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Gov. Ige Proclaims October 2022 as Civics Awareness Month

Posted on Oct 7, 2022 in Featured News, News & Reports, Press Releases
Image of from left, Intermediate Court of Appeals Chief Judge and PACE Commission Chair Lisa M. Ginoza, Gov. David Y. Ige, and Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald at the proclamation ceremony for Civics Awareness Month.

From left, Intermediate Court of Appeals Chief Judge and PACE Commission Chair Lisa M. Ginoza, Gov. David Y. Ige, and Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald at the proclamation ceremony for Civics Awareness Month.


Commission to Promote and Advance Civic Education Shares Latest Initiatives

HONOLULU – Hawaii Gov. David Y. Ige proclaimed October 2022 as Civics Awareness Month with a ceremony today at the State Capitol.

“Our democracy depends on every citizen staying informed, understanding how government works, identifying misinformation, and holding their elected leaders accountable,” said Governor Ige. “That starts with students learning about our system of three branches of government, its checks and balances, and the role of individual citizens.”

The Governor was joined at the proclamation ceremony by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald representing the Judiciary, and members of the Commission to Promote and Advance Civic Education (PACE) created by the Hawaii Supreme Court last year.

“The PACE Commission and numerous others are working to create more civic education opportunities across the state,” the Chief Justice said. “Helping to educate our students and everyone in our community about their government, and encouraging them to actively participate in their government, is crucially important for each generation.

“I encourage everyone to help teach those around them about the importance of active citizenship, whether it be voting; serving on a jury; being involved in issues important to them; or by better understanding the way in which our government operates. Understanding of government institutions, and the crucial role of citizen participation, is needed for a thriving democracy. Indeed, Hawaii is a special place and everyone can help to create the best future for our communities and state,” he added.

“Education is about so much more than workforce development. It is about preparing our students to exercise their political power responsibly and knowledgeably,” said Rep. Amy Perruso, PACE Commission vice chair and former social studies teacher. “We are not born citizens—we each need to be equipped with the tools we need to engage with our systems of governance so that we can build a better world together. Civic education empowers students to create the future that they deserve.”

Earlier this week the newly created Maui Nui Law & Justice Academy hosted 24 high school students from Maui, Lanaʻi, and Molokaʻi. Over three days the students learned about Maui Nui’s history from Hawaiian Studies faculty at Maui College, and met with local government leaders, judges, attorneys, and court staff. They developed their skills in discussion, debate, analysis, and advocacy. They also learned what it means to be active and involved citizens in their communities.

A central goal of the academy was “to increase interest in college, law school, and legal-related careers among young people who come from backgrounds and populations that are traditionally underrepresented among attorneys, judges and political decisionmakers,” said Troy Andrade, a PACE Commission member and associate professor UH Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

The academy was a collaborative effort between the PACE Commission, University of Hawaiˈi Maui College, UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law, Hawaiˈi State Judiciary, and Maui County Bar Association. The PACE Commission plans to continue this program, and others like it across the state.

Another important civics initiative getting underway is a Department of Education pilot to recognize Hawaii Schools of Democracy. “The Department is excited to work with Mililani High, Maui High and the PACE Commission on this pilot initiative,” said Hawaii State Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi. “This will help to recognize high schools that are committed to preparing students for college, career and civic life through learning opportunities, and will highlight school cultures that focus on individual identity, student agency, and the youth experience as core elements of civic education.”

The PACE Commission is also starting a project to have judges and attorneys available to speak at schools statewide. “The commission, in collaboration with the Judiciary and the Hawaii State Bar Association, will be launching a statewide effort to connect schools with judges and attorneys available to speak on civic education topics,” said Lisa M. Ginoza, Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals and chair of the PACE Commission. “Topics could include the three branches of government, the structure and role of the courts, the difference between state and federal governments, important court cases, the criminal justice system, careers in law or government, and more. The goal is for students to learn more about government and how it affects their lives. We hope to inspire students to be active citizens in their communities,” she said.

Banner photo caption: From left, Department of Education representative Rosanna Fukuda, DOE Supt. Keith Hayashi, Intermediate Court of Appeals Chief Judge and PACE Commission Chair Lisa Ginoza, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Gov. David Ige, Hawaii State Bar Association representative Ruth Oh, University of Hawaii representative Debora Halbert, and Governor’s Office representative Gary Yamashiroya.

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