Civil Beat is the largest news outlet dedicated to public affairs reporting about Hawaii. As a nonprofit, all-digital news source, we hope our stories inspire you to learn more about your community as well as encourage you to experience it firsthand through our live events.

Civil Beat hosts numerous public and member-exclusive events every year, including monthly member coffees and pau hanas, Civil Cafe panel discussions, and an intimate speaker series known as Hawaii Storytellers. Through our events, Civil Beat looks to foster community discussions by providing a place where citizens can share their thoughts and debate important issues in a civil manner.  

Most events are streamed online for our readers and archived here and on social media.

Upcoming Events

3/23/17: Civil Cafe: The Legacy of Patsy Mink and Why Title IX Still Matters

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that opened up higher education and athletics to America’s women, as well as the 15th anniversary of the death of its co-author, Hawaii’s late Congresswoman Patsy Mink. In recognition of Women’s History Month, we invite you to join us for Civil Cafe: The Legacy of Patsy Mink and Why Title IX Still Matters. The event begins with a screening of the award-winning documentary film, Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority, by filmmaker and Windward Community College journalism instructor Kimberlee Bassford. A panel discussion moderated by Civil Beat columnist and long-time Hawaii journalist Denby Fawcett will directly follow the screening.

This event is free and open to the public and will be held on Thursday, March 23, 6-8 p.m. at Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College.  Please RSVP here.

3/24/17: Conversation and Coffee

This month, Civil beat is taking our member coffee event on the road to Maui! We’re excited to host our first-ever neighbor island Conversation and Coffee. Civil Beat editor and general Patti Epler is making the trip, along with director of philanthropy, Ben Nishimoto, and membership and events manager, Mariko Chang. Hana resident and new Civil Beat Maui-based columnist Tad Bartimus will be our featured guest.

This event will take place on Friday, March 24, 2-3 p.m. at the University of Hawaii – Maui College, Laulima Building. Please RSVP here.

Past Events

2/25/17: Civil Cafe: Why We Need Sharks

This Civil Cafe highlighted the importance of sharks in a healthy, balanced ecosystem. The event began with a brief tour by local mural artist Kai Kaulukukui who talked about his shark series and his involvement with global marine conservation organization PangeaSeed Foundation. The event continued with a panel discussion at Kakaako Agora moderated by Civil Beat Reporter, Nathan Eagle. Panelists included William Aila Jr. (former Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources), Mike Coots (shark attack survivor and shark advocate), Kim Holland (Researcher at the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology) and Tre’ Packard (Founder and Executive Director of PangeaSeed Foundation).

2/24/17: Capitol Debate: Expand GE Tax to Fund Rail?

The Capitol Debate series aims to raise the level of civil discourse on controversial issues. On Friday, 2/24, debaters from the University of Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University and teams from the mainland debated the motion: This House Would expand the GE Tax to fund rail.  The debate was adjudicated by a panel of legislators, aides, community leaders and journalists. To watch the archived video of the debate, please visit Civil Beat’s Facebook page.

2/12/17: 13th + Panel Featuring Black Lives Matter Co-founder Patrisse Cullors

Civil Beat partnered with the Hawai’i Council for the Humanities as part of the Honolulu African American Film Festival at the Doris Duke Theatre. This event was free and open to the public and included a screening of 13th, a new documentary directed by Ava Duvernay.  More information can be found here.

2/7/17: Conversation and Coffee

On Tuesday afternoon, February 7, Civil Beat hosted our monthly Conversation and Coffee on the Windward side of Oahu. Members joined us from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Morning Brew in Kailua Town.

1/26/17: Civil Cafe: Legislative Session: What Can I Do?

This live event featured panelists, Keanu Young (Public Access Room), Beppie Shapiro (Women’s League of Voters), and Corie Tanida (Common Cause). Together, they touched upon the lawmaking process and how individuals can get involved by contacting their legislators, submitting testimony, and much more.

