Getting Involved in Statehood Celebrations

Governor Linda Lingle encourages Molokai residents to share their mana`o.

By Governor Linda Lingle

Aloha!

Last year, I was proud to sign into law a bill requiring the creation of a 25-member commission to develop, plan and coordinate activities to honor the 50th anniversary of Hawai‘i’s admission to the United States.

I addressed members of the 50th Anniversary of Statehood Commission at their first meeting in November 2007 in order to reinforce the importance of organizing culturally sensitive events and programs that honor the past, respect the present and look to the future, and that also invite the participation of both residents and visitors statewide.

My hope is that the comprehensive plan announced by the Statehood Commission last month will engage the public – including Moloka‘i residents – in a lively and thought-provoking discussion about the significance of statehood.

A year-long series of events to commemorate Hawai‘i’s golden anniversary of statehood started in August. The plan’s varied components provide people of all ages with opportunities to reflect on how statehood has contributed to the Hawai‘i of today and the direction we are headed as the youngest and most ethnically and culturally diverse state in America. For more information about how to become involved, Moloka‘i residents can e-mail statehood@hawaii.gov or visit www.hawaii.gov/statehood.

Hawai‘i’s distinctive history inspired commission members to focus their efforts on community education. A major highlight of the programs they’ve planned is 50 Voices of Statehood, a series of radio and television vignettes recorded for posterity by the award-winning Searider Productions of Wai‘anae High School on O‘ahu.

Featuring diverse and personal perspectives on statehood from 50 residents from across the island chain, the weekly vignettes started airing on several television stations and more than 60 radio stations statewide on Aug. 25 and will last an entire year. The commission has also created an interactive, online forum (www.seariderproductions.com/50voices) so that teachers can incorporate the vignettes into their classrooms.

To ensure that events commemorating statehood have a broad reach, each county will host several island-specific events that will be coordinated by the neighbor island representatives to the commission, including Maui County representative Deidre Tegarden.

Working in conjunction with the U.S. Mint, the commission also plans to host simultaneous events on Nov. 10, 2008 for the Hawai‘i state quarter on O‘ahu and the neighbor islands, providing visitors and kama‘?ina with an opportunity to complete their 50-state quarter set.

The year-long activities will culminate with a one-day public conference on Aug. 21, 2009 called Commemorating the 50th State: New Horizons for the Next 50 Years, at which local, national and international leaders will gather to discuss topics about Hawai‘i’s past, present and future, including technology in our daily lives, education for the next generation, the 21st century economy, and a break-out session entitled “Native Hawaiians: Cultural Navigation in a Sea of Change.”

I know that Moloka‘i residents offer valuable perspectives on the significance of statehood to Hawai‘i. I encourage you to find information on additional events and learn how to get involved at www.hawaii.gov/statehood. In addition, please feel free to send my office your input on this and other initiatives at governor.lingle@hawaii.gov.

Mahalo,
Governor Linda Lingle

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