“To change our communities for the better, it is imperative that we complete the census.”
E ola mau Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi. The Hawaiian Nation lives forever. Despite decades of oppression, we still exist. Despite the attempted erasure of our culture, we still chant. Despite our lack of political representation, we still fight to change the system. Our resiliency traces through each generation: from our seafaring roots, crossing the Pacific to reach the Hawaiian archipelago, through the 1895 Wilcox Rebellion, in which Hawaiians took arms against the illegal foreign government called the Republic of Hawaii, to standing on Mauna Kea prohibiting the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope. We have fought with pride, boldness, and unbreakable vigor. However, we are still fighting.
We seek justice through each protest we hold, but we need to reach further than picket signs. We need systemic change. This is only achievable through voting and getting counted in the census. Through these avenues, we influence those in power and strengthen our communities. 2020 is a momentous year because we have both a presidential election and the decennial census. We must actualize tangible change through our civic engagement.
With voting we act as constituents, deciding who will best represent our interests. With the census, we act as individual members of our community, helping to bring federal money into programs that directly benefit our daily lives. This money can go towards funding and building hospitals, paving new roadways, increasing access to welfare, among a preponderance of other endeavors. The more individuals who are counted, the more money we receive, meaning better quality of life for our people. Just as we have shown in 1895, we must take up arms against the current system, but not with weapons. By getting counted. To change our communities for the better, it is imperative that we complete the census. Hawaiians are historically undercounted, and we must fight not to repeat this injustice. It is our kuleana. Place your pōhaku. Get counted.
kuleana = responsibilitypōhaku = stone (a historical reference to the first censuses taken in Hawaiʻi back in the 1500s)
Thank you, Connor Kalāhiki