Report Back on Okinawa IWNAM Gathering at Lā Hoʻi Hoʻi Ea 2017

by El-Rae C

This June 22-26, 2017, seven women from Hawaiʻi went to Okinawa for the International Women’s Network Against Militarism gathering. There, we reported on the militarization of Pōhakuloa, the Depleted Uranium in the bullets and bombs littered in the soil, being kicked up by the blasts and winds, affecting the surrounding communities.  We talked about the danger that the Navy fuel tanks in Red Hill poses to Oahu’s drinking water along the south shore.  We talked about the Hawaiian movement that stopped the bombing of Kaho’olawe, and are restoring the land and people’s relationships to it.  
We reported the U.S. has outright stolen Hawaiian Kingdom lands and then built military infrastructure on top of it. We corrected how the U.S. mis-educates people about U.S. annexation and Statehood, and interrupt how Hawai’i is seen as America. We had to because so many people from around the world, settle here looking for work, thinking they can just assimilate into American ideas of success and forget where they came from and where they are at.
Our delegation to Okinawa wanted to show how Hawai’i’s movement for demilitarization needs to bridge indigenous people and settlers, it needs to be an inter-ethnic movement, to heal the way that empire and militarization destroys our ancestral lands and tries to pit us against each other.

The Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance Policy
aka the Pacific Pivot
grows in name because it is expanding U.S. military presence in the Pacific region by 2025, to include South Asia and the Indian Ocean.  
Each Nation-state should be more equipped to protect its “mutual security” with the U.S.  
this means: continue to “fear” Others labeled as “terrorists.”
China and North Korea are propped up as “threats”

Korean activists on the ground teach
the North Korean threat is propaganda
to keep the Status of Forces Agreement and US Military presence in South Korea
to tell the lie that North Korea is enemy.
remember the armistice between North and South
Reunify the peninsula.

Japanese peace activist fight their own Status of Forces Agreement that allows U.S. bases there
after World War II, they could not have a military, because of its imperial past.
But now, Japan concentrates those U.S. bases in Okinawa, where the Battle took place
where environment and lives of the Okinawans are still sacrificed.  
Sympathy Budget and Self-Defense Force, conservative Japan wants to support
the US military agenda

Filipina activists fight the Visiting Forces Agreement, that allows the U.S. to conduct jungle warfare training with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Muslim, Indigenous and displaced farmers resist the theft of their lands for corporate extraction and military aggression
they are labeled “terrorists” and “New People’s Army,”
The VFA has evolved into the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to expand U.S.-Philippine military exercises and infrastructures
Strong man Duterte stands by U.S. military presence to “discipline” Marawi and Martial Law in Mindanao.
The U.S. keeps neocolonial Philippines as lil Brown Brother to watch China and pimp the South China Sea.

Turtle Island folks speak against collaboration between the domestic police and the U.S. military
Operation Urban Shield.
excessive use of force
lead to deaths of unarmed Black and Brown people.
Black Lives Matter!
The militarization of the Dakota Access Pipeline Project is aggressive against water protectors.
Water is life!

Chamorros fight the Mariana Islands Range Complex
Imprisoning their Islands and Seas as war training zones
Liteksan, home of ancient Chamorros and mother species of endangered tree
slated for destruction by Live Fire Training.  
The MIRC serves as a Western Pacific corridor
to connect with Hawaii’s military sites of the North/Central Pacific.   

Puerto Ricans fight to self-determine their political status.  
A plebiscite asked these questions:
Do you want to be 1) Independent/Free Association, 2) Keep Current Territorial Status or 3) Join U.S.?
70% boycotted the colonial election.  
27% of registered voters went to the polls and voted for Statehood.

These movements root their problems in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance Policy
connecting these places to weaponize our oceans and lands.
It's being strategized and implemented here in Hawai’i at Camp Smith, Pacific Command and Security Research Institutes in Waikiki and the University of Hawaiʻi.
We need to flip the “mutual militarized security” script to “mutual genuine security”.

  • We can make connections between indigenous Hawaiian and working people from militarized countries to stand together against militarism, corporate extraction and destruction of the natural environment
  • We can create decolonization and demilitarization education for all because we each need ancestral help to do long haul work of building societies that don’t depend on bases and war.

