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House Bill 554 signed into law



On Wednesday, June 14th, Hawai’i Governor Josh Green signed House Bill 554 into law. This bill was crafted by Imua Alliance, Senior Landecker Fellow Kris Coffield’s non-profit, in coordination with survivors of campus-based sexual violence.

Specifically, the measure strengthens access to gender-inclusive sexual assault prevention programming for students at the University of Hawai’i, requires trauma-informed care training for staff who assist victims and manage the college’s disciplinary protocols, and creates amnesty provisions that will prevent students from being held responsible for the circumstances of their trauma – “like being under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” Kris explains.

I began working on the first version of this measure at the end of 2019, shortly after coming forward as a survivor of a gang rape that occured when I was a student at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa,” Kris describes how he got engaged with the issue.

Therefore, to Kris, this proposal was very personal. “It took a lot of work. We faced a surprising and not-so-surprising amount of opposition to the bill over the last four years,” he adds. Sadly, the university boycotted the bill signing ceremony.

The bill signing ceremony with the governor, Kris, and other advocates.
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Kris is one of thirty 2021-2022 Landecker Democracy Fellows. This fellowship, a collaboration between the Alfred Landecker Foundation and Humanity in Action, was created to strengthen a new generation of leaders whose approaches to political and social challenges can become catalysts for democratic placemaking and community building. Read more about the fellowship here.