Make it easier
We must make it easier for kupuna to get the COVID-19 vaccine. First, there must be a phone system staffed by live operators, without interminable waiting, for those without computer access.
For those with computer access, we need one website that lists all the available vaccination sites per island. This should be updated in real time.
If you click on your preferred site, it should indicate whether appointments are available. If yes, you click on it, and register for the appointment without wasting time. Simple.
As it is now, people spend hours over many days to get an appointment, if lucky. Access to important health care should not be made this way.
Second, we must prioritize all kupuna over 50. The state and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show people 50 and older are four times as likely to be hospitalized than younger people and account for nearly 95% of deaths.
The state is making decisions about prioritization, as it should. but it must make the process more transparent. We need a better explanation of who is being prioritized, and why, and the number of how many people are being vaccinated, by age.
Mark A. Koppel
What is his story?
I am writing today about a man who, like me, you probably all know but have never met.
I’ve begun to think of him as Black Lazarus. He makes me remember the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in the Bible and, due to the posture he often assumes, of the Buddha’s Mahasamadhi.
He is often there on Kinoole Street near Lincoln Park. He lies directly on the sidewalk, or propped up on some city fixture, day after day. He doesn’t carry a sign or ask for anything.
There is something about his expression, and body language, that sets him apart from the far too many homeless people we still see here in Hilo.
I sometimes wonder if he purposefully puts himself on display to mirror to us our seeming ability to repeatedly drive by him without considering the pain and suffering of our fellow human beings. Maybe even just one human being.
Black Lazarus has become a life koan for me.
I am not an activist. From childhood I was taught to be prudent, not to get involved in unknown situations, and to “mind my own business.” However, when did we decide as a culture that it is alright for a man to lie on a sidewalk day after day in Hilo town?
When did we agree to stop seeing? When did we decide to dismiss any person from our hearts and minds? Surely, that was not a conscious decision.
My question to you is this: Does anyone know this man and his story?
Everyone has a story. There is a history to every situation in which we find ourselves. What is his history? Does he want to change his story? Do we have a role to play in that?