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Get Involved, Make A Difference

There is enough trouble in the world to keep all six billion of us busy for the next three centuries.

But while we cannot each save the world, we can each do a little something from time to time. On this page I will try to feature causes, requests for help, etc... that come my way that appear authentic. I will do my best to verify veracity.

While I may not always agree 100% with the organizations I place here, I feel it is worth spreading the info around. Check it out, decide for yourself, and do what you can....

(If you have any comments, suggestions, worthy causes, alternative opinions, or corrections please do not hesitate to contact me!!!!)

An excellent information source for staying on top of issues that really matter in ALL aspects of our lives is Public TV and radio (KQED 88.5FM in Northern California). I am an avid fan of National Public Radio (NPR). Check it out!!! The NPR site even allows you to listen to the latest newscast in RealAudio!

One small list of causes to understand, support, and/or join (old material kept for reference):

  1. African Leadership Academy: African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing and supporting future generations of African leaders. Opening in 2008, African Leadership Academy will bring together 250 of the most promising 15-18 year old leaders from all 54 African nations for an innovative two-year program designed to prepare each student for a lifetime of leadership on the continent. Students will be selected to attend the Academy based on merit alone and will complete an innovative curriculum with a focus on leadership, entrepreneurship, and African studies. ALA graduates will attend the world’s finest universities and will lead Africa toward a peaceful and prosperous future. ALA is a nonprofit institution located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  2. Carbon Footprint Calculator: calculate how much you are contributing to carbon emissions. This site is from the oil copmany BP, but it is still worth a look, including other info on carbon emissions and alternative energy.
  3. Dir Biyabir: a registered non-profit that was formed in 2006 to mobilize financial and human resources for the specific purpose of supporting local grass-roots development projects in the poorest areas of Ethiopia. The types of development projects that will be supported in Ethiopia include those that focus on reducing extreme poverty, building schools for local children, planting trees and rehabilitating the environment, improving local healthcare, and providing vocational training to help the local population gain skills for new sources of income.
  4. Dropping Knowledge: dropping knowledge e.V. is a registered nonprofit association duly organized under the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany. dropping knowledge’s constitutional purposes are the promotion of international understanding and the promotion of art and culture. To serve these purposes, dropping knowledge e.V. conducts the project “dropping knowledge”. In the U.S., dropping knowledge is a project of the Tides Center.
  5. Kilowatt Ours - a plan to re-energize America: Learn how to be more energy-efficient and save lots of money at the same time!
  6. Level Playing Field Institute is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of our nation.
  7. PeaceJam: "PeaceJam is an international education program built around leading Nobel Peace Laureates who work personally with youth to pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody. The goal of PeaceJam is to inspire a new generation of peacemakers who will transform their local communities, themselves and the world."
  8. Save Darfur: "The Save Darfur Coalition's mission is to raise public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and to mobilize a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of two million people in the Darfur region."
  9. The Stephanie Cadet Foundation: "The Stephanie Brown Cadet Memorial Foundation was created by Stephanie's family and friends following her untimely passing from a heart condition in July 2005. Stephanie was a delightful and devoted mother of two, an accomplished software sales executive, and a committed volunteer. Stephanie strongly believed in the virtue of volunteering to serve her communities and fellow citizens. In addition to the volunteer work that she performed, Stephanie had plans to establish funds and community services to enhance and enrich others and to help ensure a more fair and equitable society. This foundation was created to realize her intentions and advance her legacy."
  10. Urban Ministry is the inner city ministry of the United Methodist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Our mission is to serve poor and low-income persons in the Birmingham area with programs of compassion and wholeness. Compassion programs address immediate human needs, while wholeness programs address long-term human needs. Although Urban Ministry maintains its historic identity as a faith-based organization, all of our programs are offered on a completely non-sectarian basis.
  11. "Action alert" on the dumping of radioactive waste in the Pacific Ocean...
  12. Buy Nothing Day (November 27, 1998)
  13. Free Speech alert on the pending Supreme Court decision on Internet expression (The Communications Decency Act).
  14. Police Brutality in Hawaii (January 22, 1998): One of the witnesses is the mother of a high school friend of mine. Read her TRUE story and email her if you can help or simply want to register your outrage. She is trying to rally support for community action and a probe by the Department of Justice. The Palolo Tenants Association has issued a detailed account to correct mistaken portrayals by the mainstream media (Feb 17, 1998). You can also see one of the initial media versions given by the Honolulu paper The Star Bulletin (1/23/98).

