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Different Strokes in Our Hawai‘i Canoe

 

CEO Message

Different Strokes in Our Hawai‘i Canoe

Participants at KĀKOU - Hawai‘iʻs Town Hall: Solomon Alfapada

Solomon AlfapadaTop row: Jim Dooley, Ulalia Woodside, Sean-Joseph Choo, Tracy Alambatin, Shayne Shibuya.
Bottom row: Denby Fawcett, Ryan Ozawa, Burt Lum, Ku‘uipo Kumukahi

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOWas it an “Only in Hawai‘i” phenomenon?

 

Before the red camera lights signaled the start of last month’s two-hour live KĀKOU – Hawai‘i’s Town Hall, our studio chief Jason Suapaia asked the 70 participants with diverse perspectives to “keep the discussion civil.”

 

He needn’t have worried. The discussion was interesting and it got lively, but as it turns out, the participants had a higher standard than civil. They were polite and even generous.

 

As participant Donne Dawson said afterward, “I deliberately did not raise my hand a second time even though I had lots more to say because I wanted more of the diverse group to weigh in.”

 

PBS Hawai‘i named our new Town Hall program KĀKOU because it means “all of us,” as in: All of us in these isolated islands – no matter how different – are in the same canoe. The question up for discussion: “Have you fact-checked your truth?”

 

In reflecting upon the experience, PBS Hawai‘i Board Member Aaron Salā wrote: “Probably nowhere else in the world would you get so many different kinds, and colors, of people in the same room at the same time to discuss a series of rather intimate thoughts and beliefs. Only in Hawai‘i…”

 

He harkened back to plantation times and the exorbitantly long, hard work days.

 

“That drive to survive caused us to figure out how to live together and rather than feign color-blindness (a concept that continues to baffle me), we celebrate a color-consciousness that helps us to really see each other,” Aaron said.

 

“So,” he continued, “we started this process in survival mode and, in many ways, we still choose to negotiate our peace every day because we know that we must survive. In a sense, we are the American dream come true.” And yet, he believes, “we are probably also the most outwardly racist community in the world.”

 

Participant Burt Lum, co-host of Hawai‘i Public Radio’s Bytemarks Café, was among several people who went home and kept wrestling with the topic of the discussion, about the idea of truth vs. reality.

 

He pictured a stadium full of people.

 

“There is some degree of shared reality, like the fact that you are all watching a football game,” Burt wrote me. “But for the most part everyone there has their own sense of reality, a result of inherent being, accumulated experiences and moral compass.”

 

Two hours on live TV and live streaming flew by. As we signed off, I thought how glad I am to be in the same canoe with these fellow Islanders who can directly address their differences, don’t pretend to have all of the answers, and actually listen to each other.

 

A hui hou (until next time),

 

Leslie signature

Leslie Wilcox
President and CEO
PBS Hawai‘i

 

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
Biography Hawaii: Maiki Aiu Lake

PBS HAWAII PRESENTS - Biography Hawaii: Maiki Aiu Lake

 

Maiki Aiu Lake was one of the most widely recognized kumu hula of the 20th century. She was passionately devoted to learning about Hawaiian culture at a time when such interests were often discouraged. Maiki helped preserve and pass on crucial components of Hawaiian knowledge and tradition through difficult times. In her school she trained many of the most respected kumu hula who teach and practice today. This documentary combines interviews with her students, family and friends with photographs and moving images of one of the major contributors to the 1970’s cultural reawakening that has come to be called the Hawaiian Renaissance.

 

Friends of Jimmy Borges establish UH music scholarship in his name

Press Release Header

 

HONOLULU, HI – Friends of local jazz vocalist Jimmy Borges have raised more than $300,000 for a vocal music scholarship fund bearing his name at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The needs-based scholarship will benefit Hawaii high school graduates.

 

Borges, 80, is battling cancer.

 

Friends of Jimmy Borges establish UH music scholarship in his name

 

Borges is thrilled with this legacy fund and wants the vocal music scholarship to encourage Hawaii teens to pursue their dreams, just as he has done during his successful 60-year music career. “There’s no such thing as a stop sign,” Borges said. “Just speed bumps.”

 

A team of the entertainer’s friends raised the scholarship money in less than a month:

 

• Robert Clarke, a cancer survivor and retired chief of Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI)
• Walter A. Dods Jr., Matson Chairman and retired First Hawaiian Bank CEO and Chairman
• Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii President and CEO

 

Contributions are still being accepted by Malia Peters at the UH Foundation: malia.peters@uhfoundation.org

 

About 50 scholarship donors were treated to a special concert by Borges last week at PBS Hawaii. The singer candidly explained his situation: a recurrence of cancer has migrated from his liver to his lungs. He does not expect to survive.

 

The footage will be used in an upcoming TV presentation, Jimmy Borges: Faced It All, scheduled to premiere at 8:00 pm on Thursday, January 21 on PBS Hawaii.

 

Download this Press Release

 

Contact: Liberty Peralta
Email: lperalta@pbshawaii.org
Phone: 808.973.1383

 

PBS Hawaii is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Hawaii’s sole member of the trusted Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches people’s lives. We bring the world to Hawaii and Hawaii to the world. PBSHawaii.org | facebook.com/pbshawaii | @pbshawaii