CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hula performances were part of the Hawaii International Forgiveness Day program held yesterday at the Kaimuki High School auditorium. Pictured in the middle is Kona Au with her sisters U'ilani and Lokomaika'ikeakua.
Fest stokes forgiveness
Cheerful 11-year-old Mitchell Kouchi dressed in his bright red vest and danced in front of hundreds yesterday during the annual Hawaii International Forgiveness Day program at Kaimuki High School.
"I think forgiveness is very important because without it everything would be in chaos," he said.
This was the fifth year for the Hawaii International Forgiveness Day festival, a chance for the public to enjoy live entertainment, view art and hear about lessons learned from "forgiveness stories."
Nalani Olds, kupuna Kaunani Awai, Paula Fuga, dancers from IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre and storyteller Jeff Gere were among the program's lineup to entertain and enlighten the public about forgiveness.
"Forgiveness Day is an opportunity to make the choice to forgive," said Elizabeth Reveley, one of the program coordinators of the Hawaii Forgiveness Project organization. "We just remember that forgiveness is always a choice for life-sustaining opportunity to move forward in our lives."
As Reveley pointed to a canvas made for the Dalai Lama by Mid-Pacific Institute students, she said that this year's Forgiveness Day was more focused on arts and poetry. The festival also presented Hawaii Forgiveness Hero awards to people who embody forgiveness in creative ways.
Another performer, 21-year-old Catherine Sypert, said, "I could feel everyone's energies geared towards positive things. I think there's a lack of forgiveness in the world."
Sypert said Forgiveness Day is an opportunity to remind people about "moving forward in a positive direction."