*Buy Nothing Day (November 27, 1988)

{My Note: If this actually works it could either set off a recession (consumer spending is 2/3 of the US economy and the majority of retail sales are made during the holiday season) or just delay avaricious spending for another day!}

For more info see:

Go ahead - take the plunge! Find out what it feels like to go one whole day without shopping. It'll open your eyes to the way we all live.

Our consumer culture is absurd. We buy to feel good, we buy to impress each other. Our consumer culture is greedy. We in the affluent west - only 20% of the world's population - consume 80% of the natural resources. Our consumer culture is tragic. As a result of our consumption, nature is dying.

Buy Nothing Day is a simple idea with profound and far-reaching repercussions. It is the only environmental campaign in the world that directly confronts the issue of sustainable consumption in a way that the average citizen can grasp and understand, yet as political ideology, it challenges the very tenants of neoclassical economics and casts a hard light on our shop-til-you-drop culture and the methods we use to measure wealth and progress.


Police Brutality in Hawaii: January, 1998

Hi, Duru:

Thanks for your willingness to share the story of what happened here in Palolo...the media here is very controlled and they don't let news about shootings go out of Hawaii. If there are media folk there in the Bay area that may want to come and investigate and tell the story, it would be very helpful. We need investigative journalism in this case and it seems to be nonexistent in Hawaii. We are also trying to hook up with similar cases on the mainland (there must be tons in the Black community). Any advice from lawyers and groups in the Black community about how to fight for justice in this case would be greatly appreciated. The family will be filing a suit against the police department and the Palolo tenants association will be filing one also on behalf of all the children, youth, and adults who were in the danger zone. We are calling for an independent investigation by the Dept. of Justice...but they won't give us an independent investigation unless there is an outcry from beyond Hawaii, so any solidarity letters and support from many individuals and organizations would be helpful, especially those with organizational identification. The Samoan community feels the police in Hawaii target them and the Hawaiians the most. Much thanks, Julia

A Witness to a Shooting

I was on Ahe Street approaching Kiwila when I stopped because a police car was parked diagonally across Ahe Street blocking my way. Everything around me seemed normal. Therefore, I thought it would be a temporary inconvenience and I kept my car engine running. I asked the nearest person around my car, "What's going on?" This person I later found out was Rodney Laulusa. He answered, "I don't know." I noticed the knife in each hand but didn't give it another thought because he seemed normal and friendly. Also I know a lot of Samoan men cook; the knives looked like kitchen knives to me. I thought he was out of the nearby apartment because I thought he was asking the same question I was asking, "What's going on?" As he walked away from my car, I saw five or six police cars entering Ahe and parking on the sidewalks and lawn areas. Everything was happening so fast that at first I was glued to my seat not knowing what to do because I realized the police were coming towards my direction and realized I was in a danger zone. I turned the car engine off and quickly walked to the sidewalk. I saw Rodney looking more agitated as the police quickly moved towards him--it seemed he was doing a nervous kind of hop back and forth in the middle of the street. Then everything seemed to happen so quickly....I saw approximately five policemen with guns drawn moving towards Rodney and realized the seriousness of the confrontation. So I joined the voices yelling "Don't shoot, don't shoot." I heard a police voice order Rodney to drop the knives. I heard the order around three times; then gunshots rang out. I saw Rodney fall to the ground and the shots kept coming at a furious pace one after the other. At no time did I see him lunge at the police; as he fell foreword, witnesses from a distance might have thought he was lunging because many of the shots came while he was falling to the ground. By this time I was shaking all over realizing how close I was to the scene and hearing so many bullets go off. I was sure Rodney was dead--surely noone could survive such a barrage of shots. It sounded like 25 to 30 shots had been fired. All this took place within a period of five minutes, according to police report.

In a daze, I volunteered to be a witness. I must have been a terrible witness at that moment because I could hardly write even a short police hands were shaking. Even now I don't remember what I put down. I realize now that I should have waited to write an account, not at the height of traumatization. One investigator drew me apart from the crowd and asked me questions in his car. I was asked what the level of my education was and I began to feel uncomfortable because I felt the questions were not all directly related to what I saw. I was asked for my social security number and thought it was strange that it felt I was being investigated rather than the investigator being interested in what I saw as a front row witness. I began to wonder what the difference was between an internal investigator and an external one and began to ask these questions to one of the investigators and to my dismay discovered that the two investigating bodies were both within the jurisdiction of the Honolulu Police Department. I didn't want to say much after that because I wanted to talk to a truly independent investigator and there was none around. In between being questioned, Dahlia Asuega stood by my side to give me comfort. I was glad she was there because she witnessed one of the police officers telling me that I could not have seen five officers with guns drawn since there was no way that was possible and went into some detail about why what I saw could not be true. I was wondering why he was trying to get me to change my story to match the police 'official' story as of that moment. I wondered whether tampering with a witness is considered a criminal charge.

