By Kinohi Malani
Queen Liliʻuokalani was born Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaʻeha to high Chiefess Analeʻa Keohokālole and Caesar Kapaʻakea. On Sept. 2, 2022, we celebrate the queen’s 184th lā hānau.
In her will, she left her estate to the orphaned and destitute children of Hawaiʻi, giving preference to Native Hawaiians. Today, the Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT) oversees the queen’s estate as a private operating foundation. LT has taken on a big task: end the generational poverty of Native Hawaiians. LT’s vision is “E Nā Kamalei Lupalupa” (Thriving Hawaiian Children) and their work in the years ahead is outlined in their strategic plan, Wehe Ke Ala.
LT is helping vulnerable kamaliʻi like those involved in foster care and the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems. The Trust is also building its Early Childhood initiatives to help young parents up to 26 years old obtain needed skills and resources like housing, employment, and education to better mālama their babies. I think the Queen would be really proud of the big steps forward LT has made to help kamaliʻi achieve a good life.
As a beneficiary of LT, I was involved in their early college Youth Development program. Overall, the program helped me find my dream, work on college skills, and focus on how I want to contribute to my community. I grew my academic knowledge and learned new skills. I also established strong pilina with other kamaliʻi and mentors who helped me develop my identity. These mentors are incredible and I feel like I can go to them for help anytime in the future.
Becoming a better role model is one way I can help my community, especially the kamaliʻi who participate in LT programs. I feel more confident now as a leader because of the opportunities to lead.
A word to other kamaliʻi: we can make a positive difference in our community. It doesn’t matter if it is big or small. What is important is that you try to leave an impact, a legacy of good work like the queen has left for us.
On her 184th lā hānau, I mahalo Queen Liliʻuokalani who, through her generosity, helped me as a Hawaiian kāne to believe in myself, my heritage, and my community.
Kinohi Malani is from Hilo, Hawaiʻi. He is a student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo majoring in nursing.