January 26, 2023

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Kris Galago, Pacific Islanders honored with Community Service Award

3 min read
Kris Galago was honored for "outstanding contribution to the community by addressing inequities in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the Asian American Pacific Islander community, and by founding the Whole Eugene Community United work group to enhance inclusion of marginalized communities."

Announcing the Community Service Award, Mayor Lucy Vinis.

[00:00:03] Mayor Lucy Vinis: Kris Galago has been a key partner of the City of Eugene, serving as a human rights commissioner. Kris helped found an HRC work group, Whole Eugene Community United—which we call WECU—which works to identify and implement strategies to enhance inclusion of marginalized communities into the larger Eugene community and to help deter or respond to hate, bias, and discrimination.

[00:00:28] She also worked to combat disparities that marginalized communities have experienced related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kris and her organization, Pacific Islanders, partnered with Lane County Public Health and various community partners to host four free vaccination clinics in 2021, and then additional three clinics in 2022.

[00:00:49] This was a tremendous help to the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community in going from the highest infection rate to the highest vaccination rate in the state. (Applause)

[00:01:07] When Kris is not actively serving our community through her human rights and social justice initiatives, she is spreading cultural and community awareness in her numerous educational roles, including as an adjunct professor for Southern Oregon University’s Ethnic and Racial Studies Department as an advisor for numerous clubs and as a community-based Hawaiian language instructor.

[00:01:28] And so in honor of her dedication to creating a stronger, healthier, and more inclusive community for everyone, I am proud to present Kris Galago this certificate of appreciation, that reads:

[00:01:39] ‘In recognition of your outstanding contribution to the community by addressing inequities in COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the Asian American Pacific Islander community, and by founding the Whole Eugene Community United work group to enhance inclusion of marginalized communities.’

[00:01:56] Thank you.

[00:02:04] Kris Galago: I would like to acknowledge and honor the fact that we are located on Kalapuya Ilihi, the traditional Indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people.

[00:02:13] In the Native Hawaiian culture, it’s difficult to accept personal accolades because we believe in the concept of aloha ʻāina, which literally translates to ‘love for the land.’

[00:02:24] But even more than that, it’s a value system. We are raised with acknowledging that we are mere stewards of the lands, that we care for each other, and that the land will care for us. It extends beyond land stewardship to kuleana, a responsibility to care for people and one another.

[00:02:43] So I humbly accept this honor on behalf of advancing our entire lāhui, our native people, for our voices to be heard and for our legacy to continue.

[00:02:55] Nothing I have done has been alone. I lean on my Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander and Asian American community for their ʻike, their knowledge, their kōkua, their support, and their aloha, their love that sustains me.

[00:03:13] Thank you to all my ʻohana family, both through blood and through love, for being my lawakua, my backbone, as we forge ahead together as one.

[00:03:28] I would like to honor you with a gift in the form of an oli or chant in the Native Hawaiian language. It speaks of gratitude. Gratitude for everything that surrounds us, the people, the space we occupy.

[00:03:46] And the gratitude for our past, such as our ancestors or kupuna who laid the path for us. Gratitude for the present, such as our fierce justice warriors, who elevate the voices of all marginalized communities and gratitude for our future, such as our keiki or our children who will one day stand in our shoes and carry forth the mission.

[00:04:09] ʻUhola ʻia ka makaloa lā. Pū ʻai ke aloha lā. Kūkaʻi ʻia ka hā loa lā. Pāwehi mai nā lehua. Mai ka hoʻokuʻi a ka hālāwai lā. Mahalo e ke akua. Mahalo e nā kūpuna lā ʻeā. Mahalo me ke aloha lā, Mahalo me ka aloha lā.

[00:04:11] Thank you, Mayor Vinis, city councilors, and the City of Eugene for this honor, which I humbly accept on behalf of the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Asian American community, with gratitude and love. Aloha. (Applause.)

[00:05:19] John Q: Hoʻomaikaʻi to Kris and all of our ʻohana who shared in this award.

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