Hawaiian Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Asian Pacific Islanders. I would like to introduce to you one of the most progressive foundations in Hawaii. Allow me to explain the importance of Hulumanu Foundation. In October of last year, I got really sick and my doctor told me that I would not make it. I could not pay for the medications and countless hours of therapy that was needed in order for me to survive. I was put in a care home worrying about how I could pay for my doctor bills, hospital, rent, utilities, and just normal drug treatment plan. I could not ask my friends to take care of me and, of course, no family support was offered. Fortunately for me, I recovered in 4 months. But i never stopped thinking about the less fortunate patients who will not have any supplemental alternatives for their care and financial support .That is why I'm here today to announce this new foundation and what it stands for.
Before I continue, I would like to share with you and recognize a very brave man. His name was Mark Bingham. He was a gay man that lived in San Francisco ,California and died on 9/11. Mark was on flight 93 that crashed in a field just outside of Shanksville, PA and was the first person to stand up against the hijackers. He was the first one to mobilize the crew and passengers so they could take over the plane. Unfortunately they could not and the plane crashed leaving us to believe that Mark's efforts were heroic, because flight 93 was heading to Washington D.C,'s Pentagon. I believe that Mark was scared and yet showed bravery . I'm deeply honored to have known such a great a man, who was so passionate with strong convictions through the time of fear. You see Mark Bingham lives in my soul, although I stand here alone with one voice, Mark Bingham is standing besides me.
One of the ways that I'm asking for is to have all Native Hawaiian Agencies to become advocates of the GLBT native Hawaiian populations and Asian Pacific Islanders. To align themselves with the needs and protection according to law. These needs include Health Care, HIV services,Homelessness, Housing, Poverty, Social Services and to maintain a support system for drug and alcohol treatment. I believe we need to establish a safe zone as many schools as possible to better serve and respect the needs and wishes of the GLBT populations.
Do not assume that we do not exist and you can put us in a corner and make us disappear. We do exist within the family unit either taking car of a loved one or holding the household together. This is Hawaii today and we all need to pitch in and do our part to make our home here in Hawaii free of bigotry, hate, isolation, bullying, and jokes that reinforce stereotypes and prejudices. I care too much about the people that live here and I want to create a healthy family environment and diminish sexual labeling that distinctively separates us from the norm.
In our society today we generally assume that everyone is heterosexual and because of this stigma in our society today many of our Native Hawaiian GLBT populations are afraid to come out and declare who they really are because of this stigma there are no safe zones at home,work, school and play. These are highly charged and confusing but with the right dialog we can focus on the issues and principles of our society today other than pointing the finger at who is wrong or right.
I want to start today with a new vision of hope so we can better educate ourselves and we can develop programs that will relieve oppression. You can be a friend, roommate, teammate, brother, sister, professor, mother, father, other peers, mentors, and other people you know that are GLBT to help them develop a stronger self esteem and can lower occurrences of depression and suicide.
Hulumanu Foundation slogan is by Aunty Mary Kawena Pukui. "Ike Au I Kona Mau Po'oPo'o: I knew all about him including his family connections, faults, and virtues. By learning and understanding the Hulumanu way this proverb gives us the room to become great ally of the GLBT Native Hawaiian and Asian Pacific Islanders. And we stand for protecting this population and making a safer place to live and play. Without knowing it you may change someones life from hurting themselves or others.
Me Ke Aloha Pumehana.......Bradford Kaiwi Lum ( founderof of Hulumanu Foundation)