VOICES: Kaua‘i living the essence of Aloha

In the closing days of 2020 — a year like no other — amidst the uncertainty, anxiety and dislocating change that the coronavirus has brought to Kaua‘i, let us celebrate one shining fact about our island community that has been demonstrated over and over again in the past year — that we care about each other and take care of each other.

The aloha that has poured forth to keep everyone afloat has been amazing. From individuals and families; small businesses and large corporations; labor unions; churches; nonprofits; our food banks; those with monetary wealth, others of modest means and others of limited means but big hearts; those born and raised here, longtime residents, newcomers and visitors; first responders and essential workers; young and old; it seems everyone has tried to do his or her part to make sure those hardest hit by the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19, would be okay.

This outpouring of kokua and kuleana doesn’t remove all the loss, and the danger is not over yet, but so far, people have supported each other in beautiful ways — a heartwarming affirmation of who we are — and surely a reflection of the Christmas message.

Mayor Kawakami and his team are to be commended and thanked for their courageous decisions and tireless actions, especially in opting out of the so-called “Safe Travels” plan to protect us from being overwhelmed by infected incoming travelers. Mahalo, too, to The Garden Island, for its coverage of the many ways that Kauaians have been helping each other. To reflect the community is to show its brilliance.

As we know, it’s not over yet, even with the hope of the vaccine. If we have learned anything this year, it’s that we cannot predict the future. But there is reassurance and resilience in knowing that we are there for each other as we enter the new year. Great job, Kaua‘i, for living the essence of Aloha!

Wishing all of you and your families the very best blessings of health, peace, and joy in the new year!


JoAnn Yukimura is a former Kaua‘i County mayor and councilmember. She helped to start The Kaua‘i Bus and Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, and was instrumental in stopping high-rises on Kaua‘i.

  1. Mr.Ford December 31, 2020 12:11 pm Reply

    I put my hope in God. Try to escape death is like trying to out smart God. This is not a plague so, why all the control? Why all the hope in humans? Why praise humans for our safety? There is not helper but God. He leads people and He also leads astray people; if people don’t look towards Him, satan and his soothsayer will leave you in the lurch.

    1. Mrs.Tesla January 1, 2021 3:28 pm Reply

      So, do you also think ‘God” will save you from walking off of a cliff?

  2. LTEreader December 31, 2020 10:02 pm Reply

    Nicely said JoAnn. This year the outpouring of support for one another on Kaua’i has been exceptional.

  3. J. D. January 1, 2021 6:18 am Reply

    The death rate for our country is down considerably in 2020. Where is the flu?

    1. Citation needed January 1, 2021 3:29 pm Reply

      I’ve never seen a study showing the deaths are down. Can you point us all to your information?

  4. Chiem Ma January 1, 2021 10:21 am Reply

    The evidence that Kauaʻi chose well is all around us. While the rest of the nation tires of defending against the deadly disease and approaches four thousand deaths per day, Kauai remains diligent and has only seen one death on our island (so far). Yes, there have been economic consequences to remaining closed, but let’s not kid ourselves: economic disaster has been wrought nationwide, both in places diligently protecting themselves and in places not. Indeed, we are better off than many because of the giving and caring nature of our island’s residents.

    With the vaccine now in distribution, it would be foolish to relax our guard at the last moment after having already sacrificed so much. We’ve largely already paid one economic cost, must we pay a further social, emotional, and additional economic one too? I don’t know how much a Covid hospitalization on Kauaʻi costs, but nationwide sources report it to be around thirty to eighty thousand dollars on top of whatever emotional and long-term problems may come with the disease.

    We must continue to rely on one another, repeat traveler testing, and resort bubbles for a few more months. The temptation to remove all travel restrictions is strong, as the last 8 months have been hard: but imagine adding to that hardship of a $50,000 hospital bill per victim, long-term health effects, deaths, and subsequent family trauma vs. our current hardships continuing for another 2-3 months to get our most vulnerable vaccinated.

    When this is over, we will all have Mayor Kawakami to thank for helping us get through this horrible year relatively unscathed compared to the rest of the nation. Wear a mask. Social distance. Be kind. The end is in sight.

    1. Dry-wreck January 1, 2021 3:37 pm Reply

      Cowardcommie can pound sand. He showed he’s actually really scared and has low self esteem. He’s all over the place open, shut, open, shut give a little clap clap clap.

    2. Rick January 2, 2021 6:25 am Reply

      Now that the precedent has been set, there is NO end in sight. Your faith in our government and corporations will ultimately be your demise.

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