Standing in Solidarity with Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Relatives (MMIWR)
The MANA Award was created by HIR Wellness Institute (HIRWI) Founder, CEO, and Clinical Director Lea S. Denny, to bring to light and social justice-action to the collective loss around Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Relatives (MMIWR). The HIRWI Inaugural CAM & Red Sands event began in 2017, where MMIW (Women) were collectively recognized, honored, and mourned. Among the grieved was Maile Lehua Chow, whose life was tragically lost at the young age of 24 to human trafficking. It was at the HIRWI CAM & Red Sands event that her family was given a meaningful outlet within the community to mourn and heal from their loss.
Every year since, Maile's ‘ohana (family) attends these events to come together and honor her and others’ loss to these tragedies. In November 2020, HIRWI's CEO announced and appointed Maile's ‘ohana as the inaugural recipients of the MANA Award, named in her honor: Maile's Achievement Nourishing Ambition. In Maile's Hawaiian culture, mana means- energy, strength, and power.
This unique award is for survivors of trafficking or their family members who have dreams and aspirations to carry on their loved one's legacy. At HIRWI we believe that advocacy, healing, and repair happens when we invest in the opportunities to actively work on ourselves while also caring for and serving others.
Recipients of this award will receive a scholarship to be put towards nourishing their dreams, a year of mentorship for success with one of our MANA council members and will be offered free mental health counseling and advocacy services to support their healing journey.
2021 will be the first year the MANA Award will have scholarship potential and we rely on the generosity of donations and sponsorships, 100% of the proceeds received for this award go to the MANA Award recipient to cover scholarship, gifts, and healing services at no cost to them.
The HIRWI leadership is on the Wisconsin State Task Force for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women to continue this award through multiple systems of change.
Say her name
Maile Lehua Chow was a strong, spirited and intelligent young woman. Her dreams were filled with possibilities. Like many young people, Maile had her heart set on the "American Dream" to make a difference in this world as a visual and performing artist and writer. She followed her ambitions to Las Vegas where she was manipulated and forced into trafficking. Upon her attempt to escape, her life was taken from her and her family, never returning home to be placed to rest.
What happened to Maile is all too common, and yet invisible to the mainstream society. Our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunties, and friends are taken in plain sight and never come back home. When this happens, not only is there no justice for the victim, but there is no justice for their families, and no place to grieve their loss and pain. It is time for us to come together and raise social justice action for survivors and those whose voices were forever silenced.
*Photos of Maile L. Chow courtesy of her ‘ohana
MMIP & Their Families
Full Circle Healing
Meet the Council for the MANA Award
Chair of Council
Secretary of Council
Lea S. Denny