What’s your story?

On many topics — like facing off with Hawaii’s exorbitant prices — our readers have common sense, intimate knowledge and daily expertise. We’re hoping you’ll share those experiences.

Civil Beat is rolling out “Connections,” a new feature that allows people like you to read selected Civil Beat articles and hopefully inspire you to share your own story. Your contribution may inspire other people to share theirs, and together we can figure out ways to bring down the high price of paradise.

It’s easy. Just click on the pen in the red circle on any Connections story page and write about your own experiences.

Connections collage #1

The Connections feature allows you to act as a normal reader or, if you are inspired, to tell your own story.

Connections will initially focus on the cost of living, as a complement to our Living Hawaii series about the state’s punishingly high prices. But watch for other conversations about issues facing Hawaii that people are talking about.

We’ve already told some personal stories — like those the family that felt compelled to leave Oahu for the suburbs of Houston in search of better opportunities or the financial challenges faced by former gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona. Those resonated with readers and is one reason we decided to create a hub for such stories.

The initial Connections piece is a powerful essay by a resilient young entrepreneur in Honolulu with a dark sense of humor. She received a terrifying medical diagnosis in our remote locale, which means her struggle to survive came with some additional physical, emotional and financial costs. You can read it here.

Upcoming contributions to Connections will focus on a wide range of issues, including some of the things that prevent mainland-educated locals from returning home. There is also the story of a part-Native Hawaiian resident of the islands who addresses the impact of high housing prices on her dream of settling near her ancestral land.

Another lifelong resident of the islands, fed up with over-development and commercialism, sought out a “new Hawaii” abroad that is, he says, more similar to the place he grew up than modern Hawaii. Another man has watched his entire family leave Oahu, one by one, to seek opportunity elsewhere, leaving him to contemplate how long he will be able to hold out in the islands.

You will notice that there is no comments section in Connections because the goal is to encourage people to share their own stories, but we do expect a dynamic discussion of these stories on Civil Beat’s Facebook pages, including our main one and our cost-of-living group.

This is just the beginning for Connections. It is part of our efforts to create a fluid dialogue with readers going forward, and we will ultimately apply that to many topics.

But first, let’s talk about the high cost of our lives in these islands. So file your story, along with photos and a brief biography, and we’ll get back to you promptly about editing and when it might run.

So, what’s your story?

Do you have a compelling story about the human impact of the cost of living, whether about you or someone you know? If so, drop me a note at epape@civilbeat.com.

And join Civil Beat’s Facebook group on the cost of living in Hawaii to continue the conversation and discuss practical and political solutions.

About the Author