Aloha Maui Pride (AMP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2019 to promote and sponsor activities and events that support, celebrate, and honor the Maui LGBTQIA+ community.
The mission of AMP is to improve and honor the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Gender Non-conforming, Non-binary, Aikane, Mahu, Mahu Wahine, and Mahu Kane people; as well as, to enhance a mutual understanding and acceptance of all people. AMP is committed to accomplishing this goal via education, sharing cultural values, and increasing awareness and visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies within the State of Hawaii.
Our organization’s main endeavor is planning, fundraising, staffing and holding the annual Aloha Maui Pride Festival during the second week of October. The events leading up to and including the festival bring together members of the LGBTQIA+ community, their allies, friends, supporters, elected officials, and the general public to celebrate and bring visibility to the island’s LGBTQIA+ community. Pride week events are planned to promote acceptance, integration, diversity, connection, and celebration. A recurring theme of all AMP activities and meetings is “Inclusion” where everyone is welcome and are treated with dignity and respect.
The inaugural year, 2019, saw the largest Pride Festival ever on Maui, with over 1000 in attendance during all the Pride week events! This was accomplished through the vital assistance of the Aloha Maui Pride Planning Group that met biweekly to make all the events happen. Pride week kicked off with the monthly LGBT Brunch, followed by AMP It Up Music Night, Kanikapila Dinner Show, Youth Skate Night, monthly LGBT Hike, The Love Boat, ManCandy Drag Queen after-Pride party, and the week finished off with a Beach BBQ & Potluck. It was a real accomplishment for this core group of about 15 to hold multiple events in different venues, with members of the community coming together in never-before-seen numbers! It was a proud moment for all of us. Moving forward into 2020, we realized that a global pandemic would require the group to shift to planning an online Virtual Pride event and Silent Auction. Weekly meetings were held to discuss video content and solicit items for the auction. The event was streamed over our social media sites and is available on our website.
In addition to the Pride Festival, AMP hosts other events throughout the year. We invite the community to come honor the Stonewall uprising every June and to enjoy a humpback whale watch in March. There are recurring monthly events that bring the community together including the LGBT 1st Sunday Brunch, LGBT movie night, and guided LGBT hikes. All these events are open to everyone and everyone is welcomed-we love meeting new folks! AMP supports other organizations too by sponsoring a Womyn’s Valentine Day dance, walking with other Maui LGBT organizations in the County Fair parade, and attending other nonprofit organizations’ events. Finally, an award, “Maui Stands with Pride”, is given to an individual or organization that has been vital in supporting the Maui LGBTQIA+ community throughout the year. AMP is the only organization on Maui to be involved with such a variety of diverse LGBTQIA+ events.
Cultural awareness and the history and spirituality of the Hawaiian people, Kanaka Maoli, provides an aspirational context to the work of AMP. A series of training sessions for the group was begun in 2019 which focused on Hawaiian culture and appreciation of the Spirit of Aloha. The first session involved workshops on Hawaiian traditional practices, the spiritual meaning of Aloha, Hawaiian Mahu, and other elements that increase our cultural awareness and appreciation of Hawaii. Members of collaborating organizations included the Maui AIDS Foundation (MAF) and the Maui Equality Coalition (MEC). Future workshops in social, political, legal, spiritual, and Hawaiian traditions topics are planned.
We strive to increase acceptance and acknowledgement of our community by the larger population and in government. The Board President has worked closely with the Office of the Mayor of Maui County (Mayor Victorino) who named a Liaison to our organization (Darlene Endrina). Real change and recognition has resulted from this partnership. In 2019, Mayor Victorino proclaimed October 11th as “National Coming Out Day in Maui County”. In 2020, the Mayor proclaimed June as “June Pride Month in Maui County” and flew the rainbow Pride flag outside the County center during June for the first time ever. We supported the Mayor’s efforts to promote increased participation in the 2020 Census on our social media pages. We strived to increase our visibility in Maui by walking in the County Fair parade. Elected officials from State and County government participated in our Pride Festival and continue to support our efforts. Working together with others and alongside elected officials, we are making a difference!
Supporting our community is another vital part of AMP’s mission. The LGBTQIA+ Assistance Network was developed in 2020 to survey and assist members of our community with their needs. The survey form can be completed by anyone that needs some type of assistance or can provide assistance so that people can be linked together to meet those needs within the community. In times of a public health emergency, members of AMP got involved in a food and supplies drive for Kapuna in Hana. Future ideas for other community support events include rehabbing community facilities, food & toy drives, and beach clean ups.
The overall vision of AMP is to grow:
- To become a “destination” Pride Festival week where people and performers from all over the world will join with the Maui LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate, learn about the Hawaiian culture, and enjoy the beauty and spirit of Maui no ka oi;
- To hold a Pride Parade full of all the colors of the rainbow;
- To become more involved with outreach, supporting the underserved members of the Maui LGBTQIA+ community, educating others about LGBTQAI issues, joining efforts other local nonprofit organizations, and working with elected officials; and
- To have more people join AMP in these efforts!