1/24/17: Conversation and Coffee

Civil Beat coffee Barbara Tanabe. 20 sept 2016

In January, Civil Beat welcomed 30 supporters for an inside look at the newsroom. Editor and General Manager, Patti Epler, opened with updates for 2017, including the appointment of Civil Beat’s federal reporter, Kirstin Downey, and Maui columnist, Tad Bartimus; recent on-the-ground inauguration coverage; and a successful year-end fundraising campaign.

11/18/16: Hawaii Storytellers: What Can Hawaii Teach America About Race?

Civil Beat race event This live event was a continuation of the Hawaii Storytellers series and was based on Season 1 of Civil Beat’s recently released podcast, Offshore. The event included preshow interactives such as caricature drawings, a printmaking workshop, and a zine station, followed by intimate stories about race in Hawaii from Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Denby Fawcett, Spencer Toyama, Jonathan Okamura, Mark Landsberg, and Kumu Hina.

11/03/16: Election Trivia

Civil Cafe Election Trivia held at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. 3 nov 2016 In this pre-election event at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, contestants went head-to-head in three rounds of questioning, testing their knowledge of voter turnout and local and national election topics. By the end students and faculty participants left with a deeper understanding of current issues as well as local and national voting practices.

10/06/16: Election Trivia Civil Cafe

This edition of Civil Cafe tested participants’ knowledge of local and national politics through fun, fast-paced, interactive trivia. The event began with live audience polling, followed by a trivia showdown between KCC’s Student Congress and Faculty Senate. Election Trivia was presented in partnership with The Associated Students of Kapi`olani Community College (KCC) and the KapCC Paralegal Program.

09/20/16: Conversation and Coffee

Civil Beat Coffee Editor Patti Epler. 20 sept 2016 September marked our second Conversation and Coffee, a monthly member benefit, which offers supporters an inside look at the Civil Beat newsroom. Editor and General Manager, Patti Epler, spoke on the progress of Civil Beat’s internship program and our new podcast initiative, as well as introduced our upcoming storytellers series in partnership with Hawaii Public Radio and announce our national award for our five-part series, The Harbor.

04/26/16: Spotlight Film Screening

Spotlight movie posterThis movie night featured a free screening of the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight”. Civil Beat columnist Denby Fawcett gave a special introduction, mentioning Hawaii’s connection to the events portrayed in the movie and reminding us of the importance of good investigative journalism.

03/17/16: Civil Cafe: Apathy & Influence

Honolulu Civil Beat Civil Cafe at the Captiol with left, Sen Russell Ruderman, CB's Chad Blair, Senator Maile Shimabukuro, League of Women Voters Janet Mason and right, Common Cause Hawaii Carmille Lim at room 414 Capitol. We returned to the Hawaii State Capitol to discuss the “good government” bills that survived crossover, what didn’t and why — with a focus on legislation relating to voter turnout and campaign finance reform. Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, Common Cause Executive Director Carmille Lim, and the League of Women Voters’ Janet Mason served as panelists in a discussion moderated by Civil Beat reporter Chad Blair (with a surprise appearance by Sen. Russell Ruderman!). Panelists also discussed low voter turnout, campaign finance reform and the practice of legislators sharing their campaign funds with other politicians.

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02/11/16: Hawaii Storytellers: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Hawaii Storytellers: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
The stories we tell define who we are – individually and as a community. This live storytelling event continued our series at The ARTS at Marks Garage. Journalists at Civil Beat and HuffPost Hawaii and other writers shared stories about life-changing decisions: committing to or giving up on Hawaii, other places, careers or people. Storytellers were Jessica Terrell, Bob Ortega, Chris D’Angelo, Anthony Quintano, Beau Ewen, Colby Lawton, Gene Park and Drew Tarvin.

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10/27/15: Hawaii Storytellers: The Micronesians

Storytellers-Micronesia-POSTOur first Hawaii Storytellers event kicked off with an evening of live storytelling featuring three Micronesian immigrants and Civil Beat reporter Chad Blair, who grew up partly on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The event took place in conjunction with the release of our special multi-part, multimedia report “The Micronesians: An Untold Story of American Immigration.” Storytellers Alice Ehmes, Joakim Peter, Sheldon Riklon and Chad Blair told personal stories of identity and immigration.

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08/25/15: Are We Overfishing Hawaii Waters?

