The Human and Civil Rights Committee works to support and nurture diversity and equity in our multifaceted community, encourage member engagement in racial and social justice issues to promote non-discriminatory spaces for educators and learners, and support members’ ability to stand up for and speak out on behalf of students and their community.


Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association's Human and Civil Rights Committee is seeking nominations for its 2020 Pono and Friend of Youth Awards.

Our Pono Award "has to do with one of your colleagues who are great social justice warriors. I'm sure you've got friends out there that are very active with regards to social justice," said HSTA vice president Osa Tui Jr. in a video message to members.

"Our Friend of Youth Award recognizes someone in the community who does great things with our keiki. I used to do robotics, and I had a lot of people in our community that volunteered their time and efforts with robotics, but you might know people from all different walks of life who do great things with our youth," Tui said.

Nominations are due Jan. 10, 2020.

Friend of Youth Award

Who can be nominated: Anyone!

Why they deserve to be nominated: This award recognizes an outstanding individual who works to support Hawaii's youth. Nominees must be involved in a youth-oriented activity outside of his or her professional duties, dedicate time and service to this cause, and demonstrate significant impact on youth.

Who can submit a nomination: Nominations must be submitted by HSTA members only.

What you need to do: Fill out a nomination form and include a detailed description of no more than two (2) pages that explains the nominee's:

  1. Involvement in a youth-oriented activity outside of their professional duties (please specify the activity, degree of involvement, etc.).
  2. Impact on Hawaii’s youth e.g. how many keiki are affected, the benefit they receive as a result of the nominee’s actions.
  3. Volunteer hours and length of service.
  4. Facilities, resources, and/or equipment that were either donated by the nominee, or made available due to the nominee’s actions.

Nominees will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Involvement in a youth-oriented activity outside of their professional duties.
  • Impact on Hawaii's youth.
  • Time and service.
  • Use of facilities, resources and/or equipment.

Past winner: Jason Routon. "As a security guard at Highlands Intermediate School for over the last 14 years, Jason has been entrusted with the safety of our students. What most people don't realize though is that Jay's work at this school goes beyond his normal duties and does not stop when the school bell rings. When we think of a security guard, we usually think of protecting our students' physical well being, but Jay really makes an effort to care for the students' overall health. In the last four years, I have been privileged to coach basketball alongside Jason and have watched the students grow as players and people under his tutelage. As a result, within recent years, both of our boys and girls teams have had winning seasons and have been league champs for the past two years. For a couple of these years, Jay had been the only one to coach, so literally, without his commitment to our students, we would not have the successful program we have today."

Download: Nomination form | Flyer

Pono Award

Who can be nominated: Any active HSTA member in good standing with at least two years of membership.

Why they deserve to be nominated: This award recognizes an exceptional member who advocates on social justice issues that impact the lives of students, fellow educators, and the community. Nominees must be principal organizers of campaigns or actions to address social justice issues such as, but not limited to: immigration reform, school-to-prison pipeline, equity in education, LGBTQ bias and issues, English-language learner advocacy, racial profiling, voter suppression and/or rights, and bullying.

Who can submit a nomination: Anyone!

What you need to do: Fill out a nomination form and including the following documentation:

  1. A detailed description of the activity and the nominee’s direct involvement and capacity. Must not exceed four (4) pages, double-spaced.
  2. Nominee’s statement. Must not exceed two (2) pages, double-spaced.

These next elements are optional, but encouraged to strengthen your nomination:

  1. Optional: Letter(s) of recommendation, typewritten unless submitted by a student.
  2. Optional: Nominee’s resume.
  3. Optional: Additional supporting materials, such as news clippings, flyers, photos, etc.

Nominees will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Social justice advocacy that includes direct involvement, capacity and degree of involvement.
  • Impact on the community, including the number of people touched or involved, and benefit to the community.
  • Role and influence as the principal organizer of a campaign or action.
  • Outcome and/or perpetuity of this campaign or action.

Past winner: Laverne Moore. "A special education teacher at McKinley High School who has taught in Hawaii public schools for (more than) 46 years, Laverne (was) president of HSTA's Honolulu Chapter. She has been active in everything from helping the homeless to fighting for the rights of special education students."

The recipient of this award will be submitted as HSTA's nominee to the National Education Association Social Justice Activist of the Year Award. This award recognizes an NEA member who demonstrates the ability to lead, organize and engage educators, parents, and the community to advocate on social justice issues that impact the lives of students, fellow educators and the communities they serve. It is is presented during NEA’s Conference on Racial and Social Justice in July.

Download: Nomination form | Flyer

How to submit your nomination

Completed nomination forms and additional documents can be submitted via mail, fax, or email by Jan. 10, 2020.

Mail Hawaii State Teachers Association
c/o HCR Commmittee
1200 Ala Kapuna St.
Honolulu, HI 96819
Fax (808) 839-7106
Email info@hsta.org


Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Monday, Jan. 20, 2020

On this day, we reflect upon the principles of interracial cooperation, equality, and social change through nonviolent resolution of conflict, dedication to global peace, social justice, economic security, and the eradication of poverty. HSTA participates in annual parades on Oahu and Maui.

Honolulu Pride Parade and Festival

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association is proud to celebrate the contributions of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) community and the cultural diversity of our island home. On Oct. 19, 2019, HSTA's HCR Committee invited HSTA members, staff, and public school students to walk in the Honolulu Pride Parade from Magic Island to Kapiolani Park.

Alika Masei, Waianae Intermediate teacher and HCR committee member, coordinated a school bus to bring dozens of students in from the Leeward Coast. "I think it’s really important for my kids specifically because a lot of them do not have access living all the way on the west side, and for some of them, it’s their first time even being in a Pride event," he said. "I have a lot of students who identify as LGBTQ or students who are just questioning their identity, and I think it’s really powerful for them to see role models."

Educators and students from Kahuku High and Intermediate also joined the festivities. "I think it shows them that they may be not as alone as they think they are, but there’s a lot of people out there that love them too," said teacher Jacqueline Rasmussen.

Aarathi Parmley, Kahuku High and Intermediate counselor, added, "There is support for them, that people do care about them. At home, it’s not always accepted, so we want to show as a community and as a school that we support them."

In addition to walking in the parade, HSTA's HCR committee set up a booth at the Honolulu Pride Festival at the Waikiki Shell, where messages of support for LGBTQIA+ students, and inclusive schools and classrooms, were on display. Festival goers were invited to write and share their own messages to youth.

We'd love to display your message! Click here for more information on how you can get involved.


Social Justice Summit

Every year, HSTA hosts a Social Justice Summit on Oahu to empower educators to address issues in their communities, such as LGBTQ, homelessness, abuse, and suicide prevention. This event is free and open to the public. | More


School breakfast programs

HSTA is assisting in efforts to increase the number of schools that participate in Breakfast After the Bell and similar school breakfast programs. | Details

Join us

What social justice issues are you passionate about? What would you like to see HCR do over the next year? Would you like to get involved? Please fill out our survey here.

For more information, you can also contact HCR Chair Jodi Kunimitsu at jodikunimitsu@gmail.com, or reach out to your chapter representative: Kaleo Ramos (Honolulu), Roy Hannu (Central), Alika Masei (Leeward), Kit Brizuela Absalon (Windward), Kawaileleohiilawe (Hilo), Karina Hernandez (Kona), Amber Fontes (Kohala), Melissa Turner (Hamakua), Dana Gorelangton Turnbull (Maui), Luz Larotta (Lanai), Emilio Macalalad (Molokai), and Cynthia McClung (Kauai).