I just read an article about the Kakaako tent city and Hawaii Community Development Authority's mission to help with the issue. Only, the issue isn't homelessness. The solution, not jobs or housing or humanity. The problem is, as always, those dang homeless people who are encroaching on public spaces.
"If you don't like living here," they say, "if you don't like living beneath this flag, you are free to live somewhere else."
The here they are talking about is the United States. The flag, of course, the stars and stripes of Saturday's fireworks extravaganza. But here is also Hawaiʻi. The state whose flag was once the flag of an independent nation.
As a child, of course, the fourth of July was always an exciting holiday. Sparklers were wielded in great loops, drawing our names in the darkness until they sputtered out and stabbed into water filled coffee cans. The neighbor boy up the street lit firecrackers and jumping jacks, which frightened me with their loud chaos.
On the surface, the hullabaloo about Emma Stone's casting as hapa wahine Allison Ng in Cameron Crowe's Aloha might seem pretty ridiculous. It's only one movie, right? A fun summer love triangle rom-com set in a beautiful location and it's all just Hollywood fantasy anyway. Nobody actually thinks movies are real life, etc etc, so why is everybody so flipping angry? See also: don't we have more important things to worry about?
On January 17, 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani made the sorrowful decision to relinquish her throne, and with it, the soverignty of her nation. She did so to spare the lives of the outnumbered soldiers who would have fought to the death protecting their homeland. To keep safe the subjects she held so tightly to her heart.
This was a wise decision. It was the right decision. And it was a decision that she should never have been forced to make.
On April 7, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature gathered to honor the original crew of Hōkūleʻa, the working replica of an ancient Polynesian wa‘a kaulua (double-hulled voyaging canoe). Her name translates to Star of Gladness, but stands for so much more. Hōkūleʻa is Hawaiʻi 'Ōlelo (Hawaiian language) for Arcturus, the brightest star in the northern hemisphere.
When I first heard that a Black man who went to school less than three miles from ʻIolani Palace was running for President, I was filled with a giddy, restless joy. When that Black man was elected, I no shit, broke down, shaking shoulders, wept.
I love this country.
This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech urging Australia to reveal its plans for cutting greenhouse emissions, warning that Climate change 'won't stop at the Pacific Islands'. And hey great, a world leader presenting us with the reminder that we do share the world. That climate change will soon become everybody's problem, everywhere.
But it already is, if we recognize that Pacific Islands and Pacific Islanders are part of everybody. Part of Earth's everywhere. So when I first read Merkel's statement I was the opposite of impressed. And so, for today's Week In Surfing, I thought we'd take a moment to remember that Pacific Islanders are a vital, important part of our global landscape, and we aren't willing to drown in the sea of political idiocy.
As a mixed Pacific Islander, Kanaka Maoli and Chamorro, watching the manifest destiny of US military involvement unfold in my ancestral homelands, I can't help but have complicated feelings about Veteran's Day.
As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and reflect on his legacy, I thought it'd be fitting to share a few Native Hawai'ian voices continuing in the struggle for equality.
Listening to these voices is especially fitting since Friday, January 17th was the 121st anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai'i. Twenty-eight years after the abolition of slavery, United States forces invaded Honolulu to protect the interests of wealthy business owners from Queen Lili‘uokalani's attempts to undo the Bayonet Constitution of 1887.
Injustice is injustice, regardless of the people forced to live in its legacy. By sharing our stories, we share in the struggle against injustice and discrimination. I'm still figuring out my own story, so while I continue with that difficult work, here are a few things that I think are worth mentioning:
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