Crafting a Pattern for Peace

May 23, 2017

Dear Friends,

Continuous war and investment in war will never bring peace. Instead, we can invest in genuine security by supporting efforts that are building peace by working for the health of our environment, cultures, and peoples. Women’s Voices Women Speak is asking for your help to fund a delegation of eight women to represent Hawaiʻi at the 9th International Women’s Network Against Militarism gathering in Naha, Okinawa “Challenge Militarism and Create a Sustainable Future.”

At this meeting, WVWS will represent Hawaiʻi’s own desire and vision for peace with other women from Korea, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, Guam, the U.S. and Puerto Rico. At our meeting we will share strategy and analysis about policy, economics, environment, education, the health and safety of women and children, and international grassroots solidarity. Through these ongoing talks and relationship building, we can create the channels for other sources of knowledge to help us see beyond the propaganda that wants to keep us divided and fighting against each other.

Donations will also help support activism after the eight delegates return to Hawaiʻi, including a community report to share our findings from the meeting and also a campaign for education and organizing in response to Rim of the Pacific war games (RIMPAC) in 2018, a transnational maritime exercise that takes place in Hawaiʻi every other year.

Please donate to WVWS effort to organize locally and internationally at our donation page: and check out the video about why we are going and what we stand for. Another way you can help is to spread this email, the gofundme page, and the video throughout your networks, asking for others to stand with us by investing in peace.

In Solidarity,
Women’s Voices Women Speak

Thank you to those who have already contributed funds:
Hawaiʻi Peace and Justice
Urgent Action Fund
Hawaiʻi People’s Fund
Global Fund for Women
Attendees of Kauaʻi to Korea Event
Hawaiʻi-Okinawa Alliance

"because we have chosen each other"

by Aiko
for Women's Voices Women Speak February retreat
for Ellen, for Christine A, for Caitlin, for Kim, for Grace, for Dori, for Christine L., for Aunty Terri, for Daniella, for Kelsey, for Eloise, for Kasha, for Reyna, for Shelley, and for our ancestors and loves

Because Audre Lorde once wrote:
we have chosen each other
and the edge of each otherʻs battles
the war is the same
if we lose
one day womenʻs blood will congeal
upon a dead planet
if we win
there is no telling
we seek beyond history
for a new and more possible meeting.

Violence in their families
fighting for the rice fields
every grain of rice
sighs, tears, and laughter
stars and wind
because Kāneʻohe taught me how to love
adopting countries
adopting single mothers
keeping families together
the truth-tellers
healing larger stories
healing family stories

Our families have been infiltrated
our families carry violence
our families carry love
our families carry resistance

Tears pass from face to face

to continue what my ancestors started
to keep me sane
here is this shell that love brought
across the ocean
to see how everything's connected
so the women gathered
made commitments to each other
brought it home

Defend the ice cream shops
the sweet memories of our elders
called to be medicine for sugar
medicine for military bases
medicine for privilege.
how sons mirror grandfathers
how we need time to mourn
to document

People pass from face to face
people weʻve never met
revolutionary farmers
inheriting land as a thank-you
how do we care for these stories

How do we bring all the daughters back to us
how do we care for Kahoʻolawe
how do we weave the rope of resistance

We need to go ourselves
so we can believe
our mothers
until we canʻt un-see
our connections
how to fight for
not against.

Let our lives be prayers
because we choose the unclear path
because we choose the work of hope
because we choose our entire selves
because we choose each other


WVWS held a retreat on February 26, 2017, to continue building relationships and connections across our peoples, and our lands. 

The poem above is a record of stories shared, about why we do this work. 

The picture above is the place of Maunalua, where we were. We learned the mo'olelo of Kohelepelepe, that mountain, the vulva of the Goddess who threw her woman part to disorient an aggressor.

There is something about identifying as she/her when doing this work. We see generations past, and generations ahead of us.

We must practice the sacredness of our bodies and our life energies, so that we can continue the long-term work of protecting and restoring our lands and our communities from generations of militarization.

The picture of these words are visions from the group for the communities we live in. 


10 Reasons Black Lives Matter in the Hawaiian Kingdom

Many of you have asked for the link to the info posters we used at Lā Ho‘iho‘i Ea 2016. Here is the most popular one, "10 Reasons Black Lives Matter in the Hawaiian Kingdom." (To download pdf, CLICK HERE).
Stay tuned for the others on Jeju, Haleakalā, Oyster Bay, Han-Ayan, Okinawa, Pågan and West Papua!
From Women's Voices Women Speak member Reyna Ramolete Hayashi:

This piece organically grew from the love, brilliance, and vision of beloved community.  In the wake of the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Prentis Hemphill called us together for a "Building Beloved Community" event, creating a space for us to grieve, heal, and build together.  We tilled soil.

Kim Compoc and Aunty Terri Kekoolani called on us as Women's Voices Women Speak to organize for peace and de-militarization in Hawai'i and the Pacific and host an Artivism Tent at Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea. We planted seeds.  

Ilima Long called us together with Joy Enomoto, Prentis Hemphill, Akiemi Glenn, Jamaica Osorio, Nalani Balutski, and Kasha Ho to build bridges and weave connections between Womenʻs Voices Women Speak, Black Lives Matter, and the militarization of our islands and policing, to put our struggles and freedoms in touch with each other. We watered seeds.

Jamaica Osorio called on ancestral wisdom by researching and compiling "Unuhi ka pō". We grew roots.  

Joy Enomoto, Bryan Kuwada, Aiko Yamashiro, Jamaica Osorio, Caitlin Kee Jeonghye, Kelsey Amos, Jennifer Vehia Wheeler, Ilima Long and Reyna Ramolete Hayashi collectively drafted and edited the piece.  We grew limbs and flowered. 

Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea called on us to grow our capacities for ea, where Womenʻs Voices Women Speak shared our "10 Reasons Black Lives Matter in the Hawaiian Kingdom" poster alongside posters on de-militarization movements in Pōhakuloa, Haleakalā, Henoko/Okinawa, Jeju/Korea, Han-Ayan/Philippines, and Pågan/Guåhan. We shared in the fruit of this collective labor of love.

Zines on Genuine Security/Genuine Sovereignty

Mahalo to Joy for leading a zine-making workshop at the Women's Voices Women Speak Art-I-Vism Tent @ La Hoʻi Hoʻi Ea 2015.  We are grateful to the people, young and old, in sharing their visions, in poetic and visual form, about what genuine security and genuine sovereignty means to them.

Our Islands Are Sacred by Keiki

Our Islands Are Sacred by Adults 

WVWS on Norwegian Press on RIMPAC

TRANSLATION (from Google Translate) 
  "Although we are good at cocktail parties, we are first and foremost a war machine '

HONOLULU (Aftenposten): The Norwegian frigate "Fridtjof Nansen" has risen far the river delta in the world's largest naval exerci

KRISTOFFER RØNNE BERG Evening Post's correspondent in the United States
Oppdatert: 04.jul. 2014 13:09
Admiral Harry Harris mysteries mot sun and sighed low to fremmøtte journalistene on the quay at Pearl Harbor.

- Dere vet, leaders are welcome y asking the questions will leaders want, and we have to answer them as best we can. But reach, we tatt six U.S. hittil and they have all been about China. The 20 other country will take part in this exercise, said Harris in a voice that was both mild and severe at the same time.

But the admiral does not stream to prevent China takes most part av oppmerksomheten when Rimpac, the world's largest naval exercise, reach will be launched.

It is the first time the Chinese will take part in the exercise, as the country's official bodies lenge has Ansett as a tiltak directed at their own ambisjoner in East Asia. To reach China takes part in the US-led exercise interpreted in the U.S. as be an important skritt in riktig direction to cut emissions spenningen who oppstått-operation between the Chinese and a number of other countries in this part of the Nordic world.
Fornøyd Søreide But Harris's right - there are many other countries that are included. India, Japan, Brunei, Chile and Australia are among those who have made the trip to Pearl Harbor.

And for the first time is also the Norwegian Navy represented. As the only European countries, Norway has sent a vessel all the way to the other side of the earth.

- It be noted, says Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide, who attended the opening of the navy exercise this week.

She says that the Norwegian frigate "Fridtjof Nansen" is sent to Hawaii both to gain practical experience at a level and scale that never occurs in Europe.

- But it is also a vital national security element here. We have long wanted to take Americans' attention increasingly to our region in the north. And then it's important that we can show them that we are willing to accept our share of the collective burden distribution, not only through budgets, but also by participating in geographical areas that are important to Americans, she said.
Changes attention

Admiral Harris told Aftenposten that he totally agrees.

- What is happening in the Pacific are important for Europe and what is happening in the Arctic is of importance to us here in the Pacific, he said.

Since 2011, the U.S. government made it clear that they want to focus increasingly on Asia, which has been Norway and other NATO countries to realize that the alliance with the Americans no longer something we can take for granted.

