Straight Talk: Mandating Aloha


Honolulu (KHON2) – Our latest Straight Talk segment with Hoʻokō LLC addressed the concept of “mandating aloha.”

“The past one and a half years have brought about unprecedented change due to the coronavirus,” explains President/Co-Founder Rhesa Kaulia. “As we’re all aware, these changes have been far-reaching and have impacted, and continue to impact lives in so many ways.  One of the most recent and controversial of these changes has to do with the vaccine, to vax or not to vax.  But with this has come what appears to be a shift in our personal, cultural, and societal value system, particularly in Hawaii.  Hawaiʻi used to be a place where aloha was both regarded and practiced, amongst kanaka and kamaʻaina alike.  Since the vaccinations made its appearance, we have never seen more strife, more dissension, more judgment, etc.  To combat this many individuals and businesses have taken to adopting the idea of mandating aloha.  To us, this means not forgetting our roots, not forgetting what Hawaiʻi is about, which is honoring and respecting each other, irrespective of differences.  The differences are what have always made Hawaiʻi unique.  Mandating aloha reminds us to hold space for the uniqueness of each other and the islands.”

“We need to remember that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, whether we agree or not,” stresses Edwina Reyes, Vice-President/Co-Founder.  “There is this idea of choice.  This goes in hand with having this as a right.  Second, we want to keep in mind that other people are not the enemy.  They are human beings, just like us.  They are holding just as fast to their opinion as you are to yours, and they are allowed to.  Each person is going through stress and worries, the same as everyone else.  Consider that you don’t want to be a part of an interaction that perpetuates hate, anger, volatility, etc.  If the situation is with someone you love, you want to consider what that relationship means to you.  Adopt the age old, agree to disagree.”

Kaulia adds, “Keeping this larger value in mind can help to stop the spread of anger and hate that has become rampant.  It has to become the overarching value for kanaka and kamaʻaina alike, if we are to combat these things.  If we continue to feed into the negativity, we will continue to grow further apart, there will continue to be division (including between family members, which we are seeing a lot of) and the atmosphere and culture that was once what so good about Hawaiʻi, will be forever destroyed.  We still have a chance to come together, to show respect for each other and varied opinions, beliefs, and choices, because THAT is what aloha is about.  Honoring diversity and choice will allow for the practice of aloha.”

Reyes recommends these ways to mandate aloha, “Let go of your need to be right and embrace the idea of choice.  This is so important.  Allow others room to be themselves, just like we would when it comes to issues of race or gender or sexuality, or other contextual factors. Don’t force your opinions onto others.  Share information, exchange ideas, have discussions that promote respect for each other as individuals.  Don’t give unsolicited information, advice, etc.  Read the room – is it the time or place to share?  This is not to say there will never be a time to take a stand for beliefs, this is saying that it is counter-productive to force your opinions onto.”

Contact Hoʻokō Counseling Center to reach therapists who are trained to address topics like these. Often people don’t realize that counseling services are covered by most major health insurances.  If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact 808-375-7712 or visit

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