Lei of Aloha for World Peace is activated again, this time engaging schools across the state to weave ti leaf leis to send to the families of the 17 students and teachers killed in Parkland, Fla., last week.
“We wanted to bring the schools together, to weave their love and aloha into the lei, and we will send a delegation of students and teachers to make the presentations in Florida,” said lei organizer Ron Panzo.
Historically, the Lei of Aloha team has steered clear of the politics of gun violence, using the mile-long lei as a symbolic hug to spread the message that even thousands of miles away, “We Are One.”
This time, inspired by the words of one of the victims to get involved, Lei of Aloha for World Peace will join others in demanding gun law reforms.
“When will enough be enough? We can no longer just offer up the lei and our aloha, our message must be stronger,” Panzo said. “We need to be the change we wish to see.”
On Kauai, Island School teachers Philip Steinbacher and Sabra Kauka will need others to help weave a portion of the ti leaf lei and deliver it to the Puhi school. You can also bring ti leaves already prepped. It’s best to pick long leafed ti.
“We want to send our aloha to all those people in Florida who just experienced a terribly sad shooting of their school and community members,” Kauka said. “We want them to know we care about them, and we want them to know we send our aloha with these lei.”
Kauka and Steinbacher will be spearheading the lei making. They will begin this afternoon at Kauka’s classroom, the Frear Center for Hawaiian Culture &the Arts. Everyone is welcome.
The goal is to create 18 lei, each about an eighth of a mile long, one for each life taken and one to present at the school.
“You can begin now by prepping your ti leaves; clean and de-vein the leaves and stick them in the freezer. We will start weaving at 17 schools across the state on Tuesday and hope to have everything in place to leave on Saturday. There will be many ways to help,” said Stacey Moniz, another organizer.
The group is seeking financial support. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/floridalei. As of Monday evening, $670 had been raised toward the $6,000 goal.
“I invite other schools on Kauai to bring a lei as well,” Kauka said. “I’ll be working there all day until about 8 o’clock at night. We welcome their contribution, because their aloha will be included in the lei as well.”
Info: Cyrila Pych, firstname.lastname@example.org