Civil Beat’s Civil Cafe. ‘Are We Overfishing Hawaii Waters?’ at The Arts at Marks Garage. 25 aug 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Civil Beat hosted its first Civil Cafe at The ARTS at Marks Garage on the issue of pacific fishery closures and overfishing. Panelists were Paul Dalzell, Senior Scientist/Pelagics Program Coordinator for the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, David Henkin, Staff Attorney for the Mid-Pacific Regional Office of Earthjustice, and Joshua Shade of Ahi Assassins Fish Company. Todd Simmons, Opinion Editor of Civil Beat, moderated a lively discussion that aired on Olelo.

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07/28/15: Merchants of Doubt Film Screening

MOD-event page

Civil Beat hosted its first movie night at The ARTS at Marks Garage with a free screening of the documentary Merchants of Doubt, based on a book of the same name. Audience members munched on popcorn while learning about “pundits-for-hire” who present themselves as scientific authorities as they work to sway political opinion.

04/27/15: How Can Hawaii Become Food-Self Sufficient?

Civil Cafe crowd eats
Civil Beat teamed up with FarmLovers Farmers’ Market and Ulupono Initiative for this special Civil Cafe exploring Hawaii’s food self-sufficiency. The event was held at Green Rows Farm in Waimanalo and included a farm tour and potluck dinner along with the panel discussion.

Panelists Scott Enright, director of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Vincent Mina, president of Hawaii Farmers Union United, and Sen. Russell Ruderman, agriculture committee member and owner of Island Naturals stores, joined Civil Beat reporter Nathan Eagle to discuss Hawaii’s unique situation when it comes to agricultural sustainability.

04/15/15: Can Hawaii Be 100% Renewable By 2040?

Civil Cafe Lege

On April 15, Civil Cafe made its way to the State Capitol to tackle the question, “Can Hawaii Be 100% Renewable By 2040?” Sen. Mike Gabbard, Rep. Chris Lee, and Hawaii State Energy Office Administrator Mark Glick sat down with Civil Beat reporter Nathan Eagle to explore how the state has fared in meeting its renewable energy goals so far, and what obstacles might prevent us from achieving the overall goal by 2040.

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02/19/15: What’s Next for Marijuana in Hawaii?

Civil cafe on marijuana 2-19-15

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

We were back at Fresh Cafe in Kakaako for this installment of Civil Cafe, where we discussed the future of marijuana legislation in Hawaii. Topics included legalization, dispensaries, and medical marijuana. Our panelists consisted of state Sen. Will Espero, Alan Shinn of Drug Free Hawaii, Wendy Gibson of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, and Capt. Jason Kawabata of the Honolulu Police Department.

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01/15/15: Amendment 4 Failed, Now What?

Honolulu Civil Beat Castle High School Education meeting. 15 jan 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Civil Beat headed to Kaneohe for this Education Cafe focusing on early education. Our panelists included Ways and Means chair Sen. Jill Tokuda, Early Childhood Action Strategy Coordinator Kerrie Urosevich, Good Beginnings’s Deborah Zysman, the HSTA’s Joan Lewis, and FACE’s Karen Ginoza.

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01/13/15: How Do We Retain and Elevate Teachers in Hawaii?

Civil Beat education cafe Mililani

This Mililani event featured Education Committee chair Sen. Michelle Kidani, the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board’s Lisa DeLong, Teach For America’s William Scott, the New Teacher Center’s Michelle Robellard, and Campbell High School teacher Corey Rosenlee.

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11/20/14: What’s Ailing UH & How to Fix It

Civil Cafe UH

Gene Park/Civil Beat

Civil Cafe tackles the question, “What’s Ailing UH and How To Fix It?” Our panelists included new Manoa Chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman, Board of Regents member Jeff Portnoy, UH Faculty Senate Chair Ron Bontekoe, and Associated Students of UH President Stephen Nishihara. Civil Beat reporter Nathan Eagle moderated the discussion that covered such topics as the school’s budget, its leadership, and the state of its facilities.

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10/8/14: Should Local Communities Have Greater Control Over Their Schools?

