Lessons of Hawaiian Activism: The Value of Resilience
My residency as the Maggie and Dan Inouye Chair of Democratic Ideals at the Univ. of Hawai'i Manoa
I am wrapping up a week in Honolulu as the 2023 Maggie and Dan Inouye Distinguished Chair of Democratic Ideals. Each year the University of Hawai'i of Manoa brings an individual in for a week of classroom and community encounters.
Here is an interview I did with Hawai’i Public Radio on the appeal of authoritarianism, including in the Philippines, the threat posed by Ron DeSantis, and more.
The Inouye Chair aims to foster dialogue. It brings individuals who work on democracy, social justice causes, and civil rights to Honolulu "to share their work, educate students and the broader community," and exposes those individuals to Hawai’i’s "own rich and unique offerings” to nourish their thinking.
So, I have listened carefully and learned a lot during my time here. Some of the social justice struggles here parallel those of indigenous peoples in other areas of America. Native Hawaiians advocate for recognition of their histories, land rights, and greater representation in and out of Congress.
Other goals are rooted in Hawai'i's particular history. One is reducing U.S. military presence and reversing the harmful environmental, urban planning, and other outcomes of militarization. In 2022, a coalition of over 70 activist groups got the Navy to close its Red Hill underground fuel storage facility, which endangered Honolulu’s water supply. A fuel leak the year before into the Pearl Harbor area water supply that served 93,000 people, including many military families, provided new momentum to a cause that had engaged some for many years.