A Letter to You in COVID-19

By Lyz Soto on April 3, 2020

Aloha mai kākou,

Never has that greeting resonated so resoundingly. We give you salutations in love and community. We greet you as part of our beautiful net of compassion, gratitude, and grace. We extend our thanks to all those who are placing themselves at risk to help others in this time of crisis. We send our hope to all our kūpuna and to all those who find themselves in vulnerable situations.

The last few weeks have unfolded in a surreal fashion. HIHumanities has had to postpone all of our public programming until further notice, however we are working to create digital spaces for connection and thoughtfulness.

Many of us are hovering in the liminal spaces of uncertainty. The news about COVID-19 has been troubling and inconsistent, but it has become clear that the virus is going to be with us for awhile and we need to take its impact seriously, so what do we do? In Hawaiʻi, we take care of each other, and we are a place that is so rich in community and support. But how do we do that in times of isolations and distance?

In their most recent blog, Prentis Hemphill wrote:
“Whatever our conditions become moving forward, if we are to survive while staying close to the path of liberation – choice, care, authenticity and intimacy have to be our north stars. It’s an opportunity to find each other in another way.”

They emphasize consent and connection. So many of us have been denied access to the former—the agency to choose how connection is employed with us. Perhaps this is opportunity for a reset, an understanding that connection and consent are pieces of the same quilt as we strengthen the stitching that pulls us together.

In the coming weeks, HIHumanities is developing paths “to finding each other in other ways” and sharing resources in innovative ways. We’ll include suggested activities and community resources that you can partake in safely and securely. We also invite you to help us create a larger humanities network that helps us build our sense of resilience and care.

e mālama i kou kino,

Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities