Executive Director Heather Lusk Receives Hawaiʿi Appleseed’s Patsy T. Mink Award
On November 1, HHHRC Executive Director Heather Lusk received Hawaiʿi Appleseed’s Patsy T. Mink Award for “her inspirational leadership in advocacy on issues related to mental health, substance use, and homelessness.” The other awardees were Ryan Kusamoto, President & CEO of Parents and Children Together, and Keith Amemiya, Senior Vice President of Island Holdings, Inc.
“It’s such an honor to receive an award from Hawaiʿi Appleseed named after the late Patsy Mink, who was a steadfast champion for women’s rights and civil rights throughout her public life,” said Lusk. “Hawaiʿi Appleseed is an indispensable partner in addressing the challenges faced by the unsheltered and unstably housed through our collaboration with many others in Partners in Care. I look forward to working with them on a range of issues addressing social determinants of health in the coming year.”
The award was presented at an “Artists for Appleseed” dinner gala at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom celebrating the organization’s 15th anniversary. Many community leaders were in attendance including Governor David Ige, First Lady Dawn Ige, and Senators Laura Thielen and Jarrett Keohokalole.
Join Us December 1st for World AIDS Day
Please join us! On December 1, 2019 we will commemorate World AIDS Day from 5:30 – 7:00pm at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Honolulu. Lt. Governor Josh Green will be presenting a proclamation commemorating World AIDS Day in Hawai'i.
  LEAD First-Year Progress Report Covered Widely by Hawaiʿi Media
The University of Hawaiʿi recently issued a report evaluating the first year of law enforcement assisted diversion (LEAD) in downtown Honolulu . In terms of the impact on the community, program enrollees experienced a 55% reduction in cited law enforcement encounters, a 40% reduction in the usage of emergency medical services, and a 38% decrease in days sleeping in public. Program participants saw a broad range of improved health and well-being outcomes, including an 18% reduction in methamphetamine usage and a 17% reduction in mentally unhealthy days.
HHHRC Executive Director Heather Lusk, Chair of the LEAD Hawaiʿi Hui, and LEAD Program Manager David Shaku participated in a press conference with Capt. Mike Lambert of the Honolulu Police Department, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division Chief Eddie Mersereau of the Hawaiʿi State Department of Health, and the Office of the Governor’s Homelessness Coordinator Scott Morishige. The conference received coverage from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser , Honolulu Civil Beat , Hawaiʿi News Now , and KITV .
Shaku appreciated that the report underscored the benefits of providing services to persons in need. “We are heartened by the positive improvements that we are seeing among program participants across the board. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, we can state with confidence that LEAD Honolulu provides an essential bridge to needed services,” he said.
The Star-Advertiser’s editorial board later observed : “This kind of sustained outreach is an investment that ultimately yields lasting improvement in the lives of the chronically homeless, and saves public resources as well…. So many other strategies can and should be pursued, not the least of which is securing more short- and long-term housing. But meeting people where they are and connecting them to the help they need is crucial for those most firmly rooted to an unsustainably rough life on the streets.”
Keiva-Lei Cadena Featured on the Cover of POZ Magazine

Photo Courtesy of POZ Magazine
Congratulations to Community Engagement Coordinator Keiva-Lei Cadena, who currently graces the cover of the POZ magazine! This year’s “POZ 100” features members of the transgender community living with HIV.
Cadena’s profile reads, in part: “Diagnosed with HIV in 2004, Keiva-Lei also organizes the People Living with HIV (PLHIV) leadership network POP Ohana (People Organizing Positively), the purpose of which is to cultivate leadership and advocacy among other HIV-positive people. Since its formation, POP Ohana has helped appoint several members to the community planning group of the Hawaiʿi Department of Health’s Harm Reduction Services Branch and recruited many volunteers to serve local AIDS service organizations.”
The issue is available on newsstands or may be viewed online . Cadena is the second HHHRC staffer to be featured in the POZ 100, with staff nurse Raymond Alejo appearing in 2015 .
“I showed up to Life Foundation eight years ago with only my life experience as a reference and not knowing anything about community work. Mahalo to my HHHRC family. I am proud to share this honor with them,” Cadena said. Last year, she was featured in a short film from the Transgender Law Center, “ Positively Trans: Meet Keiva Lei Cadena ,” that details her personal journey back to Hawaiʿi and her Native Hawaiian ancestry.
Transgender Day of Remembrance Observed
On November 20, HHHRC’s Kuaʿana Project hosted this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) at the Kamakakūokalani Hawaiian Studies Center at University of Hawaiʿi Mānoa . TDOR began in 1999 to commemorate those transgender persons across the globe who have lost their lives to violence.
Over the past year, 331 trans and gender-diverse persons were killed, including 130 in Brazil, 63 in Mexico, and 30 in the United States. There were no deaths in Hawaiʿi, which has the highest number of trans persons in the nation on a per capita basis.
“Transgender Day of Remembrance is an important way to raise awareness about the challenges facing transgender and gender-diverse people across the globe. In Hawaiʿi, it’s an opportunity for the transgender community and allies to come together in celebration of one another while acknowledging the ongoing need to be public advocates for those who are still struggling in their journey,” said Cathy Kapua, HHHRC’s Transgender Services Manager.
The evening began with a mele oli by Keiva Lei Cadena and included a person-by-person recitation of the names of the departed. The evening also featured a celebration of the lives of those members of the transgender community who departed over the past year.
Circle of Giving
Mahalo to all who have donated to HHHRC in the past year. Your support is deeply valued and helps us to reduce harm, promote health, create wellness, and fight stigma in Hawaiʿi and the Pacific. 
Next Tuesday, December 3, is # GivingTuesday , “a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities.” Should you feel moved to support our work, please use this PayPal link to donate and your contribution will be partially matched . Donate any amount and you will also be recognized in our next newsletter (unless you tell us otherwise).
As we enter the holiday season here is an invitation from author Sharon Salzberg: “Allowing ourselves to enjoy a delightful experience with an open heart enhances our capacity for generosity and gratitude. We feel capable of being loving and connecting, and we want others to be able to feel the same. In that recognition, we see, with strength, that we are not fundamentally isolated, that our lives really do have something to do with one another.” (“ Happiness Is an Arm of Resilience ”)
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