The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives. It will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead. Spaces we typically engage in, such as the streets, courtrooms, jails and prisons — among others — are now increasingly inaccessible due to physical distancing. The fight to protect the civil liberties of all peoples, however, will persist. Each of us who are able must remain vigilant advocates for the issues affecting the United States and Hawai‘i, even during these difficult times.
So our advocacy efforts went digital this year. With the help of other advocates, our team has hosted various webinars to help engage and mobilize folks. Check them out below.
There you will find information about the ACLU’s response to COVID-19, including news updates, blog posts, guidelines, and letters to public officials—as well as other resources.
COVID-19 Response - Protecting Our Rights
On April 7, 2020, the ACLU of Hawai‘i hosted a webinar on COVID-19 reponse actions, civil liberties concerns, and how people can get involved. Our Executive Director Josh Wisch opened the webinar. Speakers included our Legal Director Mateo Caballero, Campaign Director Monica Espitia, Dr. Kealoha Fox, Dr. Seiji Yamada and Dr. Scott Miscovich. They discussed the dangers of overcrowding and social distancing in jails and prisons; racial inequities matching health disparities; the current state situation with testing, spreading, containment and sanitation; and more. There was also time for Q&A.
Know Your Rights: Protesting and the Police Training
On Friday, June 5, 2020, following the untimely murder of George Floyd in May and the eruptions of demonstrations for Black Lives Matter, the ACLU of Hawaii's Field Organizer Shayna Lonoaea-Alexander and Legal Director Mateo Caballero hosted a Zoom training on protesting and policing in Hawai‘i.
Policing and Communities of Color in Hawai‘i Webinar
On July 16, 2020, as people continued to demand justice for those murdered by police and racism, our Field Organizer Shayna Lonoaea-Alexander hosted a webinar on overpolicing in communities of color and reimagining the police.
Smart Justice Advocacy Training
On June 22, 2020, Field Organizer Shayna Lonoaea-Alexander held a digital Smart Justice advocacy training. The training covered how to contact lawmakers (and why you should!), submit testimony on bills and some of our priority bills for the 2020 Legislative Session.
On July 9, 2020, the ACLU of Hawai‘i and co-partners Ekolu Mea Nui and the Matsunaga Institute for Peace hosted a virtual Honolulu Prosecutor Candidate Forum featuring the candidates Steve Alm, RJ Brown, Jacquie Esser, Megan Kau, Tae Kim, and Dwight Nadamoto. Candidates were asked on key Smart Justice issues. The forum was moderated by Jen Jenkins, a public policy advocate who focuses their work on homelessness and transforming the justice system in Hawai‘i.
Here is an American Sign Language interpretation of the forum:
On Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 6pm, the ACLU of Hawai‘i and HuliHIA hosted a virtual Hawai‘i Island Prosecutor Candidate Forum. All candidates were invited to attend and the candidates participating in the forum are: Jared Kamakakulani Auna and Christopher Bridges. The forum was moderated by Ian Paleks, a successful member of Men of Pa‘a, an organization whose mission is to “be of service in our community with intent and purpose” and “to foster partnerships and collaborations with other organizations.”
Expungement Week 2020 Webinar
For Expungement Week 2020, the ACLU of Hawai‘i partnered with the Hawaii Innocence Project, ‘Ekolu Mea Nui, the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to bring you resources on expungement and criminal justice reform.