Walk to the Box Rally
A rally to encourage the Hawaiian community to vote and be civically engaged was held on King Street across from ʻIolani Palace on August 1. Participants waived signs and then walked together to the ballot box at Honolulu Hale to drop off their primary election ballots and listen to speakers representing event organizers.
A similar event organized by Native Hawaiian students, community organizations and leaders was held in Hilo on August 11.
The campaign is non-partisan and does not promote any individual, political party or candidate. The goal is to encourage Native Hawaiians across the state to vote and to be civically engaged citizens and leaders in their own communities.
“We continue to encourage Native Hawaiians to run for office, register to vote, learn about the issues, understand the gravity of decisions made at the polls, and cast a vote during elections,” said Hailama Farden, president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.
Organizers plan to continue “Walk to the Box” events in late October as voters begin receiving their general election ballots in the mail.
If you are interested in participating or organizing a “Walk to the Box” event in your community contact Ka Leo O Nā ʻŌpio (KONO) at email@example.com.
“Walk to the Box” is a collective effort of Kamehameha Schools, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Ka Leo O Nā ʻŌpio, Papa Ola Lōkahi, Native Hawaiian Education Council, Kanaeokana, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo Public Charter School.
Kapūkakī in the News
Navy Requests Additional Water
On August 16, the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) met to discuss a request by the U.S. Navy to access the ʻAiea-Hālawa Shaft. Currently, the Navy is exceeding its allotted 14.977 million gallons a day of drinking water from the Waiawa Shaft.
Members of Oʻahu Water Protectors (OWP) said in a press release that they “are alarmed and appalled” that such discussions are even taking place when the Navy has proven itself to be untrustworthy as the entity responsible for the biggest water crisis Oʻahu residents have ever faced.
Ten months after a Red Hill spill poisoned the water system for nearly 100,000 Oʻahu residents, the Navy has yet to come up with an acceptable plan to defuel the fuel storage tanks.
OWP member Healani Sonoda-Pale said, “The Navy continues to waste millions of gallons of water per day on non-essential activities (e.g. golf course maintenance) and yet they have the audacity to ask for more water.”
OWP maintains that the Navy should not be provided access to additional wells while they waste what water they do have and that the Navy’s actions – and inaction – have created an existential crisis for Hawaiʻi for which they must be held accountable.
Commented Sonoda-Pale, “If this proves too difficult, perhaps it is time for the Navy to look to other alternatives like downsizing or shifting operations outside of Hawaiʻi rather than jeopardizing the health of the entire island of Oʻahu.”
Water Protectors Ask VPOTUS to Kōkua
Kiaʻi wai from Oʻahu and Kauaʻi teamed up over the weekend of August 19 to ask U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to have Washington, D.C., intervene in the Red Hill water crisis. V.P. Harris was on Kauaʻi for a vacation.
Water protectors waved and held signs on Friday the 19th and Sunday the 21st and issued a statement to V.P. Harris requesting her support and kōkua as “the Navy continues to fail to act with the urgency this crisis demands.”
The group specifically requested that top White House and Pentagon officials meet with the community and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply to hear their concerns about the ongoing crisis and the need to defuel the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in months, not years; that the Department of Defense (DoD) provide alternative water, housing, and medical and mental health support for the thousands of families exposed to jet fuel in their tap water; and that no other communities are similarly threatened by the DoD (e.g., Okinawa, Guahan, Alaska, and Puerto Rico).
ʻŌiwi Poet Published
One year ago, poet Noʻu Revilla was offered a book deal by prestigious independent publisher Milkweek Editions after beating more than 1,600 other poets in the 2021 National Poetry Series open competition.
The resulting book, Ask the Brindled, is a 141-page tribute to survival, resistance and the unbreakable bonds between Indigenous women and queer Kānaka ʻŌiwi and spotlights themes of desire and intergenerational healing.
A native of Waiʻehu, Maui, Revilla received a Ph.D. in English from UH Mānoa and is now an assistant professor at the university teaching creative writing with an emphasis on ʻŌiwi literature. Revilla’s book includes poems in both English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and are based on her dissertation which explores how aloha is possible in the face of colonization and sexual violence. Revilla is the first openly queer ʻŌiwi woman to publish a full-length collection of poetry.
Revilla was inspired by late UH Mānoa Professor Emerita Haunani-Kay Trask who was a celebrated Indigenous author and poet. Revilla’s poem, “Recovery, Waikīkī” is dedicated to Trask who mentored her in college.
