December 20, 2014
23 year-old native Hawaiian Kala Kaawa graduated from the University of Hawaii and was receiving his diploma during the winter commencement ceremony. He earned two bachelor's degrees from the School of Hawaiian Studies. He texted his Mom that he was contemplating taking his robe off to his malo when he received his diploma. Photo Credit: Lei Mahi
Kaawa told the Huffington Post's Carla Herreia he wanted to use the traditional Hawaiian malo garment to remind people "not to be ashamed of your culture, whether you are Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, etc." and to "know your roots, represent and perpetuate!
Not just for yourself, but for your family, your ancestors and the future generations of your culture.
"I was so touched by the reaction of the crowd that I stood there in complete awe for a while ... soaking in the feeling of accomplishment and pride for my culture," he told The Huffington Post.
"It felt really good to be received that way by such an enormous crowd."