Hawai'i State News

Hawai‘i students urge visitors, kama‘āina to ‘pledge’ to a better future

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Bransen Hatakenaka, Senior, Hawaii State Student Council Chairperson. Photo Courtesy: Bransen Hatakenaka

In a statewide initiative, Hawaiʻi student leaders have launched the “Pledge to Our Keiki” at the
onset of the 2023-2024 school year.

The pledge – backed by statewide community organization Kanu Hawai’i – is a call to action for businesses, organizations, locals (kamaʻāina) and visitors to support Hawaiʻi’s commitment to community and environmental stewardship.

Pledge to Our Keiki is designed to amplify the voices of Hawaiʻi students, focusing collective efforts on the most pressing community needs. This initiative underscores the power of collaboration in making significant strides toward supporting Maui during its current crisis and in developing resilient systems for the future well-being of Hawaiʻi Nei.


Through this pledge, pledge organizers seek to unite various sectors — including the visitor industry, businesses, government entities, and non-profits — in a shared commitment to safeguard their community and environment for future generations.

The Pledge to our Keiki was drafted by students during the Malama Honua Voyage of Hokule’a in 2013-2019 and modeled after the Palau Pledge. The Palau Pledge movement towards environmental responsibility and sustainable tourism has amassed 902,064 pledges worldwide.

Students at public schools across the state are being supported by the Department of Education and school administrators in their efforts.


Hawai’i Superintendent of Education Keith Hayashi said, “The Department of Education is excited to continue its partnership with Kanu Hawaiʻi for the Pledge to Our Keiki initiative, which aligns to our vision of preparing all students to be globally competitive and locally committed.”

High school leaders across Hawai’i are also teaming up with kūpuna, local businesses, influencers, and celebrities to create a larger voice for Hawai’i’s student leaders and a global shift towards more conscious and regenerative tourism.

“I firmly believe in the value and importance of elevating the voices of our youth. As the future inheritors of the land and this world, we hold a tremendous stake in its health and well-being,” said Bransen Hatakenaka, high school senior and Hawai‘i State Student Council chairperson. “As such, it is no wonder that so many students across the state and our island have dedicated themselves to serving and advocating for our communities. Their efforts, big and small, are a testament to our generation’s determination and commitment to upholding and protecting our environment and culture.”

To learn more about the Pledge to Our Keiki and to sign it, visit www.pledgetoourkeiki.org.

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