Join thousands of Hawaiʻi community members, businesses, and organizations as we engage in a 4-step process of taking action to bring to life a resilient economy through our core value of ʻāina aloha—a deep and abiding love for Hawaiʻi’s communities and natural environments.
Declare Core Values
Read the ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration submitted to Governor Ige and Alan Oshima’s group tasked with developing and implementing a plan for economic stabilization, recovery, and resilience.
Set an Action Agenda
The Huliau Action Agenda offers concrete goals to rebuild our economy in keeping with the principles in the Declaration. Community members like you were encouraged to review and suggest changes to it. Hundreds of suggestions were implemented and a new community version is now available.
The Huliau Action Agenda was recast into an AAEF assessment tool, which guides individuals, organizations, government, and businesses in planning and decision making about new and ongoing efforts. Individuals and organizations used this tool and offered over 180 proposals for community review, which took place during 14 online sessions. Join in the asynchronous conversation on this AAEF platform.
Building Momentum (3/11/21 Update)
Community voices call for bold policy leadership in ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures Policy Playbook (3/11/21)
HILO HANAKAHI, March 11, 2021. The ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures initiative is launching a policy playbook, “Growing a Stronger Hawaiʻi,” that outlines key approaches to transforming Hawaiʻi’s economy. The playbook makes 26 specific proposals which collectively establish a framework for a resilient and diverse economy. The policy proposals are grounded in a set of shared values and prioritize the well-being of communities and our natural environment in a post-pandemic future. The proposals in the playbook can be adopted now, and are expected to be given serious consideration in the next two years.
“Uplifting community voices and innovation is the foundation and starting point for this process. This playbook represents just a small portion of the collective intelligence embodied in the ideas contributed throughout our extensive community engagement process. Dozens of community volunteers have contributed their time and expertise to this expansive effort to elevate the voices of a diverse community of AAEF signatories,” said Dr. Kamanamaikalani Beamer, core contributor of the ʻĀina Aloha effort. The ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures initiative springs from the collective engagement of over 2,750 individuals, organizations, and businesses who, since April of 2020, have contributed their voices and time in a wide range of engagement efforts.
The ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures initiative has comprised a four part community engagement process that produced a values statement, an action agenda, a project assessment tool, and now a policy playbook. AAEF co-author, Dr. Noe Noe Wong-Wilson said, “When the pandemic hit, we quickly realized that our grassroots communities were not represented in discussions of economic recovery. We saw that the pre-pandemic economy was not working for a large portion of our community. And we knew it was urgent to amplify the voices of many, many individuals and organizations that could bring invaluable expertise to these discussions.”
The policy playbook was developed through a series of engagement steps that produced over 180 specific proposals. The playbook is representative of the proposals that were specific to policy. “There is still much work to do in filtering through all of the proposals and manaʻo that has been shared, there are recommendations that are centered around building community capacity and there are more that provide guidance for the private sector in diversifying our economy. We focused on policy recommendations first because our government plays such a critical role in setting us on a course for success, we need those decision-makers to see the amazing work happening in our community and to move boldly and quickly,” said Beamer.
The policy playbook provides a snapshot of what can be if various stakeholder groups align and commit to making change. Discussions and development of policy proposals continues within Hawaiʻi’s communities.
“At the midpoint of the legislative session, we are very concerned that decision-makers are going to revert to what they know, the pre-pandemic status quo, and that is a huge problem. The status quo has failed to provide social and environmental justice and equity in our community. Itʻs time for our policymakers to make these changes now,” said Wong-Wilson.
The policy playbook is accessible online at ainaalohafutures.com/policyplaybook. We encourage people to review the playbook and other tools on the site and to sign-on to the effort if they haven’t already done so.
Forge a resilient society based on the ‘āina and one another
This op-ed originally appeared in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on October 13th, 2020.
Can you recall a single week in the last 8 months which has not revealed another shocking revelation of the COVID CRISIS? Loss of jobs and income, standing in food lines, applying for unemployment benefits, struggling with on-line learning for our keiki, keeping kupuna safe--combined with the uncertainty of shutdowns, openings, quarantines, and “re-openings,”—at best it feels like we are barely managing the chaos.
This is one of the most difficult times Hawaiʻi has known. Many are awakening to the realization that no one is coming to save us. What then do we have to rely on but each other?
For millennia, Hawaiʻi thrived on its own self-reliance. Our aliʻi and kupuna developed a socially and economically productive process that relied on our ability to live within our environment, with each other, on a thriving ʻāina. That resilience was based on our relationship with each other, in our ʻohana or family, and extended to our local and island communities. It is this kind of relationship that we must now rely on to bring us all together to face the challenges of our day, for the sake of our ʻāina, our residents, and our beloved home, Hawaiʻi.
ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures (ainaalohafutures.com) is an initiative around which over 2,600 community members and organizations have coalesced in support of a more just and equitable society that our community and ʻāina deserve. The AAEF Authors declared a common set of values, co-created an action agenda, an assessment tool and facilitated a process for communities to submit ideas to forward these. There was no authority granting us permission to act. We believed in the strength of our goals, each other, and our Hawaiʻi community to move forward.
