Meet Me at The Meat Market by Elizabeth Kent

Fashion, Reform

These wearable art pieces were created to call attention to the horrors of human trafficking.

Mark’s Garage, Honolulu

World-wide, human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Traffickers exploit people in different ways for labor and commercial sex. Imagine being vulnerable and then letting down your guard – trusting someone, putting your faith and trust in that person – and then being abused and subjected to forced labor or to turn tricks. It’s horrible. Unfortunately, we are not immune to this social disease here in paradise.

“Meet Me at The Meat Market” by Elizabeth Kent is a series that incorporates intimate apparel that has been dyed to look like meat at various stages of decay. We must remain vigilant to protect both those at risk and our society at large.

CHINATOWN: FORMER RED LIGHT DISTRICT

Located adjacent to Downtown Honolulu is Chinatown. In recent years, the area has been redeveloped into a Culture and Arts District. Throughout Honolulu’s Chinatown, you’ll find iconic establishments and stumble upon hidden gems. From classic lei stands to legendary eateries to herbal medicine shops, this historic and evolving neighborhood is a center for commerce.

However, Chinatown has a very enmeshed history with the sex trade. Now more than ever, Miya is taking a stand against Anti-Asian Violence and we stand with all who have been sexualized or dehumanized as a result of crime & violence.

Find historical placards around Honolulu’s Chinatown

Chinatown had acquired a reputation as a red light district even before World War II, when the military and the police regulated the brothel industry. Immediately after the war, the local authorities outlawed prostitution and closed all the Chinatown brothels. Still segments of the sex industry remained. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Chinatown venues began featuring adult films and nude dancing as mainstream entertainment migrated to Waikiki and the suburbs. The Risque Theater and Bookstore that featured pornographic films and magazines exemplified the shift in the neighborhood when it opened in 1970. The Risque prospered for almost 25 years until a fire gutted the building in 2004. The Marquee still remains.

Read about a former brothel in Wahiawa.

Remnants of Honolulu’s Red Light District still remain today.

If you’re interested in learning more about sex trafficking, order The Status of Women today on Amazon.

Quality Healthcare is a Right

Personal Finance, Reform

Elise’s thoughts on healthcare as she ages out…

As most may know, under Obamacare, I was able to receive health insurance through a parent’s employer. Unfortunately, this benefit ends when I turn 26 this month.

To be honest, the idea of losing my healthcare has been a huge source of anxiety for me over the last year. Especially with the onset of COVID, hiring freezes, and a poor economy, I worried that February would roll around too quickly.

And it is crazy how soon it did! Luckily, I had the time to chat with a few friends who have already been self insured.

For those who don’t use health services often (think: healthy young male), a government-sponsored plan really is the most sensible. However, I’m someone who regularly visits therapists, dermatologists, and dentists.

Just as I’m weighing the risks, I go in for an appointment with my dermatologist. I called Blue Cross Blue Shield a few months back and was informed that I’d be covered until the end of my birth month. As I’m getting checked in, the nurse asks whether I have Quest or PPO. It seemed like the answer to this question would affect my ability to receive treatment. I really got the answer I needed right then and there.

It’s sad that the actual care our bodies, minds, and spirits receive may ultimately boil down to money. Insuring myself will cost about $500/month, which doesn’t include copays for doctor visits and medications.

UPDATE: I qualified for QUEST & all of my doctors accept it.

There definitely lies a large incentive to seek employment. However, I’ve never been happier and feel that I am living my most authentic life right now. I will definitely keep y’all updated about the career decisions I make this month. This entrepreneurship journey hasn’t been easy, but I want to keep pushing!

What is quality healthcare?

Quality healthcare is care for the body, mind, or spirit that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, and efficient.

Our current health system in America is primarily focused on the treatment of symptoms of disease. In Food Fix, Dr. Mark Hyman suggests that health insurers save on costs by providing nutritious food. This would ultimately reduce the amount of responsive health services needed for our populace.

Yet, we haven’t fully recognized the detrimental effects of turning a care-based profession into one that is so ravenously monetized. I begin to wonder – is monetized healthcare even healthcare?

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

1 Timothy 6:6-10

The 2021 Presidential Cabinet Will Lack Asian Representation for the First Time This Century

Reform

Executive Order 9066 was used by President Roosevelt to terrorize, wrongfully incarcerate, and steal from Japanese Americans

Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies – Statement on Biden’s Cabinet Nominations

Have you ever believed someone would do the right thing and they didn’t? What if that becomes a whole culture?

