Hawaii's forgiving 'heroes' celebrated

The Makaha Sons and the late Michael Nakamura, former Honolulu Police chief, will be among those honored for notable acts of forgiveness on Sunday as part of an International Forgiveness Day festival at Central Union Church. The Hawaii Forgiveness Project has honored local residents and artists for the past four years, and its free annual festival will feature the Makaha Sons, the IONA dance company, and author Fred Luskin. Nakamura is being honored for publicly forgiving the man who injured him in a hit-and-run accident in 2004, an act that garnered nationwide attention. And The Makaha Sons are being lauded for their “spontaneous reunion with the late Israel Kamakawiwoole” at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 1996, and a rare, restored video will be shown at the festival.

Other awardees include: Malakai Maumalanga and Jane Tampon, who were once members of rival gangs in Kalihi but are now coworkers at the Adult Friends for Youth; Masago and Tokiko Asai, children of Japan atomic bomb victims who “transformed [their] agony into forgiveness”; and Diann Boone, a survivor of childhood abuse at the hands of a teacher and priest.

The festival at Central Union Church (1660 S. Beretania St.) opens with community exhibits at 2 p.m., followed by two hours of presentations and entertainment beginning at 3 p.m. Kumu John Lake will offer the opening oli, and the closing prayer will be offered by Kupuna Kanani Awai. Local leaders Kumu Ramsay Taum, Gerald Jampolsky and Diane Cirincione will also participate.

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