Police officer Mike Lambert in Honolulu goes above and beyond his law enforcement duties and consistently shows up for the tight-knit community.
Major Mike Lambert has been on the police force for 19 years. In his early years, he did as he was told… he forced homeless people to leave the streets with no other option. But over the years, he couldn’t accept this harsh reality, he had to do something more, so he created the HONU program (Homeless Outreach and Navigation for Unsheltered Persons) – an organization that provides temporary housing to the unhoused population utilizing a mobile navigation concept. Every 90 days a mobile shelter is built in a different area of the community to house the unhoused. It works for both the unhoused and the residents of neighbors because it is temporary and will move out of the location giving locals piece of mind and “spreading out the burden”. HONU teams also work with social worker and specialists to provide proper assistance to the unhoused in need.
Participating in Hawaiian culture does not have to be connected to traditional practices, like performing hula, reciting chants, or farming kalo. Culture can be an authentic everyday way of life, where you give back to Hawai‘i more than you take.
Hawai‘i Police Major Mike Lambert exemplifies these values. He works in a profession that can be very uncaring, and at its worst destructive, but instead of maintaining the status quo, he has chosen to be a leader in the community, helping the most vulnerable among us, and affecting change at all levels of the Police Department and State.
He is a role model for me and all Hawaiians who are compelled to give back to this land that sustains us, and in doing so he is helping to transform Hawai‘i into a shining example of a caring community for the rest of the world to see. I am honored to help tell his story.
I was born in the Hawaiian diaspora, and grew up knowing I had roots in Hawai‘i, but I didn’t always feel Hawaiian enough to claim my ancestry. Over the years, most of them now living in Hawai‘i, I’ve come to learn that participating in culture isn’t a birthright, it's my choice. I can show my Hawaiian ancestry on paper, but I can’t claim to be Hawaiian unless I am rooted in Hawaiian values, the most important of which is our responsibility to mālama, which means nurture that which sustains you. I am inextricably tied to Hawai‘i because this land provided for my ancestors, and so I have the kuleana, or responsibility, to do work that sustains this place, that gives back more than what I have taken.
Alex is a filmmaker who currently lives and works in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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