Tag Archives: community

That New Neighborhood Vibe

Kaka’ako, once a bustling area for fishing and salt harvesting, is now an experiment in urban island culture.  Creative spaces for delectable dining and tipples are popping up on the regular, like Hank’s Haute Dogs (oh, lobster dog, you will be mine!), the collaborative culinary community at Taste, and the authentic NY hipster joint, Bevy (happy hour $1 oysters?  Oh, yes indeed.).  Amidst the warehouses, auto shops, and old school mom and pop shops, Kaka’ako’s future iteration is gaining momentum, heading toward (what I hope will be) a green, walkable, long-term sustainable ‘hood, supporting local talent and business.

A Burgeoning Kaka’ako

On Friday, I walked past a brand new integrative healing center that just opened up a half a block from my apartment.  Offering tea ceremony, ikebana lessons, yoga and the Okada Method, The Mokichi Okada Association will bring much needed nourishment to the populous elderly community here in Kaka’ako. The tea room is stunning and the welcome is warm, I highly recommend checking it out.

When there’s huli-huli chicken smoke in the air, you know something good is going down.  Saturday marked the opening of Kaka’ako’s farmer’s market – woo hoo!  I arrived at opening hour, around 8:00 a.m., and already the stalls were heaving with little old ladies, small families, and a few of us solo-shoppers.  Most vendors I spoke to were from the North Shore and Waianae – and everything I’ve eaten so far has been divine.  Check out some of the photos below for a visual breakdown!

Art galleries and nonprofits, a bike shop, a dope new ‘hood magazine, it seems like Kaka’ako can do no wrong.  Then again, the prospect of multiple high-rise condominiums looms with an ominous tone.  What kind of traffic will all those new residents bring?  Will the housing be made *reasonably* affordable?  And though this may be more of an island-wide concern, what can we do to help the homeless sprinkled about our quiet urban petri dish?  Building a new neighborhood, especially in Hawaii, is no simple endeavor.

Despite the challenges ahead, I see Kaka’ako as a prime opportunity to create a real ‘hood community in Hawaii, the kind of space that may play a vital role in encouraging reverse brain drain.  So many of Hawaii’s talented individuals leave the islands, never to return, many because they don’t see a place for themselves back on ‘the rock.’  Most of the island is based on a car-culture, which, though convenient for big families, has been proven to be socially isolating, detrimental to physical health, and inherently oil-dependent.

Some of the more frustrating aspects to island life are the slow pace and resistance to change.  Having just returned home, I hesitate to make grand broad statements about what “should be” (like the rail, more bike lanes, world peace, etc.)   But this is an exciting time for Honolulu, most especially if residents and developers alike can approach the evolution of Kaka’ako with transparency, vision, and a commitment to community.


Third Root Open House


Free yoga, acupuncture, massage, kirtan, snacks, and plenty of smiles to go around . . . brilliant peeps from the neighborhood, friends & students, healers & educators . . . today I’m grateful for the Third Root Open House.  I absolutely adore putting together events, and though I only played a small role in this one, it felt so nice to just get out there and talk to community members over a nice cup of freshly brewed herbal tea.

Warms the heart on a snow-kissed winter’s night . . .

Black Women’s Blueprint

Upon arrival in my second (third? tenth?) home here in NYC, the collective I’m a part of met in the most comfortable and welcoming of venues at the Black Women’s Blueprint headquarters.  The quaint Brooklyn brownstone is tucked away in Leffert’s Garden, just west of Prospect Park, and from the outside, you would never imagine what powerful art and fabulous community service is being done inside!


What is Black Women’s Blueprint?

Black Women’s Blueprint, Inc. is a civil and human rights organization of women and men. Our purpose is to take action to secure social, political and economic equality in American society now. We work to develop a culture where women of African descent are fully empowered and where gender, race and other disparities are erased. We engage in progressive research, historical documentation, support movement building and organize on social justice issues steeped in the struggles of Black women within their communities and within dominant culture.

Read more about the work BWB is doing today.

We spent the day sharing our experiences with and relationship to money on a personal level before delving into the nitty gritty of our 2013 budget.  It may not sound like the most appetizing of subjects for a day retreat, but with the right people – and food from We Love Food catering – we all had a fun and productive time.





It also didn’t hurt to be surrounded by such rich history – we all shared the honor of eating at the same table as Rosa Parks once had, in the Legacy Room.  This special space is dedicated to Edith Savage-Jennings, a freedom fighter in the Wednesday Mississippi Women, a group vital to the Civil Rights Movement.  Now that’s inspirational.



So mesi mesi for this rich space to work in today . . . may the spirit of past icons of justice coarse through our work for the future . . .