About 75 people attended the dinner to honor Helene Hale on United Nations International Women’s Day Monday (March 8, 2010.) For Hilo on a Monday, that’s proof of the fantastic draw that Ms. Hale, who will be 92 later this month, commands. Zonta Club of Hilo organized the honor.
Mayor Billy Kenoi spoke of her tireless (actually he said ‘indefatigable’) efforts to make the world a better place; Elroy Osorio, who served with her as elected county officials, said there are politicians and there are statesmen, and Helene Hale has always been a statesman.
Members of the United Nations Association Chapter that she started in Hawaii were on hand, with members of the League of Women Voters of which she is a dedicated member. Each organization, including the YWCA of Hawaii Island, spoke of Ms. Hale’s contributions. She was the first woman executive in Hawaii government since Queen Liliuokalani; the first African American elected to office in Hawaii; she battled in the state Legislature for her Puna district. She went to Beijing in the ‘90s with the League of Women Voters to participate in the U.N. Forum on Women.
Zontians honored Ms. Hale with the Rose Award for her lifetime of service. Zonta Club of Hilo is part of Zonta International whose mission is to advance the status of women worldwide.
Kolua Seiko, Zonta International’s District 9 Advocacy Chair, who works on Zonta’s and the UN’s initiatives to reach the world’s women, took part in honoring Ms. Hale. Seiko was in Hawaii to address Zonta’s Area 7 Workshop on Kauai over the weekend and flew over to attend the Hilo event.