On Oct. 8, Civil Beat took the show on the road to Ewa Beach Public and School Library to discuss how local communities can exercise greater control over public schools. Our education reporter Alia Wong led the discussion with Al Nagasako of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Suzanne Mulcahy of the Department of Education, former Farrington High School principal Catherine Payne, and Frances Tapiz, a mother of four children in public schools to discuss whether local control would improve public schools.

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10/1/14: Public, Private & Charter Schools: How Should Parents Choose

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

We kicked off our education Civil Cafe series in Manoa on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus. Civil Beat education reporter Alia Wong moderated a discussion on how parents can make the best choice for their kids between public, private and charter schools. The panelists were Tom Hutton of the Charter School Commission, Phil Bossert of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, and Marguerite Higa of Parents for Public Schools.

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8/14/14: Paradise Lost: Honolulu Homelessness

On Aug. 14, Civil Beat hosted a lively and sometimes heated Civil Cafe on homelessness. The panel included Colin Kippen, Hawaii homelessness coordinator, Jun Yang, Honolulu housing executive director, Jerry Coffee, Institute for Human Services clinical director, and Jason Espero, director of Care-A-Van for Waikiki Health Center.

The event was also a fundraiser for Hale Kipa Inc., a nonprofit servicing homeless and at-risk youth. Hale Kipa raised more than $300 from in-person donations at the event, and some Civil Beat readers also contributed online.

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6/27/14: Hiking Hawaii: Risks & Rewards Civil Cafe

Civil Beat held a Civil Cafe to discuss the broad range of issues surrounding hiking in Hawaii. Author and columnist Denby Fawcett moderated the talk, which featured Curt Cottrell of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, state Sen. (and former DLNR chair) Laura Thielen and the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club’s John Hall.

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5/29/14: Ask Ige Anything Civil Cafe

Sen. David Ige, the Democratic nominee for governor at the time, took questions from Civil Beat political reporter Chad Blair, the audience and the online public about the state budget, education, health care and other issues from this year’s Legislature. He also talked about why he got into the race.

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4/29/14: Women In Journalism: Setting the Standard

Our panelists of veteran and prominent Hawaii journalists discussed the disparity and the challenges facing women trying to break into journalism. The discussion featured Civil Beat Editor Patti Epler, Hawaii Public Radio Executive Producer and “The Conversation” co-host Beth-Ann Kozlovich, KITV reporter Catherine Cruz and columnist/reporter Denby Fawcett. Former PBS Insights host Dan Boylan moderated.

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4/22/14: Honolulu’s Bicycling Renaissance Civil Cafe

Civil Beat presented a special Earth Day edition of Civil Cafe, where we discussed Honolulu’s future for bicycling and transportation. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has committed himself to upgrading city infrastructure to not only promote better bike safety, but put more bicyclists on the road. Reporter Sophie Cocke moderated the conversation which featured Mike Formby, director of the city Department of Transportation Services, and Chad Taniguchi, executive director of the Hawaii Bicycling League.

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3/13/14: Kamehameha Schools & Kakaako Development Civil Cafe

The state’s largest private landowner has big plans to transform Kakaako from a warehouse district into a vibrant community, and has been working to gain support from a community that is suspicious of the outsized development projects taking place in Honolulu’s urban core. Representatives from Kamehameha Schools talked about Kakaako development plans.

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11/20/13: Sen. Clayton Hee Gay Marriage Debate Civil Cafe

During the bill-signing ceremony for same-sex marriage, Sen. Clayton Hee insisted he had played a “small role” in Hawaii becoming the 15th state to allow same-sex marriage. Hee’s intimate knowledge about how the process worked was the focus of this Civil Cafe for a discussion about the historic special session that legalized gay marriage, how it happened and what it might mean going forward.

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10/23/13: Randall Roth Civil Cafe

Professor Randall Roth has been at the forefront of Hawaii’s most talked-about issues in recent decades including rail, the Bishop Estate and the high cost of living in Hawaii. But what happened to him every time he spoke out? What is the price of civic engagement? His involvement in all of the above (and more) made him a great candidate for a civil discussion with our readers.

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For more information on upcoming events or how to become a member of Civil Beat, please contact