July 31 is a national holiday known as Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day). King Kamehameha III established this holiday in a days-long celebration following the rightful return of sovereign government to Hawaiʻi by the United Kingdom, after an illegal seizure by one of their representatives. He proclaimed, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono”–the ea (sovereignty, life, breath) of our land is perpetuated through justice. Hawaiians continue to breathe life into our sovereignty, and one way we do this is to celebrate ka Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea. After decades of suppression, the celebrations were revived in 1985 by Uncle Kekuni Blaisdell and other kānaka aloha ʻāina as a way to give voice to Hawaiian independence and to issues surrounding the return and demilitarization of Hawaiian lands.
We invite you to celebrate Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea in your community, or to join the LHE Honolulu ʻohana at Thomas Square on the last Sunday in July from noon – 6pm.
New for 2020
LHE-Honolulu’s overarching goal is to create free public education and cultural programming focused on Hawaiian national-level and community-level independence. The July series strengthens the diverse and multi-talented network of independence-minded people and organizations. Events in the series raise awareness about the historical significance of LHE while also building community capacity to exercise Ea Hawaiʻi today and into the future. LHE Honolulu is the longest-running, grassroots organized Hawaiian independence event, and the current organizing team has expanded it from a single day to a full month of activities that reach different audiences through a range of events.
The expansion of LHE from a single-day event into a series of celebrations throughout July has substantially broadened our reach over the years. Last year, we reached about 2,000 people through face-to-face programming. This year, we are challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and have had to plan creatively to move the series to the online world. While we are sad to miss out on the kind of face-to-face relationship-building that builds people power, we are excited about the opportunity to see how a month-long online/hybrid series might potentially reach more and/or different people than ordinarily come out to the Thomas Square main event and the additional events that we have added over the years.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to move much of the LHE-H series online. We will lead five threads, with each holding one online event per week for the entire month of July. These individual threads will weave together, like an ʻaha cord, made stronger by each strand.
- Hōʻike Ea thread (Mondays, starting July 6) – Instead of the usual EAducation conference, this series will feature content that families can use in their home-based EAducation efforts, or that teachers can use.
- Nā Hua Ea thread – Instead of the spoken word and mele night usually held in Waipao at Papahana Kuaolaʻs site, this series will include poetry/mele-writing workshops and performances by revolutionary Hawaiian poets and singer/song-writers.
- HoʻĒA drive-in movie – HōʻEA Hawaiian Film Showcase celebrates Kanaka Maoli and Indigenous filmmakers. It features a new generation of storytellers, as well as predecessors who blazed the trail. This year, we are excited to be able to do an advanced screening of “Hawaiian Soul.” The drive-in movie will be shown at Ka Waiwai Collective.
- ʻAha Mele Ea thread – Instead of the concert usually held in a nightclub, ʻAha Mele Ea will be producing an album featuring local revolutionary hip hop, reggae and Hawaiian musicians.
- LHE “main event” speaker series thread (not yet confirmed)- Instead of speaking at Thomas Square, ʻĪmai will host this series of Hawaiian leaders bringing vision to advance Ea Hawaiʻi in a post-COVID19 future.
We are not selecting new kūpuna honorees this year because we do not want anyone to be deprived of face-to-face honor and ceremony.