Forgiveness Project

Hawai'i International Forgiveness Day
August 4, 2013, Hawaii State Capitol, Honolulu

Introduction to the Program

Hawai´i International Forgiveness Day honored Queen Lili´uokalani as a Heroine of Forgiveness. The program drew more than 350 people to the Rotunda at the State Capitol in Honolulu, August 4 2013.

We marked the 175th birthday of Hawaii’s Queen, who stood with heart and courage for forgiveness in our Islands. Through oli, prayer, poetry, music, hula, art, film and talkstory, we sought to understand the Queen, the choices she made...and their meaning in our lives today.

Beginning with the Queen as a primary example, we began to create a dialog of forgiveness, and to encourage a daily personal practice of forgiveness -- not only on one summer day, but in a continuing way, building aloha every day of the year.

Recognition of the Queen was simple, respectful, and followed correct protocol, with the help of many Hawaiian leaders.

Acknowledged as a beloved leader of her people throughout her life, she understood the need for forgiveness, despite the great injustices which she and the people of the Hawaiian nation suffered. Queen Lili´uokalani worked tirelessly for justice in her homeland.

Discussions about reconciliation and forgiveness are, by nature, complex, multifaceted and full of potential. The spirit of aloha, when combined with conscious action and focused intention, makes anything possible -- not just for Hawaiians, but for all members of the greater community.

“A Lei for Peace”
honoring Queen Lili´uokalani as a
a Heroine of Forgiveness for Hawai´i

The community participation part of the program focused on the lei -- as a symbol of the ‘aina, of natural beauty, and unity.

To make a lei is both a symbol and a practical action. It creates beauty in the heart of the maker, in those who behold it, and in those who receive and wear it.

Making a lei is a tradition of many Pacific cultures, and is closely associated with Hawaii in common understanding. It is associated with the Queen, who loved flowers so much. To make a lei takes some patience, study, effort and skill; the task brings one into connection with inner peace, and with the ´aina.

It is easy, but complex -- one may learn the basics in ten minutes, and also spend a lifetime learning the intricacies of the tradition.

Presenting a lei to someone is an expression of aloha, of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness.

So we will make lei for peace, to honor the Queen.

There are personal lei -- made to share with others. We brought our own to the Capitol, and also made them at the Capitol during Forgiveness Day. Teachers were present, and materials for lei-making were assembled for all to share. We presented lei to friends, to those who need to experience forgiveness, and to our families.

There was also be a community lei -- many lei, linked together. We began making this big lei on August 4, created a community lei-making activity across the Islands for the following four weeks, so that we ultimately had enough lei, that many people can present them at ‘Iolani Palace on the Queen’s 175th birthday -- September 1, 2013 -- everyone holding a lei in honor of Queen Lili´uokalani.

With the correct words, action, song and poetry, this will send a pono message to the world.

The community process of creating such a lei will also send a significant message to the world. The people attending Forgiveness Day will begin a process, which continues.

Throughout the month of August, there were several lei-making education stations around O’ahu, staffed by volunteers from the many community groups that support the Forgiveness Project.

The last link in the community lei offered at the Palace will be made by key people from the Hawaiian community, and by members of other diverse communities. A living lei.

This community lei will be offered to the Hawaii Peace Day celebration on September 21, to a major peace event in Beijing, on October 20, 2013, and possibly to other peacemaking and forgiveness events around the world.

Click here
for more information about the community lei-making,
and an instructional video teaching how to make a ti-leaf lei.

A respected group of native Hawaiian teachers, leaders and artists, along with kama'aina students of the culture, is helping to ensure that this program honoring Queen Lili'uokalani is conducted correctly, with all pono words, actions and images. They include Poka Laeunui, Kauila Clark, Lynette Cruz, Meleanna Meyer, Maile Meyer, Aunty Fay of Communities in Schools, Ha’aheo Guanson of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center, and Evern Williams of ‘Olelo.

Forgiveness Arts Awards dedicated to Queen Lili'uokalani are now open for entry to all. Two categories are available, and entry is free: Images of Forgiveness and Poetry of Forgiveness. Awards will be presented in public to the audience at the State Capitol, August 4, 2013.

“Behold not with anger the sins of man,
but forgive and cleanse.”

--Queen Lili'uokalani

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