In a time much like today, at the turn of the Second World War, Executive Order 9066 was signed and issued by Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This was in response to the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese in December 7, 1941. This order required that all Japanese American citizens on the mainland be relocated to internment camps. These camps were in the desert, unfinished, and essentially outdoor prisons.

I had the chance to visit the Manzanar Relocation Site, which today is preserved by the National Park Services. It is in a dusty, cold area – where shelter would be key for warmth, health, and comfort. Here are some photos I took there, of what life was like for the internees – who were there for up to four years.

There was never any wrongdoing found by any Japanese American. In actuality, many boys left the “camps” to fight for the United States in the war. This “new normal” was how Japanese American citizens were forced to live under Democratic leadership. As they were held captive, their homes and lives were trashed, raided, and seized.

Imagine the mental health effects of this. Just seeing these pictures makes me hurt inside and this is why we MUST evaluate ourselves consistently to ensure this is not happening. There is no reason for us to be so forceful & keep traumatizing those in the criminal justice system. Prisons don’t work. I pray that God will keep all in peace, as so many books in the Bible were written from prison. God would never give us anything we can’t handle and works all things for good.

Japanese Americans have since been active in ensuring that this never happens again. To support causes like this, you can donate to the Japanese American National Museum.

He chastens & hastens His will to make known.

Unfortunately, in the past, we have seen the dire effects of racist group-think. To be quite Frank, I am unsurprised by the announcement that no Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders will serve in the incoming Democratic Presidential Cabinet. Luckily, Elaine Chao served the last four years as Transportation Secretary. The rollout of a new breed of Transportation will be making everything easier soon and is a part of the 2020 Tech Revolution.

Surveillance & Censorship: Endgame

Business, Reform

Big Tech’s downfall is just three moves away, with the onset of the next industrial revolution…

Okay, excuse The Queen’s Gambit reference but I’m obsessed! Such a great storyline that kept me hooked, with awesome character development.

The truth is that the business world is like a game. For the last few decades, the technology sector has been teeming. However, we’ve seen the plateau of technology platforms.

Before you start worrying that our economy will collapse, know that we are in the beginning stages of another industrial revolution. Machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence will drastically change transportation, agriculture, and other industries. This will largely reduce the costs and risks of doing business.

Although tech billionaires often receive the limelight, it must be remembered that industrial investors truly hold the reigns. The fall of Big Tech has been coming for some time. With toxic artificial intelligence practices, ideal reinforcement, and pornography at an all time high on social media platforms, one starts to wonder if they even want to be part of this club anymore.

Luckily, there are companies now focused on ethical artificial intelligence. Instead of being about control, AI should be about service. I like artificial intelligence because it often makes my life easier. What I don’t like is feeling like – or knowing that – I’m being spied on and influenced to further a certain agenda.

Now before you start hating The Man, ponder the alternative. In order to focus more and to be a more authentic version of myself, I have indefinitely deleted social media from my phone. I will, thus, be in a better space to create and plan to take back a few more hours everyday. Here are some safe tech recommendations.

In light of everything happening, I urge everyone to stay in peace.

These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

John 15:17-27

I’m trying to start a morning routine to get me plugged in! I want to know what y’all do to start your days?

Protect Women’s Sports Act

Reform

Mahalo to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for introducing this bill

Our girls should be able to access a fair & safe playing field. Regardless of the narrative against protecting our biologically-based rights, we must hold firm against ALL who seek to harm our status in the world.

Refusing to acknowledge & support gender-based handicaps – whether in athletics, or elsewhere – poses a huge threat to our status as women. For if the distinguishing element of our status is removed, does it even exist anymore?

Scotland: 1st to Provide Universal Access to Sanitary Products

Reform

The importance of girls & women having access to sanitary products is an issue facing the entire globe

Many states in America have also made strides on this front, Hawaii included. Providing the basic necessities to everyone in our society is so important.

Women and girls are forced to go to work and school, when they should have the privilege of being bedridden. Having adequate sanitary products is important and there have been many female-founded companies that have sought to provide better solutions like these reusable and organic products:

Elise Hatsuko's The Status of Women

Just Released: The Status of Women

Reform, Spirit

Elise’s first book is available on Amazon & Kindle!

Hey yall!

