Lāhui United, Lāhui Strong

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Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, Trustee, Maui

“Throw the ʻōpala (trash) from the garden of your heart and let only the golden blossoms of aloha grow there. Live aloha.” – Queen Liliʻuokalani (whose original name was Lydia Walania Kamakaʻeha Pākī).

An intelligent, strong and powerful woman who was also very gentle, loving and insightful, gifted with music and poetry; our last reigning queen whose words are just as appropriate and meaningful today in this day and age as they were when she first spoke them. There is no one, no one who loved the Hawaiian people more than Queen Liliʻuokalani.

I couldn’t help but think of her – her greatness and her aloha for Hawaiʻi, her lāhui – now with the elections behind us and with so many critically important issues in front of us as a nation and as a community – a people of Hawai’i. Regardless of whether the candidates you voted for were elected or not, we must remain united as a community, a people of Hawaiʻi, a lāhui, because there are still so many important issues that remain. The ones that immediately come to mind are our healthcare system, particularly during these challenging times of COVID-19: the health and welfare of our keiki and kūpuna are critical; our moʻomeheu (culture); the education of our keiki; water, environmental and ʻāina mālama issues and concerns; our economic survival; iwi kūpuna; and last but certainly not least, the ʻohana. Those who were elected into their specific offices are now tasked with resolving these issues and moving us forward to a better place, but they cannot do it without us. We must put our confidence in our newly elected officials and do all that we can to support them, for our queen said, “Love of country is deep-seated in the breast of every Hawaiian whatever his station.”

We must be united; we must i mua! This was never more evident than in the Kū Kiaʻi Mauna movement; defending and protecting her for as long as it takes, our people stand united! At the North Shore of Oʻahu, our people defended the ʻāina and the community against the loud monstrosity of windmills; and again in Kahului, Wailuku, Wailea, Kauaʻula and Waimānalo, protecting the ʻāina and the iwi kūpuna.

Recently, I saw an ad for the Salvation Army as they are preparing for the holiday season and recruiting “bell ringers” that you see at the malls, shopping centers and outside the entrances and exits of your local grocery stores. Their marketing theme is “Community Strong – Love Unites All.” That theme could not be more perfect, and it is exactly what we, as a Hawaiian people, need to continue to do. It is proven, tried and true! Our translation of this theme would be, “Lāhui Strong – Aloha Unites All.” Or was that our theme on the mauna as we demonstrated peacefully! Nonetheless, this message must be put into action, again, for as long as it takes to overcome all of the challenges we are faced with and to bring our people, our lāhui, a thriving, safe and self-sustainable future for many, many generations to come.

As our Queen Liliʻuokalani also once said, “I could not turn back the time for the political change, but there is still time to save our heritage. Never cease to act because you fear you may fail.” I can’t help but think that she is still speaking these words to us today, perhaps a little louder, so we must take heed and listen to our great monarch. Although her reign was abruptly cut short in 1893, she remains a lasting icon, a lasting image of hope for the Hawaiian people. E aloha kekahi i kekahi; love one another. ʻOnipaʻa!