Guest speaker

Abolition in Hawaiʻi

Description of presentation:
Discussion led by abolitionist organizers Aree Worawongwasu and Noelle Kakimoto from the Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective. Abolishing prisons, policing, and the military are heated topics with easily manipulated definitions, so Aree and Noelle explained what abolitionists truly want and why these goals are beneficial for everyone. Starting with a quick background on how abolition developed, Aree and Noelle lead audiences into today’s movements for community safety, accountability, and healing outside of the inherently racist and punitive legal system. They shared influences from revered abolitionists like Mariame Kaba and Ruth Wilson Gilmore and present possibilities of what a Hawaiʻi without prisons, policing, and the military will look like.

Aree Worawongwasu’s bio:
Aree Worawongwasu (อารีรัตน์ วรวงศ์วสุ) is a Mon Teochew Thai community organizer, cultural worker, and educator from Bangkok. She is a member of Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective and a PhD student at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she is a teaching assistant in Indigenous Studies and Ethnic Studies. She is the Director of Communications for the Afro-Asia Working Group and a technician for Dark Laboratory, a collective for Black and Indigenous relationality. As a diasporic Indigenous woman, Aree is deeply committed to and in solidarity with the movement for Hawaiian self-determination.

Noelle Kakimoto’s bio:
Noelle Kakimoto is a Kanaka Maoli organizer and writer born and raised in Honolulu. She is a co-founder of the Hawaiʻi Abolition Collective and is on the board of Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice in her free time, and she works for the Office of the Public Defender as an Appellate Legal Clerk and a freelance sports writer at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Noelle is passionate about building abolitionist futures in Hawaiʻi and she wants to establish connections between Hawaiians and other communities in our shared struggles. Her goal is to do reentry work with people who are released from prison.

Suggested resources:

8toAbolition.com
A Nation Rising
ACLU Hawaii report on bail in Hawai’i (2018)
Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System, OHA Report
HawaiiCommunityBailFund.org
Community Alliance on Prisons
Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission
Puʻuhonua Penpal Program
instagram.com/kalihirisingco/

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