March 4, 2021         


For Information:                                                                   
Joshua Wisch, 808.522.5903 & 808.542.4089


Honolulu, Hawai‘i: The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (ACLU of Hawai‘i) has opened registration for its 2021 Virtual Lobby Week, which will take place the week of March 15th and will include a series of events aimed at bringing people together to discuss important civil rights issues affecting Hawaiʻi’s communities, connecting members of the public to their elected representatives, and providing resources for people to know their rights when experiencing or witnessing police violence and misconduct.

Throughout the week, the ACLU of Hawai‘i will share personal stories of people who have experienced the harsh ramifications of mass incarceration. The ACLU of Hawai‘i is asking community members to share their story by calling (707) 780-ACLU and leaving a 90 second voice message, which will be posted on the ACLU of Hawai‘i’s social media and website.

ACLU of Hawai‘i Field Organizing Director Monica Espitia said: “Across Hawaiʻi, people are being mistreated by Hawaiʻi’s criminal legal system. Some have been unfairly targeted as a result of prosecutorial misconduct. Some are being held because of an unjust cash bail system that strips people of their rights. Others are stuck behind bars due to extreme laws that mandate lengthy sentences with little to no regard for the individual circumstances of one's crimes. These practices fuel Hawaii’s mass incarceration crisis and it's hurting our families and communities. Our goal with these stories is to change hearts and minds about the impact of mass incarceration so we can finally change this unjust system.”

The lobby week’s events will kick off with a civil rights town hall, a meaningful conversation between members of the public, legislators, and other leaders around the state exploring the civil rights issues affecting our communities in Hawaiʻi. The town hall will be moderated by Professor Kenneth Lawson, with brief opening statements from panelists, with the majority of the time reserved for questions from the community. Speakers include Maui County Council Vice-Chair Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, Kauaʻi Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar, Senator Stanley Chang, and Representative Jeanné Kapela.

ACLU of Hawai‘i Civil Rights Town Hall
Date: March 16, 2021
Time: 6:30 p.m. HST
Location: Online, Zoom

ACLU of Hawaiʻi Policy Director Mandy Fernandes said: “This town hall is an opportunity for people from across Hawaiʻi to share their stories and ask elected representatives about issues that directly impact their families and communities, ranging from the role of policing in our neighborhoods, to divesting from jails and prisons and reinvesting in community-based solutions, to ending the persistent criminalization of houselessness that unfairly penalizes people for being poor, to ensuring equal access to health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This event is one way for members of the public to make their voices heard by the elected leaders who create the laws that affect our daily lives.”

Lobby week will continue with the release of the ACLU of Hawaiʻi’s manual on how to report police misconduct in Hawaiʻi. The event will include stories about police misconduct, a discussion about why it is important for community members to speak up about police misconduct, guidance on how to report police misconduct, and a conversation around the most urgent, impactful steps we can take to protect communities from police harm.


ACLU of Hawai‘i Webinar:
How to Report Police Misconduct in Hawaiʻi
Date: March 17, 2021
Time: 6:00 p.m. HST
Location: Online, Zoom

ACLU of Hawaiʻi Legal Director Wookie Kim said: “The ACLU has a long history of litigation and advocacy on police misconduct, including police violence and racist policing. Police misconduct harms not only those who experience racial oppression but also those who face other intersecting forms of oppression, including LGBTQ status and gender identity, disability, and immigration status. Our goal with this manual is to give the public the tools—and the confidence—to speak up and hold police accountable for their actions. We hope that by shining a light on police misconduct, we can begin to de-normalize routine police misconduct.”

The ACLU of Hawai‘i will also participate in a conversation hosted by the Hawaiʻi Council on the Humanities, which will center on the concept of abolition, defined as a political vision with the goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing, and surveillance and creating lasting alternatives to punishment and imprisonment.

Hawaiʻi Council on the Humanities:
Try Think: About Abolition
Date: March 19, 2021
Time: 3:30 p.m. HST
Location: Online, Zoom


The mission of the Hawai‘i affiliate of the ACLU is to protect the civil liberties contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education programs statewide. The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and offers its services at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government funds.