I am still in the process of recovering from shell shock (from being so close to a shooting and seeing so much violence), but as I begin to get my wits about me, some key questions come to mind.

l. Why did the police not secure the area before moving forward with guns drawn? There were children and other people all around, and especially since Rodney was not threatening anyone? Is there one protocol for rich and middle class communities and another one for poor communities?

2. Since Rodney was not threatening anyone and there was no clear and present danger to anyone, why did the police not try to figure out ways to get Rodney to throw away the knives? (Not too long ago, police subdued George Parker, a lawyer, with a stun gun and secured downtown areas for hours. George Parker was holding a gun;Laulusa was holding two knives) George Parker was a lawyer, Laulusa did not have a job.

3. Most of the bullets were released after Rodney went down (from 20 +shots). Isn't this unnecessary force? What is the penalty for using unnecessary force which leads to the death of a person who was not posing any danger to anyone around him.

4. Why did the police say to the media that only four or five shots were fired that night when the orange cones that marked shell casings and the knives numbered at least 33, thanks to the video shot taken by Channel 4 cameramen. Did police knowingly give out misleading information until the truth could not be denied because of the video shots? .

4. Is it accurate to use the term 'brandishing' knives in the sub-headlines (Star Bulletin, l/23). Is this sensationalizing and creating a false image of what really happened?

5. T.V. coverage of this event included much mention about his felony charge and parole violations but not a word was said that Rodney received eight years for robbing two Kaimuki High students and his only weapon was a screwdriver. Instead the image that is created is that of a hardened criminal who deserved to die.

The killing of Rodney Laulusa affects many of us deeply. To correct the image that the media and police have created about Rodney, I want to report that I talked with residents who grew up with Rodney at Palolo Valley Homes. According to the people who grew up with him, Rodney was one of the nicest kids around and did not have a reputation as a 'trouble-maker.' Even a mug shot of Rodney shows the warmth of the human being; he was loved by many people.

Rodney did not die in vain; the Palolo community is coming together to hopefully ensure that police and media can no longer create an image that allows the public to think it is o.k. to kill a decent human being because it was done by the police. Police are human beings, too, and they make mistakes. But rarely do they admit it unless we have enough witnesses and investigative reporters(camerapersons) who force the truth out. Even more rare is the appropriate disciplining of police when compared to the outcome resulting in death because of a mistake.

Julia Matsui-Estrella

Statement by the Palolo Tenants Association (Posted Feb 17, 1998)

Attempt to correct media portayals of police shooting in Hawaii January, 1998.

The Palolo Tenants Association would like the following facts to be printed or broadcast to correct the distortions and one-sided coverage of the Rodney Laulusa shooting by the media.

l. The police created the "kill zone" by moving quickly towards Mr. Laulusa and coming within 10 feet of him. Mr. Laulusa moved forward but very little (perhaps 3% of the original distance between the two parties). This has been a major omission in the media. Mr. Laulusa was not a 'threat' to police until four police officers chose to come within 10 feet of Mr. Laulusa with guns drawn.

2. By checking the police log, one can obtain the fact that from the time police reported a person with knives to the time he was shot, the time period was approx. three minutes. The fact that the action from beginning to end took such a short time belies the police story that shooting is the last thing considered, after all else has been exhausted. "Shoot to kill" was the only action considered by police, as indicated by how fast Mr. Laulusa was gunned down with "at least" twenty bullets. Since Mr. Laulusa was down on the ground after two shots, "at least" 18 bullets came when he was no longer a 'threat' to police. Is this not an execution?

3. Police in the three minutes did not bother to secure the area of children who were playing in the area. There were a number of residents who were also in the 'kill zone' created by police. Why is there no regard for life of residents, especially children, living in Palolo Valley Homes?

4. At no time did Mr. Laulusa lunge at the police. The witnesses who were the closest to the action (about 7 feet away) all corroborate this fact--that Mr. Laulusa never 'lunged' at police.

5. Doctors informed the family that five shots had entered Mr. Laulusa's body. A week later doctors changed the story to 16 bullets having entered the body. Why did the doctors' stories change? There is a big difference between 5 and 16 bullets. Was this to mislead the public?