Both Søreide and Chief Haakon Bruun-Hanssen is pleased that the Chinese also participate this year. - We are very easy to point to China as an adversary. But because we want to have stability in the Pacific region. We wish you this should not evolve into an area with a military arms race, but rather an area where there is cooperation, says defense chief.

Monday invited the Norwegians to receiving the "Fridtjof Nansen". The menu was whale meat, cured meat, smoked salmon and other specialties. And among the many white-clad guests were Zhao Xiaogang, commander of the four Chinese ships participating.

- He was very nice and for contact. He said he was happy to be invited and that he wanted me to take a trip on board to him, which I intend to do, says Commanding Officer Per Rostad on the Norwegian frigate.
- Norway should have stayed home

He agrees that exercise offers a unique training opportunity for the crew. In addition, they show off the Norwegian technology in the form of NSM missile, to be launched on 10 July in the hope that some of the housemates will flock to the King's customer list.

- Although we are good at cocktail parties and receptions and stuff, so we are first and foremost a war machine, said Rostad.

This point is Kim Compoc very aware of. She was born and raised in Honolulu and strongly dislikes the 25,000 naval personnel are gathered in his home town.

- This illustrates the militarization of our society, which we must put an end to. The main purpose of this exercise is that the defense industry wants to make more money. Moreover, this is an environmental disaster. Does anyone think of the carbon footprint of this exercise creates? I wish Norway and the other countries had remained at home, says Compoc, which has strongly involved in the case through the organization Women Voices, Women Speak.

Follow Chris on Rønneberg Correspondent The World

Statement by Womenʻs Voices, Women Speak Kollin Elderts March

July 11, 2014

We are Womenʻs Voices, Women Speak and we are here today to express our support for the family of Kollin Elderts. It is with heavy hearts that we deliver this statement. We know that their grief has surely not lessened since that horrible night in November 2011 when this precious young person was brutally murdered. No amount of solidarity will bring back this son, brother, cousin, friend. Nevertheless, we know that at times like these, we must let this family know that they do not grieve alone. This Kanaka Maoli family does not walk to that American courthouse alone. As a compassionate community, we walk with this family today, encircling them with the care and protection of our bodies, protection we could not offer to dear Kollin that night Christopher Deedy took his life away.

Our friends at the Parents of Murdered Children recently reminded us that once your family has been impacted by deadly violence like this, you never feel secure again. Imagine that? To never feel secure again. That is how it feels when your child is murdered. Now imagine that it is the government – this illegal occupying government - who did the killing, and now that same government refuses to call it murder.

As we march today, we know very little can make things better for the Eldertsʻ family. But unfortunately, we are reminded that there are many things that can make it worse. And going through two trials is surely making things worse. Having Christopher Deedy still on the job and with his badge and carrying this gun is making things worse. And having to listen to media and the defense team make disparaging remarks about Kollin is making things worse.

Why was Christopher Deedy not tested for drugs and alcohol? Apparently, as a special agent, he could refuse to do so! He also had the good fortune of being alive to tell the tale. Poor Kollin, on the other hand, is subject to any number of allegations about his behavior that night, but he is no longer here to defend himself. This is a violation of his basic human rights and dignity. While we are outraged by his murder, we are also outraged by the way he is now bombarded with these insults against his character.

We are an organization that stands for “genuine security.” What does that mean to us? It means that we believe quality food, water, housing, and education are the highest priorities for human beings to feel safe and secure in a genuine way. We also believe that people’s fundamental human dignity should be honored and cultural identities respected. We are an organization that stands up against militarism, and any notion that the US military is a “natural” presence here.

The APEC conference represents the opposite of these priorities. They represent the 1%, the mega-rich, the corporations, those with the money to protect their assets and their agenda. And sure enough, a militarized police force was hired at great expense - at our expense - to protect their agenda. With Christopher Deedyʻs help, they knew they could aim their guns at anyone suspected of getting in their way and shoot with impunity. Many of us did not know how serious they were about this agenda until they took Kollin away from us.

Why is it important to think about security? Because this government commits these heinous acts in the name of “national security” or “regional security” or “public safety” – and they depend on us not to complain or protest or call them out on their lies. But we are here to let them know we demand Justice for Kollin Elderts! We demand genuine security, genuine peace and genuine sovereignty for our families, our communities, and our precious island home.

Mahalo and mālama pono.