Every day in our islands, news stories show our lives could be much different if more Hawaii residents knew how to effectively engage in government processes. The Commission to Promote and Advance Civic Education (PACE), led by AJS member and Intermediate Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lisa M. Ginoza, who serves as its chair, is filling this vital need in our community.
“As with many other states across the nation, there is growing recognition of the need for better civics knowledge and participation here in Hawaii, especially for the next generation,” said Sylva Yuen, executive director of the American Judicature Society. “The PACE Commission is doing an outstanding job of helping our youth understand how government works. Making civics education more accessible encourages active engagement in government processes. We all win when more citizens know how to make their voices count. This is what democracy is all about.”
In a Judiciary news release issued when Gov. David Ige proclaimed October 2022 as Civics Awareness Month, Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald emphasized that “Understanding of government institutions and the crucial role of citizen participation, is needed for a thriving democracy. Indeed, Hawaii is a special place and everyone can help to create the best future for our communities and state.”
Rep. Amy Perruso, PACE Commission vice chair, a former Mililani High School social studies teacher who served in the Hawaii Department of Education for nearly 20 years, knows firsthand the transformational power of civics education, noting in the same news release:
“Education is about so much more than workforce development. It is about preparing our students to exercise their political power responsibly and knowledgeably. We are not born citizens—we each need to be equipped with the tools we need to engage with our systems of governance so that we can build a better world together. Civic education empowers students to create the future that they deserve.”