People's Congress Island Forums Held Across Hawai‘i

Hundreds of participants discuss pressing issues facing Hawai‘i and help to shape the People's Agenda!

A large coalition of movements, individuals, and organizations has come together to form the People's Congress

Over 300 people came out to participate at People's Congress Island forums on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island from October 19th - 27th.  The Forums gave community members the opportunity to help shape a People’s Agenda, and share local concerns and ideas for solutions most important to their community.  Opening Speakers set the tone for the events with the message: 

There are many good people working on important issues. . . If we come together to identify the barriers we face in common and illuminate the root causes of injustice we all face, we (and our work) can be more powerful and effective.

What we did together

Participants worked in breakout groups by subject (environment, civics, economic justice, food security, Native Hawaiian, education) to explore root causes of problems and possible solutions, using an ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua Tree model.  Leaves represented the problems we see (i.e. large class sizes, stream diversions, high rent and housing prices), trunks were the causes of these problems (i.e. an existing law, corporate influence on government, lack of political will), roots were the larger context dynamics (like history, institutionalized racism and sexism), and blossoms were the solutions.

And then . . .

After placing all leaves, trunks and blossoms on our Tree, everyone got back together to hear from the breakout groups. We had discussions about causes (trunks) that connected across many different issue areas (for example, corporate influence on government).

What's Next?

The People's Congress partners are analyzing all the information from the Island Forums, and will be sharing it soon.  You will be able vote on the top issue priorities and solutions that you would like to see included in the People's Agenda.  The statewide People's Congress convention is December 3 & 4, 2016 in Honolulu.  All are invited to attend, even if you didn't participate in an island forum!


Some of the most powerful feedback of the night came from people who said they had been feeling troubled about the "state of things" in the world and in Hawai‘i. They said they left the Forum feeling relieved, knowing that there are many other people who care deeply, have good ideas, and are willing to pitch in and work together.  It gave them - and all of us hope.

Missed the Forums?

Don't worry, there will still be plenty of opportunities to get involved with the People's Congress. Check back soon for opportunities to vote on the priorities and solutions identified at the Island Forums, or take the People's Agenda survey now!