I’m so excited to release this book, which is an edited anthology of the work I’ve done in law school. I was so blessed by the opportunity to serve the Kingdom of Hawaii’s community for the last three years. I hope that my work will inspire others to continue advocating for the vulnerable.

When I decided to go to law school, I wanted to be a social entrepreneur and learn about how institutions could be improved. I hope that this book can be for everyone, and I tried to stray from anything too legalistic.

Mahalo & Aloha ❤ Elise

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Reform

This October, we want to raise awareness about an important issue facing our society

As some of you may know, I am extremely passionate about ending the cycle of domestic violence within a generation. During my law school experience, I had the opportunity to work on a task force that addressed domestic and sexual violence. I believe that when women flourish, all of society also flourishes. Thus, the work that we do on ourselves – to unlearn a lifetime of toxicity – is so important and can unleash our potential.

During times of stress, as we are now experiencing, domestic violence is often on the rise. DV is centered around power and control and can take many forms, as indicated below.

Power and Control Wheel | Ocala Domestic Violence Center

The results of experiencing domestic violence can be physical, mental, and spiritual. This can include death, traumatic brain injuries, chronic pain, PTSD, and loss of faith.

Based on my review of cases, which often included the same couples, I identified factors that contribute to violent and volatile relationships, such as:

  • Age: a younger male and older female
  • Race: cultural norms passed intergenerationally
  • Employment Status: difficult financial periods
  • Drug Abuse: alcohol, meth, cocaine, nicotine, pills
  • Prior Trauma: child abuse, sexual abuse, trafficking

Relationships should positively add to our lives. They can and should provide us with opportunities to love and grow.

If you, or anyone you know, needs to leave a relationship – there are really great resources that can be found at thehotline.org.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)

Presidential Debate: Universal Healthcare

Reform
Robison

Healthcare for all & investing in our community’s wellness should be a priority that our nation deals with next presidential term. I went to see my dermatologist today, and saw this painting of koi in the waiting room.

I love a beautiful koi pond. Over the summer, I visited the temple my Japanese ancestors used to worship at in Wood Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii. Koi are very domestic and beautiful. They interact well with one another and it seems that the health of the whole pond matters. May our society be more like this ❤

Going back out into the world, I realize how much I missed it. The whole year has nearly passed and I hope that I’ve grown during this time for the better.

Spiritually, I feel that I have been maturing and discovering myself in Christ. I’m excited to be moving and to continue living the life that I’m called to.

I also want to share today’s YouVersion verse of the day, which I love-

“You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.”

Psalm 85:2

I am looking forward to using the life changes I’m going thru to help me evolve into who God wants me to be. We can use everything as a learning lesson.

Future: Healthcare Coverage for Marijuana

Reform

Will your health insurer soon pay for pot/pakalolo/reefer?

This is an essay I wrote for my Cannabis Law & Policy class. Each of us were assigned a different state to write about. I was assigned to Ohio, which was particularly interesting due to its large veteran population and locality.

Image for post
Waimea, HI

With the adoption of medical marijuana policies in the majority of American states, and the general acknowledgment of its healing and medicinal purposes, I advocate for the subsidization of cannabis by health insurance companies. Not only will this allow insurees to choose the treatment program that is most effective for them — which will provide them with the highest level of care — but this also has the potential to save health insurers money usually expended on pharmaceutical expenses. Socially, this will revolutionize the marijuana conversation because it will solidify marijuana’s medicinal uses. It will also unlock the potential of many Americans whose lights are currently being dimmed by pharmaceutical drugs that are debilitating and addictive. Economically, this will decrease healthcare spending. Lastly, this will improve the health of patients who will have access to natural medicine.

Many patients have expressed how medicinal marijuana has helped them with anything from chronic pain to mental challenges like PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, people who currently suffer from chronic pain are being prescribed painkillers, which are addictive and debilitatingly strong. This has resulted in the opioid epidemic that is currently facing our country, and many have advocated for the use of marijuana to treat those with substance abuse disorders. Patients have expressed that marijuana provides more effective treatment than the pharmaceutical drugs they are currently being prescribed. They describe the effects of marijuana as milder, with less side effects and more control over intake. Despite these benefits, due to out-of-pocket price differences, many patients are currently opting to continue taking prescription medications for pain even though they are harmful to them. Although these patients know that they are not taking the medication that is best for them and their condition, they are forced to out of financial necessity. Additionally, those facing monetary constraints often find that they are spending more out-of-pocket for healthcare because they are now paying full price for their medicines — rather than having them subsidized by their health insurer.

