1. On Monday, Feb. 3, the Hawaiʻi House Committees on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs and Health will hear HB1616, a bill that will allow state agencies to plan around and invest resources in addressing "social determinants of health," particularly those affecting Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Filipino communities in Hawaiʻi. By comprehensively addressing "social determinants" such as cultural, linguistic, economic, and other barriers to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Hawaiʻi has the opportunity to substantially reduce healthcare costs while improving the health and well-being of health-vulnerable Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos, along with all others facing similar obstacles to a healthy life.*
2. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, the Senate drivers licensing access bill (SB2935) will have its first hearing. This is the bill that Jose Vargas spoke in favor of during his visit here, that could increase access to transportation and vehicular insurance (and decrease insurance costs), mitigate the high levels of racial profiling and civil rights violations reportedly occurring in Maui and Honolulu counties, and provide some security for workers who are currently undocumented yet contribute an estimated $50 million to our local economy. Long-time COFACAN supporter and FACE/Hawai'i Coalition for Immigration Reform organizer Reverend Stan Bain (pictured here with Joakim Peter of COFACAN) also spoke in support of this bill at our last COFACAN meeting.*
*If you would like to testify on these measures, please sign up or a capitol account (if you have not done so) here: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/login/register.aspx; then sign in to your account and enter HB1616 or SB2935 in the "Bill Status/Measure Status" field (click on "Submit Testimony" on the top middle of the subsequent page).
3. Inequality for All movie screening (free)-- On Thursday, February 6, at 5:30 p.m. in St. Andrews Cathedral, the Hawai'i Peoples Fund, Unite Here! Local 5, Faith Action for Community Equity, and the Hawai'i Appleseed Center (formerly known as Lawyers for Equal Justice) will cosponsor a screening of "Inequality for All," a film documentary that throws open a window into the growing economic disparities in the United States, aka the "land of equality." COFACAN supporters and allies are sponsoring the film screening, so we should have many friends at this event! For details and to RSVP, click here.