Boerger: ‘Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus outlines 2021 policy priorities’

Emily Boerger, “Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus outlines 2021 policy priorities,” State of Reform, 27 Jan. 2021.

The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) will push for bills to improve women’s health, address violence against women, and support women in the workplace during the 2021 legislative session. The caucus reviewed this year’s legislative package at a virtual breakfast meeting on Wednesday.

The bill package include two bills aimed at preventing violence against women. House Bill 563/Senate Bill 826 would prohibit a convicted sex offender from living within 2,000 feet of a former victim or that victim’s immediate family members. It would require the offender to receive approval from the Attorney General prior to a change in address.

Senator Maile Shimabukuro, who introduced the senate version of the bill, says the bill came by request of one of her constituents. This constituent and her family had endured years of abuse from the father of the children in the family. From prison, the father threatened the family, saying upon his release he would kill them.

“She, in desperation, requested that this bill be introduced,” said Shimabukuro.

She says that as of 2018, six other states have passed similar legislation.

“I really hope that Hawaii can be added to this list to provide much needed protection to victims and their families,” she added.

The other bill, HB 566/SB 829, would add coercive control to the offense of abuse of family or household members as a petty misdemeanor.  Continue reading

Kama’āina (Child of the Land): Award-Winning LGBTQ Short Film about Teenage Homelessness

Synopsis: After suffering abuse from her stepfather, a queer sixteen-year-old must navigate life on the streets, until she eventually finds refuge at the Pu’uhonua o Wai’anae––Hawaiʻi’s largest organized homeless encampment.

Kama’āina (Child of the Land)
Directed by Kimi Howl Lee

“With its picturesque beachy landscapes, the Hawaiian archipelago is at the forefront of many minds as a desired location for a dream vacation. However, with one of the highest homeless rates per capita in the US, as well as one of the highest rates of homeless youth, life for the residents of the islands can be quite different from the one that tourists encounter. In Kama’āina (Child of the Land), writer/director Kimi Howl Lee takes us to Wai’anae, a predominantly native corner of the Oahu island, where influencers rarely venture. Following Mahina, a young woman who had to flee her abusive household, Lee’s thought-provoking and insightful 17-minute film offers a sensitive and authentic approach to chronicling the unfortunate reality and resilience of many LGBTQIA teens.

The motivation for Lee’s film comes from a personal place. As a teenager, spending her summer in Oahu, the director had a fling with a local boy that she came to realize was living out of his car. “Having been romantically involved with someone my age – who was ostensibly homeless – remains one of the most profound, thought-provoking experiences of my life.” she tells us while dwelling on the inspiration behind her film.

Being confronted by this hidden side of the island led her on a journey of self-reflection, sparking a will to shed light on the harsh poverty and homeless crisis, that eventually materialized into the story for Kama’āina. By centering the story around a teenager, the narrative is deepened with a coming-of-age layer. Allowing the situation to be explored with both innocence and understanding, while giving depth to Mahina, the main character, and increasing the audience’s emotional engagement.

Despite how tragic and traumatic the life experience of some of these kids can be, Lee does not use it to serve her narrative by fetishizing poverty. Instead, opting for a realistic process, she cast mostly homeless, first-time actors, including the outstanding and magnetic lead Malia Kamalani – whose life story is the basis for Kamaʻāina. Having permission to shoot in the community adds an extra, essential layer of authenticity to the film and ultimately draws the audience further into her emotive narrative.

Re-enacting her own experiences (to some extent), Malia Kamalani feels like a natural in front of the camera. Portraying a complex, compelling character with a strong personality, she plays the role with perfect subtlety, never pushing for an overly dramatic reaction. Lee captures slight but defining moments from her day to build her character, which Kamalani then injects with a rare sensibility.

The emotional release at the end Kamaʻāina came as somewhat of a surprise, as Lee doesn’t push forcefully on the emotional trigger throughout the film. Cleverly using the contrast between the location and the trauma her character has endured to highlight the unjust situation (both in the film and in real-life), it was the emotional climax of her facing the water, that had me turn on the waterworks.

