinking, celebrate diversity and enrich the quality of life of island residents through the power of the humanities.