6. Police are now saying (at the community meeting on 2/29) that this incident was an 'exception.' Is this an admission of a mistake on the part of the police? When police officers make a 'mistake,' should they not be held accountable for a mistake which leads to the death of a person in the same way that the regular public would be held accountable for a mistake which leads to the death of a person? Should police be above the law?

7. Police, according to recent events, have shown willingness to shoot in a crowd of people as long as it is in a low income neighborhood. Why is there a double standard in how police act in low income neighborhoods versus a business district or a wealthy community?

8. At the community meeting of 2/29, Officer Correa indicated that the 'shoot to kill' policy was a national standard and part of the training of police officers. This statement is documented by a videotape of the community meeting and can be made available to the media.

9. How can media coverage be more balanced and tell the facts instead of just taking the word of the Police Department? Can media report how many Polynesians (Samoans and Hawaiians) have been shot to death by police in the last ten years in comparison with Japanese, Chinese, and Caucasians? Can media report the fact that a helicopter was already at the scene at the time of the shooting, the total number of police cars that arrived on the scene, the number of swat teams that arrived, and the activities at Jarrett Intermediate School? Can the media cover how many Samoans and Hawaiians are in prison today? Can media compare the 8 years that Rodney spent in prison for 'armed' robbery for small $ with a screw driver and the robbery by 6 bank tellers of almost $15,000 and none of the tellers received a prison sentence?

10. A recent editorial in the Honolulu Advertiser worried about the secrecy of the Police Department in police shooting incidents (Why is it that police can kill anonymously? l/27/98) An independent investigation is needed to overcome the secrecy shrouding this investigation.

11. Media has an important role in changing the inaccurate stereotypes that abound about poor people. Palolo Tenants Association would like to invite T.V. and newspaper journalists to a forum where we can discuss some of the stereotypes and discuss proactive measures for a more balanced coverage of our communities.

11. Palolo Tenants Assoc. invites the Honolulu Police Dept. to a forum to deal with the negative stereotypes that lead to such 'mistakes' as the Laulusa shooting.

12. Proactive measures are presently been hammered out by tenants and residents of the larger community. Interested individuals from all sectors of society are invited to join in these discussions for proactive measures. Please call Dahlia Asuega, president of the Palolo Tenants Assoc., to indicate your interest in working on measures which will insure that such a killing will never happen again in Hawaii. Dahlia's phone number is 732-6795; pager number is 273-5981.

Posted: June 15, 1997          Countdown to Supreme Court Decision in the CDA case




Please distribute this alert intact until July 15, 1997 Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition (

________________________________________________________________________ SUPREME COURT SET TO RULE ANY DAY NOW IN CDA CASE

The future of the Internet and the fate of the First Amendment in the information Age hang in the balance.

Within the next 4 weeks, the United States Supreme Court will hand down an historic decision in the legal challenge to the Communications Decency Act (CDA) - a law which imposes broad content regulations on the Internet.

A decision could come AT ANY TIME.

Will the Supreme Court agree with a decision of a Philadelphia Federal Court which last year ruled the CDA unconstitutional? Or will the Court side with Senator Exon, the Department of Justice, the Christian Coalition, and other proponents of censorship who argue that the Federal Government is the best and most appropriate judge of what you should see and say online?

As an Internet user, you have a tremendous stake in the outcome.


It's not too late to become a part of history. There are several ways you can participate -- Please take a moment to read the instructions below and join the fight for free speech online.

_______________________________________________________________________ INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PARTICIPATE

In anticipation of this historic event, the Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition have launched the "FREE SPEECH VIGIL" campaign to help spread the news about the case and provide an opportunity for Internet users to join the fight. The campaign is an extension of the highly successful "Question Mark" campaign previously coordinated by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the Voters Telecommunications Watch (VTW) which drew over 10,000 participants.

The CIEC is also seeking your support in other ways. Please read the instructions below or visit for details on how you can help.

If You Maintain A World Wide Web Page:

1. Add the following link *TODAY* in a prominent location on your site. When the decision is announced by the Supreme Court, follow your page's link and read the text of the Supreme Court's opinion.

<a href=""> <img src="" alt="Countdown to Supreme Court Decision in the CDA case"></a> <br clear=all><br>

Since June of 1996, more than 10,000 world wide web sites have joined together to provide Internet users with the latest news and information about the case.

If you have already linked to the CIEC icon or do not maintain a world wide web page, please visit to find out what you can do to help.

2. IMPORTANT -> Let us know you have joined the campaign:

Drop us a note at <> and let us know you have added the link to your site. We will keep a running tally of the number of participating sites.

