As I write this, I feel as if I’m eulogizing a close friend. MANA was, after all, my life for nearly two years.
I’d like to say MANA will always be among the best jobs of my life, but the reality is that MANA was more a calling than a job.
Beyond a calling, MANA was a promise. Hawaiians and our allies have worked years to bring Hawaiians to media’s frontline. MANA was that culmination for me. We have too often been marginalized and lambasted by the media, and worse, here in our island home. MANA was a chance to do it right. We might make mistakes, but for the first time in a long time, we – Hawaiians – would be putting our own stories, people, ‘āina, and culture onto the written page.
MANA made me excited to read magazines again. It inspired me as a writer and editor. Above it all, it made me proud.
I’m not sure where we’ll all go from here. Our MANA ‘ohana will go our separate ways, whether we were readers, writers, editors, or artists. One thing we’ll always have is the knowledge that we were part of something so much bigger than us.
I have to believe, in the end, that owners John Aeto and Duane Kurisu didn’t name their magazine MANA so that it would fade into a distant memory once we laid the final issue to rest. MANA must live on – just in different forms.
I ask you all to think of what MANA meant to you. Was it a sense of pride? Did it quench your thirst for knowledge about Hawaiians and our community? Did it inspire you to know the people in your community? Were you moved to action? That sense. That mana. Take it with you and honor it in your own life.
You might have been a reader, writer, photographer, illustrator, editor, but you took part in that something bigger. We can be sad to see MANA go, of course. But let’s find ways to move that MANA into new forms. Go out and take pictures of your one hānau. Help your local farmer. Take a hike along a historic ‘alaloa – walk where your ancestors did. Write a story. Call your state representative. Get involved. Let MANA continue to be a part of your everyday.
And if you’re so moved, step out for Hawaiian journalism too. Support Hawaiian journalists – we’re few and far between. Hold the news media accountable. We should not only make headlines when we’re bad news. No newsroom should exist without Hawaiians in it (they exist here in Hawai‘i where Hawaiians are almost a quarter of the population). We should not be a niche market. We should be in the editor chairs, calling the shots. We should be in the field writing and photographing, sharing our stories. We as a lāhui should be telling the news media that we matter and we want to see stories that matter to us.
MANA was never just a magazine. It was a movement. Let its legacy move you, move all of us, move our lāhui, move our Hawai‘i.