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Building Community in Hawai‘i Through Virtual Conversation

Hawaii Council for the Humanities

As Hawai'i establishes a new normal, how different will it be, from what we had before? Hawai'i could be very different, and a series of community talk story sessions are underway to explore alternatives.

Rob Chang from the Hawai'i Council for the Humanities said their Try Think virtual talk story sessions are bringing unexpected people together in the comfort of their own homes.

Groups have ranged up to twenty participants, teens to retired executives. The main thing, Chang said, is offering a safe space to talk.

"We are interested in questions, questions that help challenge what we think, help us explore. Help us re-imagine. We like when our room is filled with diverse perspectives," he said.

The Try Think virtual community discussions spring out of essays in "The Value of Hawai'i: Hulihia, the Turning."

These essays, by Hawai'i-based thinkers and community leaders, are free and available online.

On Wednesday, April 14, one session will dig into building coalitions across different communities. Poet Serena Ngaio Simmons said the deep reckoning going on now, does bring new questions.

"A lot of us who are involved in foundation laying, in community building, those of us who aren't from here, who aren't from the land, how do we bring our love for our homes into the work that we do here for someone else's home?"

Deeper, more substantive conversations with people you don't know yet--participants range across the state and out of state as well.

Upcoming topics include an aloha aina economy, public education, and a smarter correctional system.

The Try Think Hulihia conversation series happens every other week, Wednesdays and Fridays through October. Find the schedule online at

Noe Tanigawa covered art, culture and ideas for two decades at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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