What began with grassroots conversations and zoom webinars has now garnered the formal, unanimous support of the County Councils of Maui, Hawaiʻi, and Kauaʻi, the Mayor of Maui, and both Honolulu City and County mayoral candidates as well as a number of other elected officials. AAEF supporters also include a diverse range of individuals, businesses, and organizations from grassroots community activists to formal large organizations such as the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, and the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.
One of the core values of AAEF is ʻŌpū Aliʻi, a bold statement about the responsibility of leaders to their community and the reciprocal relationship of community to those who govern. This relationship is best suited when everyone adopts the same guiding principles, love and respect for the ʻāina and the people. It is the responsibility of leadership to improve the lives and livelihood of the people they serve. In turn, the community must hold leadership accountable to these values and provide the leaders with the feedback and guidance, to collaboratively create innovative solutions. This way we all win. This makes the opportunity to choose our leaders all the more important.
While the work continues, our moment for change is just beginning. We need to see the future our islands deserve achieved and manifested in every decision made from the sands of Nohili to the cliffs of Kalae. The justice, liberty, and economic prosperity we seek can be found in collaboration with those who share our values. We have the opportunity to choose leadership that can be accountable to our values and support efforts for lasting change. We are all a part of the solution. Our time is now. We must link our efforts—on the ʻāina—in the boardrooms and classrooms—through our votes, our voices, and our collective grit.
Protect both kama‘āina and malihini (10/12/20 media release)
One of AAEF's four guiding principles is Hoʻokipa, a value that if practiced benefits both kamaʻāina and malihini. AAEF has issued the media release below to help guide our leadersʻ decision making to be more in keeping with supporting the best interests of us all as Hawaiʻi considers how it might reopen its doors.
HONOLULU, October 12, 2020. Hawaiʻi is scheduled to reopen our shores to visitors on October 15. While this plan could provide much needed relief for airlines and hotels that have suffered tremendous economic losses since COVID began, that same relief is not being felt by our own people who have endured even greater losses.
“We need to get it right the first time,” said Ikaika Hussey, one of 14 core organizers of the ʻĀina Aloha Economic Future (AAEF) initiative (www.ainaalohafutures.com).
“Without safe jobs, a clear testing protocol, and worker protections, the rush to reopen Hawaiʻi will likely initiate a third and bigger wave of community infections, increased COVID deaths, another shutdown, more business closures, and a reputation as an unsafe, unreliable destination for travellers,” added Hussey.
“But there is a better way, and it begins with the values underpinning a reopening plan,” remarked Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, another of the 14 core AAEF organizers.
The ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures initiative stresses the value of hoʻokipa, which recognizes that visitors can only be well-hosted by the people of Hawaiʻi when our families and communities are safe, strong, and can exercise our ability to be stewards of our islands.
“Hoʻokipa includes a reciprocal relationship where hosts and visitors have kuleana or responsibility for the well-being of each other. Residents need to trust that visitors are not going to infect us, and visitors need to trust that Hawaiʻi is safe.
“And as local visitors to neighbor islands, we must recognize our responsibility to keep our community safe and understand that in that context, we are the malihini.
“A reopening plan must protect both kamaʻāina and malihini, hosts and visitors, while balancing the need to re-establish opportunities for Hawaiʻi’s businesses to recover from economic hardship, sustain themselves, and in turn for our residents to access gainful employment.
“Opening our doors to residents first then to visitors will help ensure that we can open our doors safely for everyone,” said Wong-Wilson.
A two-stage reopening plan would include:
Stage 1: Starting now
Continue requiring masks in all public spaces, including public transportation, for anyone over the age of 5.
Limit the size of group gatherings to 10 or less.
Open inter-island travel for Hawaiʻi residents.
Implement rapid testing and temperature checks upon departure at all airports.
Remove the 14-day quarantine on neighbor islands for Hawaiʻi residents.
Allow restaurants, bars, retail shops, gyms, and personal grooming services to reopen, if they implement procedures to maintain limited occupancies and safe distances among patrons.
Open beaches, trails, and public parks with safe distance guidelines.
Continue an aggressive public information campaign to remind everyone of the need to remain vigilant and avoid spreading COVID-19. If small outbreaks occur, inform the community immediately, and announce when proper cleaning procedures have been implemented so the businesses can successfully resume.
Require hotels to develop science-based safety standards to guard against the transmission of COVID-19, and to submit their safety plans to the State of Hawaii. The State should enforce these plans, and there should be a process for workers and the public to inspect facilities and ensure compliance on a regular basis.
Stage 2: Following successful Stage 1 implementation
If inter-island travel does not create new waves of outbreaks, open Hawaiʻi to non-Hawaiʻi resident visitors in time for the holiday season.
Require visitors to demonstrate a negative test result within three days of departure before being allowed to board flights to Hawaiʻi.
Implement a second round of rapid testing and temperature checks upon arrival at all airports.
