O’ahu ‘Ohana: Consider Running for Your Neighborhood Board
by Aliantha Lim, Ka Wai Ola OHA, December 1, 2020
In 1973, the Neighborhood Board Commission was created on Oʻahu “to assure and increase community participation in the decision-making process of government.” This established an island-wide network of elected boards to improve communication and facilitate community and government interaction. Today there are 33 neighborhood boards that meet monthly and serve as the first line of support and information for residents with community concerns.
At neighborhood board meetings residents can speak out on record to their county and elected officials. Each meeting has a “Community Concerns” portion, where people can sign-up to speak to the board for three minutes. Some lobby for support for a specific issue, some share safety concerns, and some announce community events. This allows residents to formally advocate for the positive grassroots changes they wish to see.
Community leaders, local legislators, and nonprofit groups are often represented at the meetings, so participation is also a great way to learn about what is happening and become more involved in your community.
Native Hawaiian representation is needed at every level and in every aspect of government and decision-making in Hawaiʻi. We need to advocate for our ʻāina, moʻomeheu (culture), ʻohana and lāhui. Hawaiian perspectives are often lacking in current decision-making practices, but we can change that!
Joining your neighborhood board provides an excellent opportunity to delve into local politics, build professional relationships, and develop leadership skills while serving your community. Share your voice and represent the lāhui’s concerns as a Native Hawaiian neighborhood board member.
Applications are now being accepted for neighborhood board elections. All 435 seats in every district will be up for election in April; this is an excellent opportunity to put Hawaiians in positions of local leadership. The application process is relatively easy, and if you are 18 or older, and a resident of that neighborhood, then you qualify to run for a neighborhood board seat.
To vote in Oʻahu’s 2021 neighborhood board elections, you must be 18 years or older and a resident of that neighborhood. If you registered for the 2020 primary or general elections, then you are already registered to vote in the 2021 neighborhood board elections. If you have moved, or need to update your registration, visit olvr.hawaii.gov or contact the County Clerk’s Office for further information.
Are You Ready to Get Involved?
What you can do now..
- Verify your voter registration status
- Now – February 19: Register to run for Neighborhood Board seat
- April 26 – May 21: Online Voting
KWO: A Conversation with Neighborhood Board Member Daniel Kaʻanana
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