The unique history, culture, and biodiversity of Hawaiʻi have made it one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. During CHEST 2023 in Honolulu, CHEST will collaborate with community organizations and encourage attendees to be mindful guests while experiencing the many beautiful features of the island Oʻahu.
To guide this effort, CHEST Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Elizabeth J. Stigler, PhD, suggests following the advice of Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawaiʻi, written by Hōkūlani K. Aikau and Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, which starts, “Instead of looking at what Hawaiʻi might offer us as visitors, we wanted to think instead about how we can learn from and contribute to ongoing efforts towards sustaining life and independence across the islands.”
The Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC), Hawaiʻi LGBT Legacy Foundation, and Kōkua Kalihi Valley (KKV) will also be joining CHEST 2023 as celebrated guests to share their exceptional grassroots work and educate attendees on community intervention strategies that yield impactful results. Representatives from each organization will speak at Experience CHEST (located within the CHEST 2023 Exhibit Hall) as part of the CHEST Community Connections initiative.
“CHEST Community Connections is a new venture designed with an intentional focus on meaningful engagement with local communities at the site of our annual meeting,” Dr. Stigler said. “Being part of the CHEST member community means operating with integrity and being an informed advocate for others, including colleagues who live and work in Hawaiʻi.”
Through the WCCHC, CHEST is proud to offer a volunteer opportunity on Saturday, October 7. Attendees who plan to be in Honolulu that morning can get involved by contacting [email protected]. CHEST is also working with Hawaiʻi LGBT Legacy Foundation to participate in events for Honolulu Pride Month, which is celebrated in October. Additional details for these events will be released closer to the meeting on the CHEST 2023 meeting website and app.
To celebrate Hawaiian culture and customs on site at CHEST 2023, the meeting will integrate local performers, storytelling traditions, and more at the Opening Session (Sunday, October 8, at 3:15 pm HST) and throughout the program. While in Hawaiʻi, attendees are encouraged to support local establishments by utilizing a guide to locally owned businesses and restaurants on Oʻahu that will be available through the CHEST 2023 app.
Attendees are also strongly encouraged to keep in mind the concept of aloha ʻāina, a Hawaiian term that describes a deep embodiment of respect for the land. Caring for the island is a core value of Hawaiian culture, which also recognizes and honors the interconnectedness between humans and nonhuman nature. Extending an ethic of care toward ʻāina means respecting ecosystems by not disturbing biodiversity, working to conserve natural resources, and investing in restorative usage of land. Read a CHEST blog post with expert advice on traveling thoughtfully to Hawaiʻi, starting with how to prepare for the trip.
While CHEST encourages attendees to experience all that Hawaiʻi has to offer, visitors and guests must remain respectful of the plants and wildlife that make up its delicate ecosystems. It is forbidden to pick flowers or other plants grown on the islands and bring them home.
For those interested in further reading on Hawaiian culture and history, start with this blog post outlining some of the historical and etymological origins on the island written by CHEST members and Hawaiian locals, Samuel J. Evans, MD, MS, FCCP, and Janet N. Myers, MD, FCCP.