Our Puʻuhonua Penpal Program

The puʻuhonua penpal program

Countless amazing connections have been made since my comrades and I started our abolition group at the beginning of the Study and Struggle program period in September (here are my thoughts about the first two sessions, which I forgot to continue writing about for the next 6!) and the developments keep getting better and better! Because our org members are all doing our own work regarding abolition, mutual aid, political education, and bail funds, our coming together to talk, plan, and act is like organic magic. We each fill in the gaps others aren’t currently working on and it all easily fits! At the beginning of this month, several of us planned and organized a bail out of kānaka maoli in honor of Lā Kūʻokoʻa or Hawaiian Independence Day, and that was truly the best day I’ve ever had. Working with my comrades to free people from cells, greeting them upon release with high fives, elbow taps, and shaken hands and providing them with resources they need to get their lives back in order was overwhelmingly incredible to experience. Our next big abolition group project is our Puʻuhonua Penpal Program spearheaded by my brilliant friend Shayna. We know that Prison Industrial Complex abolition cannot be striven for without working and organizing directly with those most impacted by the system aka currently and formerly incarcerated folks, so we have to include our affected friends and family in any work we’re doing. Setting up a penpal program seemed like the most obvious next step for our abolition group especially as Hawaiʻi has such few reentry resources and we don’t want our loved ones to be excluded from what they have the most experience with. The penpal program has a Google Doc guide (it’s almost finished!) with background, steps listed to start connecting with a penpal, establishing boundaries, and further resources. We currently have over two dozen people outside willing to start penpal connections and we couldn’t be more excited! If you have any loved one in a Hawaiʻi facility or Saguaro and they’re interested in working with and meeting us, please sign up in the guide to get started! Here’s to countless more organizing projects and less sleep until we create a world without the PIC!