I was honored to attend the reopening of the Giggle Hill Playground with Uncle Richard Ma’ele DeLeon performing the blessing. Uncle Richard is an amazing person, community activist, small business owner, cultural educator, leader, father, grandfather, part Kanaka Maoli, part Filipino, all truth and wisdom. He’s also running for Maui County Council.
“The ‘āina, the land that we call Aloha ‘Āina- we love and we cherish. What we do is for our children, to have something to leave behind. It is our kuleana, it is our responsibility…” Uncle Richard says, “We need to take care of our oceans, our reefs, our air. We are risking our children’s future. We need to stop importing all of our food. It’s not just about sustainability, but about SELF sustainability. We have to get away from the big corporations of monocrops. We have to grow FOOD, to serve our people.”
We can all coexist, but it’s about being responsible. I believe it’s time for change with Aloha ‘Aina. Only you can make the difference. Please register and vote for those that will protect our community, our resources, our way of life.
Uncle Richard has been on the front lines trying to prevent plans to pave over Makena. “The reefs are being destroyed by different pollutants. They serve a purpose- like a filter for our nearshore water. These are the sort of things we should be aware of for our children, because it’s their future. As parents, it is our kuleana to ensure they have a place to survive with clean air and clean water and affordable housing.”
Uncle Richard feels the requirements for affordable housing are out of touch with our families. “We need better planning for our housing. It’s not always about real estate, big money, and profit. It’s about the people. We can cut the loopholes where developers wiggle out of promised affordable housing and grow more local building materials (like hempcrete, bamboo) to lower cost.”
He knows we need to fix the injection wells that burden Kīhei and Lāhainā. “Why spend $250,000 of county taxpayers money to line lawyer’s pockets (Maui county is being sued over Clean Water Act violations) instead of fixing the wastewater issue? You, as voters, have the power. We gotta paddle this canoe together, work together to change this broken system.”
Uncle Richard also wants to enforce the GMO Moratorium for environmental and health impact studies. “The people spoke and we the county were sued. Again, the county could have saved on the legal fees (siding with biotech) and help launch the studies.”
“After 40 years of serving our community from outside of the political system, I feel the time to huli (flip) the system has come. I hope to be your vehicle for change. For all of our kids and grandkids and many generations to come. It is the core of who I am, a protector.”
Image Credit: Richard DeLeon