Kamaʻāina was an official selection at Outfest Fusion and won Best LGBTQ+ Short at the Palm Springs ShortFest ahead of its online release under the Nowness flagship. Kimi Howl Lee was selected for Film Independent’s 2019 Episodic Lab, she is currently a story editor on Netflix’s Locke & Key and was recently staffed on Amazon’s upcoming and (very much) awaited The Expatriates.’ – S/W Curator, Céline Roustan

Cast & Crew:

Malia Kamalani Soon – Mahina
Aria Alexander – Cashier
Twinkle Borge – Twinkle
Nainoa Brown-Kahananui – Nainoa
Sabina Friedman-Seitz – Shayla
Alex Suvusa – Alex

Scott Ray – Cinematographer
Evita Yup Zhoe – Editor
Austin Lau – Gaffer
Elliana Moore – 1s AC
Aubrey Woodiwiss – Colorist
Briana Brackett – Assistant Colorist
Colin Lee – Location Manager
Michael Alemania – Composer
Miya Colleen Lee – 1st AD
Kiki Matsu – Prop Master
Nick Hallbisback – Sound Recordist
Aidan Reynolds – Sound Mixer
Alex Vazelakis – Music Supervisor
Keila Roberts – Graphic Designer

Special Thanks:
Justyn Ah Chong
Mac Arvee Lopez Blue
Walea L. Constantinau
Richard Hamasaki
Jennifer Dang
Annie Li
Adam Luafalemana-Fuiava
Queenie Marcello-Filo
James Pakele
Loretta Soon
Sight and Sound Studios
Erin Uchida
City and Country of Honolulu

Music in this video
Learn more
Song: Lost My Mind
Artist: Lil Wop
Album: Wopavelli 2
Licensed to YouTube by: EMPIRE, Create Music Group, Inc. (on behalf of Bases Loaded Records); LatinAutorPerf, Abramus Digital, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., Create Music Publishing, LatinAutor, and 3 Music Rights Societies
Song: Phenomenon
Artist: Odie
Album: Analogue
Licensed to YouTube by: EMPIRE (on behalf of Unité Recordings / EMPIRE); ASCAP, Sony ATV Publishing, and 6 Music Rights Societies

SA: Raised Crosswalks on Farrington Hwy in Nanakuli

Raised crosswalks to be installed on Farrington Highway in Nanakuli, speed limit reduced to 30 mph
By Star-Advertiser Staff, 7 Jan. 2021

A raised crosswalk on Kalihi Street. Photo courtesy of State Dept. of Transportation

State transportation officials said today that two new, raised pedestrian crossings — also known as speed tables — will be installed on Farrington Highway in Nanakuli in response to two recent, deadly collisions there.

The raised pedestrian crossings, which are intended to make pedestrians more visible and slow drivers down, will be installed at the T-intersection before Piliokahi Avenue and at the highway’s intersection with Laumania Avenue.

Work will begin nightly between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. this Monday, and continue through Thursday of next week.

Lanes on the highway will be closed in each direction between Piliokahi Avenue and Laumania Avenue to allow for the installation of the raised crosswalk across the roadway. One lane in each direction will remain open at all times.

Both raised crosswalks are expected to be completed by Friday morning, weather permitting.

Additional closures will be needed for permanent striping of the crosswalks, which must be done afterwards so paint will adhere properly to new asphalt.

The raised crosswalks to promote pedestrian safety by improving the visibility of pedestrians and providing drivers a physical reminder to reduce their speeds as they enter a residential area, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Officials said at the same time, the speed limit on Farrington Highway between the vicinity of Tracks Beach Park after the Kahe Power Station and Haleakala Avenue will be reduced from 35 mph to 30 mph, while advisory speeds over the raised crosswalks will be 25 mph.

The state previously installed raised crosswalks on Farrington Highway at Ala Walua Street, the Waianae High School exit, Alawa Place, and Maiuu Road, as well as on Pali Highway in the Nuuanu area.

HDOT will collect speed data at the sites to determine how effective the speed tables are at slowing drivers in the area.

Additional information:
HNN: Ben Gutierrez, “New raised crosswalk slows down traffic in Kalihi and more are on the way,” 21 May 2020.