Josiah Josef Keoni Quon Rodriguez, or Keoni as most call him, is the firstborn son of John Carlo Ube Rodriguez from Antipolo City, Philippines and Laryna Beatrice Kam On Palama from Kaimuki, O’ahu. He belongs to the Ube and Rodriguez families of the Rizal Province in the Philippines and the Palama and Kainoa families of Hawai’i, Kaua’i, and Maui. He was born and raised on occupied Kumeyaay land (San Diego, CA) and currently resides on occupied Ohlone land. Keoni is deeply committed to the empowerment and liberation of the Hawaiian and Filipino communities, both at home and in the diaspora.
As a student activist, community organizer, and storyteller, Keoni is deeply invested in the concept of education as a vehicle for the empowerment of marginalized communities. Growing up, he quickly became aware of his identity as both a Filipino and a Hawaiian and desired to fill in the holes where the Western curriculum had failed to speak to his own histories. Today, his mission is to create ways to make education more accessible for his communities, and to help the next generation decolonize the classroom through community empowerment.
His advocacy and activism career is still new, but he most recently co-founded the Hui O Mauna Kea Ohlone Territory with other Pacific Islander leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Hui has been dedicated to fighting in solidarity with the leaders of the Hawaiian community on Mauna Kea by getting the major investors of the Thirty-Meter Telescope, many of which call California their home, to divest from their project on sacred, kanaka lands. Keoni is looking forward to joining his indigenous relatives from around the world in representing the youth of all native lands to fight for their continued existence as stewards of the land we all live on.