As hotels re-open, they should restore jobs and maintain key safety protocols such as daily room cleaning.
“The above two-stage plan would ensure that Hawaiʻi’s businesses, workers, residents, and visitors can all enjoy a safer, more reliable, and successful reopening of Hawaiʻi,” said Hussey.
“It’s a balanced plan that embodies the full-breadth of what hoʻokipa truly means,” said Wong-Wilson.
AAEF continues to build momentum
Recently Kaua‘i Council voted unanimously in passing a resolution to support the ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures initiative. Kaua‘i County joins Hawai‘i and Maui County in their support. Both candidates for the Honolulu Mayor's race signed the declaration and have voiced support for the initiative as well.
Share your mana‘o on more than 160 Community Proposals
Here’s a quick update to keep everyone connected with ongoing progress:
In July, fifteen online sessions occurred during which community participants virtually discussed proposals. Visit this Online-Sessions AAEF webpage to view the slides, notes, and videos for the sessions.
The AAEF initiative continues to gain momentum and supporters, including:
Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority
Maui County Council
Check out the AAEF supporters list to see many more. Please share this link if you know others who also want to sign on in support: bit.ly/AAEFsignup
181 proposals were submitted in 14 different topic areas for community consideration.
The deadline to share comments on the 181 proposals has been extended to Sunday, August 16.
View this short video clip that demonstrates how the commenting platform works.
Go to this AAEF proposal discussion site to register on the platform and offer comments.
Please consider taking some time to review the proposals, find ones that inspire you to offer manaʻo, and add your crucial voice to the process.
Share your mana‘o on more than 160 Community Proposals
The July 13-17 online breakout sessions were attended by hundreds of community members. More than 160 proposals from the community have been submitted. If you'd like to submit a proposal, you have until July 16th. Participate asynchronously, by sharing your mana‘o, and discussing the various proposals on ainaalohafutures.consider.it. Feedback and discussion on proposals will be open until August 9, 2020.
Engage in the online sessions
Watch the orientation session that shares the nuts and bolts information regarding the synchronous online breakout sessions and the asynchronous tools that will be utilized in Step 3 of this 4-step process. Participate and engage in the online breakout sessions. Breakout sessions will include: Meeting Immediate Basic Needs, Sustainable & Resilient Food Systems, Affordable & Sustainable Housing, Creating Circular Economies, Environmental Resilience, Restoration & Management, Regenerative Tourism, Creative & Performing Arts, Tech Industry & Infrastructure, Small Business, Economic Development, Re-thinking Education, Climate Resilience, & Energy, Health & Wellness, Community & Participatory-based Governance. For more information and updates as they become available, click here.
Encourage organizations, businesses, and policy makers to adopt the AAEF assessment tool
The AAEF self-assessment tool, borne of the declaration, action agenda, and comments from over 200 community members, is now available. This tool can be used to guide the strategic focuses of organizations and enterprises, guide private-sector funders to develop RFPs and assess proposals, and guide policy makers in developing laws, funding programs, and prioritizing efforts towards an ‘Āina Aloha future.
Adding more mana to the initiative
With each person who adds their name to the body of community supporters, the initiative grows. If you already signed on in support of the ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration, you do not need to resubmit your name. (Or if you no longer support the initiative, you can opt out at any time).
On June 20th, 2020, the AAEF website will display an updated list of supporters.
If you want to encourage ʻohana, friends, and colleagues to sign on, please share this initiative with them so they can join in.
Signs of growing momentum
Two large institutions, Kamehameha Schools and the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, signed on to support the ideas and approaches of the ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures in the past week. As pivotal organizations in Hawaii's economy, both institutions could play a huge role in moving us closer to an ʻĀina Aloha future.
In early June, the Hawai‘i State House Select Committee on Covid-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness requested to be briefed about the AAEF initiative (AAEF portion starts at 53:40).
After the briefing, two of the 14 authors of the ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration, Joseph W. Lapilio III and Nā‘ālehu Anthony, were invited to join the Committee in their capacity as AAEF supporters, a sign that this initiative is gaining momentum. They accepted the invitation.
Additionally, multiple local and U.S. media outlets have spotlighted AAEF as a promising community-driven initiative to keep an eye on.
Over a two week period in May, community members provided hundreds of comments and suggestions, most of which have been incorporated into a new draft of the Huliau Action Agenda. Community members that identified an interest in editing it further refined it over the following week as Step 2 wound down.
The Huliau Action Agenda cascades from the AAEF Declaration principles and offers a high-level framework that will guide Step 3, which will involve the development of a rubric (a decision making tool that policy makers, businesses, organizations, and community members can use in resourcing and planning for Hawai‘i's economic future) and specific proposals. Step 3 will begin in mid to late June.
Mahalo nui loa for your continued engagement as we aim for a healthier, more cohesive, and sustainable Hawaiʻi guided by ʻŌiwi insights, innovation, and community values. Together we stand committed to engaging the urgent work needed to bring our ‘āina aloha vision to fruition.