People should be empowered to choose the best options for treatment and should not be influenced by finances when making these decisions. As evidenced, health insurers should respond to best meet the needs of their patients. One way for them to do this is to extend medical insurance coverage to marijuana to provide their patients with freedom of choice. Providing subsidized copays for medical marijuana, as done for pharmaceutical drugs, would disrupt the current healthcare industry.

If insurance providers — including the VA — could subsidize patients’ marijuana costs, they could save more in the long-term by shifting a large amount of spending currently being used for the purchase of pharmaceuticals. Prescription pharmaceuticals, particularly painkillers and antipsychotic medications are known to be expensive, the prices of which are controlled by the pharmaceutical companies who seek to subsidize their very expensive research and development processes. However, the cannabis industry does not have the same complexities, as cannabis is a crop — and thus the industry follows a completely different business model — not needing a patent process which otherwise secures market monopolization for pharmaceutical companies. Many of the pharmaceutical companies are actually expanding and taking over cannabis companies. That, in itself, should reflect that marijuana has medicinal purposes.

Healthcare and economics are intertwined in this country, and marijuana has the propensity to disrupt the industry. States that have large veteran populations, like Ohio, can truly integrate marijuana into their healthcare systems through allowing insurance coverage for purchases of medical marijuana. Veterans are a special group of people who, socially, may be able to catalyst this change because of their high status as decorated heroes. Due to their unique trauma from military service for the safety of our county, which often results in both physical and psychological disabilities, impairments, or challenges, veterans are the perfect group to champion this policy. This revolutionary policy shift could also be an avenue for the VA to garner positive support, as they have historically been cited for not providing adequate care to our veterans. Nationally, Ohio is a particular state that has the ability to shape the conversation surrounding this issue because they have such a large veteran population and their state is often looked to as a moderate position.

Socially, if insurance companies extend coverage to medicinal marijuana, more people will be able to choose the best treatment option for them. Furthermore, as many patients have said, this will allow people to be more productive in their daily lives. Patients will be more present and capable of fostering better relationships with their family, friends, coworkers, and the like. Additionally, the adoption of this policy would further the social movement to accept the use of marijuana. However, this may create a need for more research concerning driving under the influence and education on the effects of safe consumption.

As previously stated, economically, insuring medicinal marijuana would allow both healthcare insurers and patients to expend less on medicines due to the lower cost of marijuana. The pharmaceutical industry may thus oppose this change in order to protect their investments in the research and development of other drugs. However, they are realizing that they should be involved in this industry as well. However, because our healthcare system provides a misaligned compensation structure, pharmaceutical companies may still oppose this matter — although they would seek to possibly make more money off of marijuana because they would no longer need to invest largely in research and development. Generally, the integration of marijuana into our healthcare system could actually decrease spending by a great deal and create a more sustainable model for providing treatment that does not rely so heavily on the development of new drugs.

There are many positive health effects that can result from the adoption of this policy. Patients can improve their health by reducing the amount of opioids, strong painkillers, and psychoactive drugs they consume. There may be some concerns about the negative health effects that may result from smoking, overdosing, or developing a reliance. As a society, this would be a huge step toward removing the stigma that still lingers around medical marijuana. Additionally, this would allow more patients access to treatment that can be preventative rather than responsive. For instance, there have been reports of marijuana aiding in bodily recovery from exercise. Assisting people to exercise will boost health and wellness overall. This can also possibly be applied to mental health and wellness — as CBD is now being widely sold as such.

In conclusion, if health insurance companies — like the VA — want to demonstrate their support of their patients, they should subsidize medicinal marijuana purchases. This will unlock freedom of choice for their patients, who are currently being constrained to outdated options because the healthcare system has not caught up with policy. Now that medical marijuana is legal, health insurers should find a way to assist their patients in obtaining the best treatment for them. Although they may face some difficulties, there should be creative mechanisms by which they can help patients get the medicine they need. Many, who take either painkillers or psychoactive drugs, have attested to the fact that marijuana is better at treating their symptoms and what they would choose if they had the financial freedom to. We, as a society, should not be subjecting people to this — they should be able to choose the best treatment plan for them and not have to worry about their finances. Health insurance companies bear the burden and should accordingly provide assistance for those who need medical marijuana.