KALIHI, Hawaii (KHON2) — An Oahu community is hoping to inspire change by rewriting the narrative of a neighborhood that is often thought of as crime-ridden amid rising concerns for safety across Hawaii.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
Hundreds turned out for the first WE Are Kalihi walk and celebration and they hope the movement spreads.
“Stronger together” was a big message during the walk; organizers said division is often the root of community issues.
“It really was about having a sense of unity, having a sense of community. I think we wanted people to remember that we’re one community, we’re one people,” said Parents and Children Together program director Kim Golis-Robello said.
Weed and Seed Hawaii — a group that aims to reduce crime through community engagement — said the event was all about getting keiki involved.
“And their voices were heard the most,” said Weed and Seed Hawaii program director Lorrie Kanno. “They were like, ‘Auntie, we’ve got to do this big walk!’ And we’re like, ‘Okay! Whatever you guys want to do, we’re here to support you.’ That’s what we are, as adults, we support the keiki because they’re our future generation.”
Honolulu police Crimemapping shows 14 incidents since Saturday, Sept. 30 in Kalihi Valley — most of them are larceny and vandalism cases.
“People tend to focus on the negative,” Kanno said, “But we’re not going to do that because that’s not what we’re all about. The people are the greatest resources.”
One of those great resources is 18-year-old Cardenas Pintor of the Kalihi/Palama Neighborhood Board, who admitted that Kalihi has a stigma.
“But in reality, you know, these people are hardworking people that just want to help out and get through the day,” Pintor said. “These activities give us the opportunity to give us expansion to our minds and our thinking, there are people that we can talk to, there are neighbors that we can rely upon.”
Saturday’s event was called WE Are Kalihi, but organizers told KHON2 that their message of unity is to all of Hawaii and they hope to inspire similar events in other districts.
“It’s not a Kalihi thing,” Kanno said, “this is a Hawaii thing. We’re all about aloha, this is the aloha state. This is a chance — and a challenge — for everybody to step up and spread aloha everywhere because we can do it as a community.”
“If we bring activities to bring youth,” Golis-Robello said, “I think they’re going to celebrate the differences as well as what’s our commonality, so I think it needs to be happening more often.”