These two months have been a busy time. In reflection of this period, two words come to mind: amplify and aggregate.   Each of these actions helps the other.  We amplify to aggregate.  We aggregate to amplify.  

The dictionary puts forth the following definition of amplify, “to make larger, greater, or stronger; enlarge; extend.”  Hawai’i People’s Fund amplifies social movements and the call for social change.  For me the annual dinner highlighted this feeling.  There is something about eating dinner amongst a crowed of like-minded people. Through a redistribution of collective money, the Fund helps strengthen the community’s call for social justice.  There is power in the gathering of resources.  Together we stand strong.

 Aggregate is one of those funny words that can be used as a noun, verb and adjective. Used as a verb (used without object) aggregate means to combine and form a collection or mass.  From reading the grant proposals and talking with grantees, the tremendous power of the aggregate rings clear.  There are connections and threads between each of the islands. Groups are not isolated but connected through a web of action in Hawai‘i.  They all seek positive, progressive social change by their doings. 

Grantees heal, defend, connect, train, educate and empower our communities here in our beloved Hawai‘i.  They are propelled by these commonalities:  love for Hawai‘i and her people, a vision for a more just society and a deep and profound trust in the collective ability for us to huli the many wrongs of injustice. They seek to address the imbalance of political, economic and social power and to equalize inequities brought about by historical wrongdoings.  They seek to restore all of our humanity and dignity.

To be a witness of this greater doing is a blessing.  A big mahalo goes out to all those working hard every day in the struggle for justice.  Your work empowers all of us. 

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From its earliest grantmaking, in 1972-3 into the 1990s, Hawaii People’s Fund supported community organizing in Honolulu’s Chinatown. The critical grassroots groups were Third Arm and People Against Chinatown Evictions (PACE).


Several continuous Hawaii People’s Fund constituents were part of these groups and one asked if we might help preserve more of the stories from this important period of strategic activism,


Hawaii People’s Fund worked with a UH student-intern in the spring/summer of 2016. Sonja Cookman put this article together. She met with about a dozen organizers from those days. She also scanned a number of original documents, organizational newsletters and media coverage. Hawaii People’s Fund was able to digitize a couple hundred old slides.


The original activists plan to come together to archive more of their memories. Hawaii People’s Fund hopes this article, the first source documents, and the ongoing work of the surviving organizers will help preserve the history and serve to inspire and inform continued struggles against evictions and gentrification and activism for access to health care, housing and dignity for all.

Click the title above or open the document below to read Sonjaʻs paper.


See more pictures by movement photographer, Ed Greevy, here:


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