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.