“Poetry helps me to reflect on and metabolize heartbreak, especially as an ʻŌiwi wahine who loves and will always struggle for my ʻāina. Poetry helps me to recenter in aloha, which in a very real way means poetry helps me to listen to my kūpuna better,” said Revilla.
Ask the Brindled will debut on September 1 at 5:30 p.m. at Ka Waiwai in Mōʻiliʻili. It is available for purchase online and at Native Books.
Awaiaulu at Washington Place
Hawaiʻi was one of the most literate countries in the 1800s. Hawaiians wrote and published profusely for well over a century – in Hawaiian. Although that cache of material is readily accessible thanks to modern technology, it is challenging to navigate that repository and to fully comprehend the language and content of the past.
In 1909, Queen Liliʻuokalani expressed her vision that her home, Washington Place, (now the official residence of Hawaiʻi’s governors) should be a center for perpetuating Hawaiian language and music.
In an effort to fulfill this vision, the Washington Place Foundation and nonprofit Awaiaulu present “Open Up the Treasury of Hawaiʻi’s Past” on Saturday, September 10 at 6:00 p.m.
For 18 years, Awaiaulu has trained fluent speakers of Hawaiian to find, understand and translate the writings of the past to reconnect our lāhui to Hawaiian historical resources. There are currently 14 scholars in different phases of training with Awaiaulu. Led by Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier, Professor Emeritus of Hawaiian at U.H. Mānoa and distinguished historian Kauʻi Sai-Dudoit, Awaiaulu scholars will present historical materials that illuminate the quest of Liliʻuokalani and her patriotic supporters to shepherd Hawaiʻi and its people through turbulent times.
“Open Up the Treasury of Hawaiʻi’s Past” will provide information and insight to delight the heart and mind. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or reserve a seat at Eventbrite.com. Search for “Awaiaulu at Washington Place 2022.”
Prescription Medicine Relief for Kūpuna
Early last month the House voted to pass the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a bill that includes several key provisions to lower the prices of prescription drugs. Representatives Ed Case and Kai Kahele were instrumental in supporting this critical legislation that will bring real relief for kūpuna.
The bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 16.
The Inflation Reduction Act includes key priorities that will go a long way to lower drug prices and out-of-pocket costs. The American Association of Retired People (AARP) fought for provisions in the bill that will: finally allow Medicare to negotiate the price of drugs; cap annual out-of-pocket prescription drug costs in Medicare Part D ($2,000 in 2025); hold drug companies accountable when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation; and cap co-pays for insulin to no more than $35 per month in Medicare Part D.
AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said, “By passing the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress has made good on decades of promises to lower the price of prescription drugs.
“Seniors should never have to choose between paying for needed medicine or other necessities like food or rent. Tens of millions of adults in Medicare drug plans will soon have peace of mind knowing their out-of-pocket expenses are limited every year.
“Now, for the first time, Medicare will be able to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, saving seniors money on their medications.”
COVID-19 Awareness Campaign Wins PRSA Awards
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a coalition of 13 organizations collaborated to protect the health and wellbeing of our lāhui and other Pacific Islanders by providing culturally tailored messaging in an effort to cut through the noise and misinformation about the disease, its prevention, and eventually, about vaccinations.
Called the Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) COVID-19 Collective Awareness and Prevention Campaign, the hui included ʻAha Hui o Nā Kauka, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Kamehameha Schools, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Papa Ola Lōkahi, Liliʻuokalani Trust, the Queen’s Health Systems, King Lunalilo Trust and Home, Partners in Development Foundation, Kawaiahaʻo Church, COVID Pau and We Are Oceania. Public Relations firm, Bennet Group, provided project management and drove strategic communications.
In recognition of the hui’s collective effort on the NHPI COVID-19 Collective Awareness and Prevention Campaign, the Public Relations Society of America’s Hawaiʻi Chapter recently presented Bennet Group with a Koa Anvil award for Multicultural Public Relations (Associations, Government and Nonprofit organizations), and a Koa Hammer Award for Brochures (fewer than 10 pages).
The awards were presented at PRSA Hawaiʻi’s annual awards ceremony on August 4. Representing the hui and joining Bennet Group at the ceremony were Kauʻi Burgess and Wendy Kekahio of Kamehameha Schools, and Dr. Nālani Blaisdell from ʻAha Hui o Nā Kauka.