By Jacob Aki
As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many issues that we must continue to address as a lāhui – the high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, overdependence on tourism, and the need to protect our sacred sites.
For us as kānaka mākua (and as individuals engaged in helping to solve some of these problems), it is critical that we invite ʻōpio to the table where these conversations are happening.
Even more important than inviting them to the table is helping them to create their own spaces where they can talk amongst one another about how to best address these issues, and provide them with a platform where their voices can be elevated.
Ka Leo O Nā ʻŌpio (KONO) is trying to do just that. We are a collaboration of individuals and organizations dedicated to helping ʻōpio build these spaces by promoting civic engagement across Hawaiʻi. Through our newly launched social media and website platforms, we are providing ʻōpio with the tools, resources and support they need to elevate their voices and take their advocacy to the next level. By utilizing our existing networks to create opportunities, we hope to cultivate and nurture our next generation of ʻŌiwi leaders.
Follow us on social media @opiopowered on Facebook and Instagram or visit our website at www.kaleoonaopio.org to learn more. We have lots of exciting events and opportunities coming soon.
Jacob Aki is from Kapālama, Oʻahu. He is active in various Native Hawaiian civic organizations such as Hale O Nā Aliʻi O Hawaiʻi and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.