KĀKOU – Hawai‘i’s Town Hall

KĀKOU – Hawai‘i’s Town Hall

“KĀKOU” means “all of us.” But it doesn’t mean we all agree.


When we can speak to each other honestly and listen earnestly… When we recognize that we are all in this together… When we are engaged in working toward a common goal, that is “kākou.”


PBS Hawai‘i hosts a periodic series of live town hall events called KĀKOU – Hawai‘i’s Town Hall. You can email us with your thoughts in advance or during the live conversation at, or post on Twitter using the #pbskakou hashtag. The town hall will also be live streamed on and on Facebook Live, where you can also join the conversation.


What does KĀKOU mean to you? We asked a few people in our community.


“The Global Squeeze: How Do We Keep Hawaiʻi Hawaiʻi?”

Premieres LIVE Thursday, April 19, 2018, 8:00 pm


In our second live town hall, we pause to consider where we are, and where we want to be. Change is inevitable. Some changes come quietly, incrementally, over years; others seem to emerge all of a sudden and nearly full-blown. How is Hawai‘i changing – for better, for worse, or both?


This is not a conversation about major controversial events that have been dividing our community. This is not a conversation about pro-this, or anti-that. This is a discussion about the finer details of life in Hawai‘i that affect our sense of place. What details compromise the core essence of Hawai‘i – and where are we willing to draw the line?


We’ve invited 40 individuals from across the state to participate in this frank, respectful and community-based discussion in our studio. We invite you to join the conversation through email and social media, using the hashtag #pbskakou. You can watch the live broadcast on PBS Hawai‘i, or the live stream on and PBS Hawai‘i’s Facebook page.


“Have You Fact-Checked Your Truth?”

Original broadcast date: Thursday, October 5, 2017



In this first live discussion, we ask: “Have You Fact-Checked Your Truth?” We take on the meaning of “truth” and how we view truth in an era of “fake news,” “trolling” and filter bubbles on social media. Is there one truth – or is truth in the eye of the beholder?

Undefeated by Dark Times


CEO Message


Undefeated by Dark Times

Dr. Elliot Kalauawa and Ralph Aviles

Dr. Elliot Kalauawa, Waikiki Health’s Chief Medical Officer   |   Ralph Aviles, former professional boxer


Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOIt’s happened maybe a dozen times already.
Within a minute of running into someone I know or meeting someone new, I’m asked about a guest whom I interviewed recently on our weekly Long Story Short program.


“You know, the man from Waikīkī,” said Blake Johnson of Honolulu, shortly after we met at a PBS Hawai‘i film screening. “What a guy! I can’t think of his name.”


Mr. Johnson went on: “You ask yourself, ‘Can he be real?’”


He was referring to Dr. Elliot Kalauawa, Chief Medical Officer at nonprofit Waikiki Health, who matter-of-factly told about growing up in Pālolo public housing. An only child, he didn’t know his father, and at a young age, his single mother left him on his own much of the time, going off to drink and gamble.


There was not the slightest trace of self-pity or bitterness as he related how he would eat dinner alone most evenings and put himself to bed. In the light of morning, he would find his mother sleeping soundly in her bed. Taking care not to awaken her, he would kiss her goodbye before making his way to school.


The future Dr. Kalauawa blamed no one for his circumstances. He knew that his mother loved bars and card games. He also knew that she loved him.


“I’m really happy I came upon that program,” Mr. Johnson smiled. “He’s quite a person. Yes, he’s real.”


Viewer Judy Soares also was moved by Dr. Kalauawa’s story. And she found former professional boxer Ralph Aviles “spell-binding” as he described his tough early childhood and his volunteer work today with at-risk youth.


Ms. Soares wrote: “I am a retired teacher who worked at a school where children came from difficult family circumstances. I used to spend many hours worrying about their futures. After seeing your interviews, I was so happy to see the resilience both men displayed.”


“…Both now have a dedication to helping less fortunate people. But they don’t do the helping in a condescending way – they respect the people they are helping. It’s inspirational.”


These Long Story Short guests are not celebrities, but they shine. Their dark times didn’t defeat them. These men quietly illuminate their lives and those of others.


A hui hou (until next time),


Leslie signature