Last week, fires completely decimated Maui and specifically historic Lāhainā and Kula. Hawaiʻi News Now reported that as of this afternoon, Maui County confirmed at least 99 people died, dozens were critically injured by the fires, and over 2,700 buildings and structures were damaged and/or destroyed. The wildfires started on Tuesday and ravaged the island with Lāhainā in particular taking the brunt of the flames, and continued burning throughout this evening. Maui often suffers from brush fires due to its drier quality, and the current drought conditions made for a wrecking ball when combined with Hurricane Dora’s immense winds. The entire historic town of Lāhainā was flattened in the flames, which is especially horrific considering its significance in our culture and history. Lāhainā was where King Kamehameha the Great located the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi’s first capital in the early 19th century. The islands were all operating individually before King Kamehameha I united us all under one Hawaiʻi. Many aliʻi lived and huddled together in historic Lāhainā to discuss and act upon political will, decisions, and actions (before the U.S.’ illegal overthrow of our Kingdom of course). So much of our lāhui’s history and kūpuna are now buried under the wreckage of the wildfires in one of our most sacred and important places. Countless kānaka and other residents have lost not only their homes, careers, businesses, transportation forms, but also for many of them, their lives. Maui will struggle immensely as some fires still rage and we don’t know the entirety of the damage and who else has been lost, so it’s imperative that we pool our money and offer donations to funds for the community members. Haole tourists especially love Maui, so if you’ve ever visited Hawaiʻi or moved here (especially while kānaka begged people to stop coming here as we still continue to do), open your wallets and pour your resources into Maui! I documented the previous information in my post on the fires, and I wanted to share GoFundMe funds for Maui residents I know lost everything. Of course donating to the general pools of money is essential, but these funds will go directly to these Maui residents I care about.
I worked at the Office of the Public Defender for nearly three years and gained some incredible friendships, mentorships, and connections within that time. The office is still near and dear to my heart, so it was especially distressing to hear that one of the Maui PDs, Tyler Stevenson, was in need of help. Tyler has been a Maui resident his whole life and is dedicated to the Maui office as a public defender serving some of the most vulnerable client base. He and his family lost their house in Lāhainā, so please give to his GoFundMe here if you are interested.
One of my coworkers, Mikey, also lost her and her family’s house in Lāhainā during the fires. I met Mikey in person for the first time at the end of June and she is extraordinarily warm, welcoming, and kind. She made me feel comfortable and included in a new team setting and I was so grateful for that experience. Mikey was born and raised in Maui and she and her family lost their home and several of their pets in the fires. I hope you will donate to her GoFundMe here should you feel so inclined.