History of Hedonisia in Hawaii
In 2004, Mojo Mustapha started the Hedonisia Hawaii EcoFeminist Community. We created an environment where women could learn resilience in our pre-volcano rainforest community.
In 2018, the Kilauea volcano eruption destroyed the Hedonisia community 75% of the property is now covered in lava rock.
From Lava to Lotus - The Volcanic Roots of These Workshops
by Mojo Mustapha
I identify as a First Amendment Liberal. I follow the dictum of American civil rights activist Martin Luther King to not judge by "color of skin but by content of character".
MLK's powerful statement can be applied to politics and religion. As a result, despite being a liberal, atheist and the founder of a feminist-oriented community, I have friends who are nice folks with good character but are Trump-supporting conservatives.
Their political beliefs might be, in my humble opinion, "bat-shit crazy". But they were kind, decent people. I could laugh and have good-natured arguments with them. While it is debatable whether these conversations changed anyone's politics, what they did do was humanize us to each other.
If a Trump supporter was kind, humorous, generous, honest, hard-working, and had other markers of good character, I could be their friend. I would debate but never call them racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I never shut down a conversation with accusations of prejudice even though they would say some crazy stuff. I found that when working-class people are speaking honestly, they say things that are racially awkward but as long as their heart is in the right place, I am fine with that because they are being real which brings genuine connection and trust.
I meet people where they are at and as long as I feel safe. I will engage in conversation and can even be friends or good acquaintances with a person who I like but whose politics or religion I don't share. This belief ended up saving my life after the volcano eruption destroyed our community.
After the volcano destroyed the Hedonisia community. I went from being comfortably middle-class to destitute. My liberal friends gave him lots of hugs, empathy, and supportive words. Some did give crucial help but many chose to give nice words instead.
What was shocking was the life-changing help I received from my white conservative friends. They may have disliked a lot of what I stood for as a progressive Democrat. But they liked me as a person. Even with the name Mojo Mohammed Mustapha, Trump-supporting Republicans gave me crucial support that allowed me to climb out of my post-volcano funk and depression.
I cannot describe what crucial help they gave because that would identify them which is not something I think they would want. The important lesson for me was that while I had been given verbal but not material support by some people whom I thought I was close to, conservative Republicans were a crucial lifeline that helped to change my mindset from one of suicidal despair to hope. The help of these right-wingers with an ornery but kind heart shook my mental world.
It is easy to dismiss every Trump supporter as "deplorable" and demonize them as bigots. But "content of character" is shaped by culture, religion, or politics but they are not the only influences. I was made aware of this fact in the most tangible way.
Other historic events were occurring at this time which served to further divide an already bitterly divided country. The #MeToo movement, the killing of George Floyd gave birth the the Black Lives Matter movement, and the rise of Trans ideology. The effects of these societal phenomena were exacerbated during the Covid pandemic.
Coming so soon after the volcano, the pandemic was a blessing for me. I had already lost everything and now was in Portland watching America and the world falling apart. I had perspective. I would tell people, "You think armageddon is staying at home and watching TV? Try getting hit by a volcano!"
The big picture seemed increasingly bleak. The rise of fascism and war in the world, and the violently divisive politics of America, the home of liberal democracy, were all harbingers of greater societal doom on the horizon.
With such acrimonious division between the different groups on racial, sexual, and political lines, it can be quite dangerous to speak freely anymore.
America's problems are not unique. All over the world, there is division between different social, racial, and gender groups.
I used my time in the lockdown to create a communication workshop and book. My effort is to play a small part in bringing America together again.