"The Economy of Aloha" by Kealoha Pisciotta

Posted by Lauren Muneoka at Dec 23, 2011 05:05 PM |
"The Economy of Aloha" by Kealoha Pisciotta, KAHEA's new Board President

Rough financial times have us all reflecting on the fate of our economy. We think the concepts that direct our actions in our daily lives – Aloha, Mālama `Āina, Kuleana – should also direct our actions in everything we do, even the economy. The economy of Aloha, so to speak.

When we talk about the economy of Aloha, think Baby Lū`au. When a baby makes one year—most Hawaiian families make a rather large feast to celebrate this auspicious occasion. At the lū`au everyone eats and celebrates the occasion. Lū`au are more than potluck get-togethers, but rather events where all who come, contribute, eat and celebrate—and the interdependence of the `ohana is renewed—that is how it has been in Hawai`i for a long time.

Lū`au happen all year long, in spite of the fact that state, federal and global statistics all identify Hawaiians as one of the most economically impoverished people in our society. It is nothing short of amazing that Hawaiian families, despite it all, can pull together lū`au throughout the year.

The secret? Aloha. The family gets together, they decide what to serve the people, and then they set off to make it happen. It happens not because we have money to cater the event, but rather because each member of the family sets their intentions to make the celebration happen--each putting their Aloha into action. The idea is not how much each can give but how the gift is given—it is always given in love. So the brothers go fishing, the Aunties gather and make hoi`o and limu salad, the cousins collect kālā for the paper goods, the Uncles get the pig, `opihi, crab and so on and so forth. And, then all is prepared, everyone is fed, and left to enjoy good music, and to celebrate the beauty of life. When we take a small gift given in Aloha we can make big things happen--pretty amazing stuff.

Now, at KAHEA, we are not making baby lū`au, but we do try to allow Aloha to direct everything we do. This should include fundraising. Currently, we have a small group of dedicated staff, interns and volunteers that make all of our work possible. Those who do get paid, do not get paid very much because they believe in what they are doing—the mission of KAHEA, moving for a more beautiful, clean, healthful, sustainable and just Hawai`i.

Like people and organizations throughout Hawai`i, KAHEA continues to face difficult financial times, while continuing to work our hardest to make sure our keiki have a more beautiful and sustainable Hawai`i.

If we took the lessons of the baby lū`au and applied the economy of Aloha principle to KAHEA, then it stands to reason that if each and every member of the `Ohana gave what they could, we could fund the work of KAHEA.

Here’s an example: KAHEA currently has about 12,000 who participate in action alerts to protect the `āina. If every one of KAHEA's action alert members gave $1 a month (just a dalla!), all of KAHEA'’s base monthly expenses would be covered.

Imagine what we could do with $2... or $5 a month!

We now have a way for you to automate such a  monthly donation without having to remember to give every month, click here to see how easy it is!

I and my fellow board members are putting our dallas on the table and asking the KAHEA hui of friends and family to also consider joining us in this fundraising campaign to bring forth a new kind of economy--the economy of Aloha!  Click here to join us!

The work at KAHEA is critical to the future we want for Hawai`i nei--and for our `ōpio, keiki, kamali`i. It cannot happen without all of us contributing some of our time, talents, voice, and, yes, dallas, to the effort. Aloha makes big things happen.

Mahalo pumehana for your support this year. We wish you and all a joyous holiday season.

Me ka ha`aha`a,
Kealoha Pisciotta

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