Convening at CNHA member organization Keiki O Ka Aina Family Learning Center for its work to connect children with their mothers in the system, roundtable speakers included Michelle Kauhane, CNHA President and CEO; Annelle Amaral, member of Hawaii Paroling Authority and president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Oahu Council; and a formerly incarcerated staff member at the center who graciously shared her story of reentry into society.
“The school-to-prison pipeline undoubtedly disproportionately affects Native Hawaiians as well,” commented CNHA President & CEO Michelle Kauhane. “40% of Hawaii’s inmate population is Native Hawaiian. We need to be looking at the root causes of our overly incarcerated population – lack of a living wage, poor public schools, an unfair criminal justice system.”
APALA National President Johanna Puno Hester added: “It is so important that we include Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in all policy discussions including efforts to reform the criminal justice system because there is so much alignment with the incarceration of Asian American folks more broadly. Even still, NHPI populations also experience different strains like being separated from their families as brothers and sisters are sent to do their time on the continental U.S.”
“We’re so excited to welcome Michelle Kauhane to APALA's advisory committee on NHPI issues, co-chaired by APALA National Executive Board Members Executive Secretary-Treasurer Josie Camacho and State Director of the United Public Workers, Dayton Nakanelua,” added APALA Executive Director Gregory A. Cendana. “Hawaii has the highest density of Asian American and Pacific Islander union members, and with this newly formed committee we hope to better voice the perspectives of the NHPI community in our advocacy, organizing and movement building.”
The APALA National Executive Board passed a resolution reaffirming our commitment to uplift Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander issues. To view the full resolution, please click here. APALA continues to advocate for a reformed criminal justice system through AAPIs Beyond Bars, a coalition of labor, education, civil rights, and criminal justice organizations addressing mass incarceration and deportation in the AAPI community.
The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the well being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic, political and community development of Native Hawaiians.