3. Forward this Alert to your Friends and co-workers (only until July 15, 1997)


Finally, we need your support to continue to provide the most comprehensive, up-to-date online resource on the fight for free speech on the Internet.

Please visit to find out what you can do to contribute to the cause.

________________________________________________________________________ HOW WILL THIS CAMPAIGN WORK?

After you have added the link (above) to your page, an animated image will be displayed on your site. The image will be updated to reflect the latest news on the case (the update will occur at our server -- you will not have to do anything).

When the decision is announced by the Supreme Court, the icon will change to reflect the outcome (good or bad). By clicking on the image, Internet users will jump to a page containing the text of the decision, analysis, and other important information.

This effort is an extension of the highly-successful "question mark/fireworks" campaign in June of 1996 announcing the decision in the Philadelphia case. Both campaigns were organized by the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Voters Telecommunications Watch

________________________________________________________________________ BACKGROUND ON THE COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT

The Communications Decency Act (CDA) was enacted in February of 1996 as part of the Telecommunications Reform Act. The law seeks to protect minors from objectionable or sexually explicit material on the Internet by imposing broad content regulations and stiff criminal penalties on the "display" of "indecent" or "patently offensive" material on the Internet.

While supporters of the CDA argue that the law is designed to protect children from "pornography" on the Internet, two separate Federal Courts have agreed that the law goes far beyond that and would ban otherwise constitutionally protected materials.

The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on March 19, 1997. CIEC lead attorney Bruce Ennis argued the case on behalf of both the CIEC and ACLU plaintiffs.

The CDA is not about obscenity, child pornography, or using the Internet to stalk or prey on children. These activities are already illegal under current law and are not at issue in this case.

CIEC and other opponents of the new law argue that while well intentioned, the CDA fails to account for the unique nature of the Internet, and that it will have a far-reaching chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech online. On a global, decentralized communications medium like the Internet, the only effective and constitutional means of controlling access to objectionable material is to rely on users and parents, not the government, to decide what material is or is not appropriate.

On the Internet, every single user is a publisher with the capacity to reach millions of people. As a result, all of us have a stake in the outcome of this case.

Two lawsuits were filed to challenge the constitutionality of the CDA in a Philadelphia federal court in February 1996.

The cases have been brought, respectively, by The Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition (CIEC), comprised of the American Library Association. civil Liberties groups, Internet Service Providers, Commercial Online Service Providers, Newspaper, Magazine and Book Publishers, and over 57,000 individual Internet users. The ACLU, along with a coalition of civil liberties groups, advocacy groups, online content providers, and others filed the initial case on the day the CDA was signed into law.

Detailed information on the legal challenges, as well as information about the CDA, is available at the following web sites:

Legal Challenges To The CDA ----------------------------

* The Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition (CIEC) - * The ACLU -

The outcome of this legal battle will have far reaching implications. At stake is nothing less than the future of the First Amendment in the information age.

________________________________________________________________________ FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information on the Free Speech Vigil, including press inquiries, please contact:

Jonah Seiger, <> +1.202.637.9800 Communications Director, Center for Democracy and Technology/Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition

Or Visit

________________________________________________________________________ end alert

Posted: 6/11/97: ACTION ALERT

[American Friends Service Committee Pacific Program, 2426 O'ahu Ave., Honolulu, HI 96822, ph:(808) 988-1124, fax: (808) 988-4876,]

Help needed to oppose radioactive waste dumping in the Marshall Islands.

Marshall Islanders are mounting a campaign to oppose the agreement signed between BNW, a Virginian based company, and the President and some cabinet members of the Federated States of the Marshall Islands to dump radioactive wastes on two atolls. One of the atolls, Wotho, is inhabited and it is planned that the residents work for the nuclear waste site. The other atoll, Erikub, is a turtle sanctuary where turtles are harvested traditionally during emergency food shortages.

Although the agreement was signed in secret on May 9th under the pretext that it was to conduct an independent feasibility study, there has been no public disclosure of it since. The President and the BNW officials are currently in Taiwan to secure an agreement with the Taiwanese for their nuclear wastes.

There is expressed concern by the Marshall Islanders that the agreement gives unrestricted use of the atolls by the company regardless of the consequences to health and the environment. These consequences include exposing the people and animals to high levels of radiation, potential transportation accidents and releases into the ocean from rising sea levels and natural disasters such as typhoons.

Please write to the President or the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and express to them your concern of their decision to dump nuclear wastes on their atolls.



[Kilali Alailima, AFSC Pacific Program Coordinator]