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The 19th century in Hawaii was a time of social, economic, political and cultural upheaval. Despite this—or perhaps because of it—this period was also a time of great excellence in art, literature, education, public discourse and philosophy.

At a time when the United States had a roughly 50 percent literacy rate, by the 1830s, Hawaii held the highest literacy rate in the world. The seat of government of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Iolani Palace, had electricity and telephones installed several years before the White House. And Hawaii’s politicians and leaders would engage in public debate and civil discourse with and engaged, active and empowered electorate across the pages of the Kingdom’s many esteemed newspapers.

Established in 2009, The Hawaii Independent is an award-winning local news publication that tells the story of our islands from a distinctly local, indigenous and progressive vantage point. We seek to harken back to this era of excellence in robust, public dialog, but with a 21st century attention to technology and presentation.

Our mission is to build a public sphere where engaged readers can actively participate in the shaping of public discourse and policy. We know that when the working class takes charge of its own destiny and plays an active role in shaping society, everyone benefits. The Hawaii Independent acts as a trusted source of information to the progressive movement, sharing the stories and reporting the facts that establishment outlets overlook and ignore, and helping to move Hawaii forward. But we need your help to make this vision a reality.

In an era of corporate media and controlled information, the solution to fake news and propaganda is not new algorithms on Facebook: the solution is media rooted in the community it serves, made open and transparent in its funding sources and held accountable by the members of the public that make up its base.

In this cooperative media model, we substitute shareholders for coop members who will pay just $5 a month to help us keep our community-reporting operation alive. Members will receive full access to our editorial process through a crowd-sourcing and community recommendation process, limited access to Insider (launching soon), our database of powerful and connected individuals and entities operating within the State of Hawaii, as well as select discounts at the Summit Shop, a place for stories, curated goods and experiences rooted in the Hawaiian Hemisphere.

Sign up for membership today, and help support this key component of the progressive movement in Hawaii!