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Book

Don't Ever Whisper

Darlene Keju
Pacific Health Pioneer, Champion for Nuclear Survivors

Don’t Ever Whisper is the powerful story of a woman from the Marshall Islands who championed the cause of nuclear weapons test survivors when others were silent, and who implemented innovative community health programs that gave hope to a generation of troubled youth.

The book is available through www.amazon.com in both a Print Edition and a Kindle Edition.

"This book is a story of a personal transformation of a young lady who once knew little English to an advocate for her people, the victims of the weapons of war," writes Fr. Francis X. Hezel, SJ, in the foreword. "Then the further transformation to educational innovator, whose program had far-reaching effects throughout her island nation."

Hezel, who founded the Jesuit think tank known as the Micronesian Seminar in the early 1970s, says: “For those of us who have cheered on island Micronesia through the years, it’s a welcome change to read a tribute to someone who is home grown. Although no saint or flag-waver, Darlene shared with Mother Theresa and Greg Mortenson (of Three Cups of Tea fame) the courage to dream daringly along with the commitment and patience to settle for one step — one family, one atoll — at a time."

The book narrates Darlene’s early life growing up on islands downwind of 67 U.S. nuclear weapons tests at Bikini and Enewetak, and later her struggle with English in Hawaii schools. But she persevered, ultimately earning a master’s degree in public health at the University of Hawaii.

Don’t Ever Whisper tells the inspiring story of how Darlene used her education first to expose to the world a U.S. government cover up of the damage caused by nuclear testing in her islands, and later to motivate and inspire young Marshall Islanders to make changes in their personal behavior that transformed the health of their communities. She pioneered the non-government group Youth to Youth in Health that drew praise as a model for the Pacific by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Darlene died of cancer at age 45, but Youth to Youth in Health, now in its 27th year of operations, continues programs and services for at-risk youth that she launched.

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"Astounding, astonishing, and uplifting to learn about the energetic life of the late Darlene Keju-Johnson. I’m hungry for more!"

-Candice Guavis, Majuro

"A change agent for her people and a bridge-builder to the outside world"

-Jonathan Frerichs, World Council of Churches

Why didn't Albina Riklon want to read Don't Ever Whisper?

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"A masterpiece. Your book is about as good as any art can get.”

Jack Niedenthal, Marshall Islands

"A personal transformation of a young lady who once knew little English to an advocate for her people, the victims of the weapons of war..."

Francis X. Hezel, SJ, Founder, Micronesian Seminar

"She talked of not quitting or giving in when faced with many challenges..."

- Canita Rilometo Swigert, former Youth to Youth in Health peer educator