About Us

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Girl Fest’s mission is to prevent violence against women and girls through education and art. Currently, we are Hawaii’s longest-running all-volunteer anti-violence multimedia festival. Girl Fest incorporates music, film, art, dance and spoken word to get its message out to the public. Girl Fest started doing quarterly smart parties in 2003 culminating that year in a sold-out V-Day Vagina Monologues performance at the historic Hawaii Theatre in February 2004 with Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Joy Harjo and Nora Okja-Keller. This event raised the money needed to start the annual Girl Fest festivals.




In 2004, with the help of Equality Now, Girl Fest led a publicity campaign incorporating a public rally and testimonials at the State legislature which resulted in the signing of Act 82, the first law in the nation to outlaw sex-tourism. Since then over 12 states have modeled and passed legislation based on Hawaii’s law. This campaign was held in direct response to a sex-tour operator named Melvin Hamaguchi who sold "the ultimate asian sex tour" from his business based in Honolulu called "Video Travel."




We successfully urged the UHM President to publically declare all 10 campuses statewide “Rape Free Zones.” This entailed a detailed list of more than just a public declaration which included revising of their sex-assault policy, requiring immediate email notification of the student body, staff and admin of sex-assaults or dangers, increasing lighting, implementing training and education to name some. 

Girl Fest worked with UHM President David McClain to conduct an anti-sexism training for all UHM administration, coaches and faculty led by Jackson Katz, leading male educator against sexism and men's violence against women.



Girl Fest introduced Hawaii's first legislation to make Human-Trafficking a felony offense while protecting victims of this crime. The bill died in the state legislature but from that bill, the Hawaii Anti-Trafficking Task Force emerged pursuant to Act 260. This task force was legislatively mandated to suggest improvements to law or new legislation to effectively address Human-Trafficking.





As members of the Hawaii Anti Trafficking Task Force (HATTF II), we succeeded in raising the age defining a minor in Promoting Prostitution from “under 16 years of age” to “under 18 years of age.” Previous to that, police could arrest child-sex-trafficking victims as “prostitutes” or “criminals.” In fact, from 2004 until 2008 the Honolulu Police Department arrested 30 juveniles for prostitution without further interview into the possibility of sex-trafficking. (Hawaii Department of the Attorney General Statistics- Juvenile Justice Division). We also changed the term in Promoting Prostitution in the second degree from "prostitute" to "prostituted person."

With the help of former UHM football coach, June Jones, Girl Fest conducted an anti-sexism and anti-violence training for the entire UHM Rainbow Warrior football team and UHM volleyball teams led by former All-Star college football player turned filmmaker, Byron Hurt.



2009-2010: As the HATTF II disbanded and no further recommendations for changes to law were submitted to the legislature, Girl Fest and the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS) worked with local legislators to introduce what may be Hawaii's first Human-Trafficking state law (regarding labor-trafficking).

2011: Girl Fest Hawaii, along with the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, passed Hawaii’s first Human-Trafficking law HB141, and additionally, Girl Fest and PASS worked with the Prosecutor to amend the Promoting Prostitution laws to effectively address sex-trafficking HB240. Both were signed by Governor Abercrombie on June 20, 2011.  

2011: Girl Fest's Rape-Free Zone Coalition is revisiting the University of Hawaii's promise in declaring all 10 of its campuses statewide "Rape-Free Zones" which include upholding a list of reasonable requests to ensure the safety of the female staff and student body on campus. Talks and action plans with the University continue. For more information, email: RFZ@girlfesthawaii.org


The Annual Festival

Usually taking place every November, this all-volunteer non-profit 501(c)3 festival incorporates film, music, art, spoken word, and dance complemented by a mini-conference involving panels, lectures, outreach workshops for children and adults that address themes such as body image, identity, empowerment, social change and methods on how to prevent violence in relationships.

Some noted speakers, performers, and filmmakers who have participated in Girl Fest include:

  • Ali Wong
  • Alix Olsen
  • Amber Tamblyn
  • Bethany Hamilton
  • Bonnie Tamblyn
  • Byron Hurt, Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes
  • Charlyne Yi
  • Derek Ellerman, Polaris Project
  • Derrick Brown
  • Elena Featherston
  • Emily Wells
  • Guerilla Girls, The
  • Haunani K. Trask
  • Jackson Katz
  • Jean Kilbourne
  • JenEd
  • Jessica Neuwirth, Equality Now
  • Joy Harjo
  • Kelly Zen-Yi Tsai
  • Kenneth Franzblau, Equality Now
  • La Paz, featuring Ricardo Chavez nephew of Cesar Chavez and son of Dolores Huerta
  • Lois-Ann Yamanaka
  • Marc Bamuthi Joseph
  • Maya Soetoro-Ng
  • Medusa
  • Meleana Meyer
  • Michael Cory Davis, Innocence Lost
  • Mike McGee
  • Mindy Nettifee
  • Mystic
  • Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua
  • Nora Okja Keller
  • Pamela Means
  • Puanani Burgess
  • Rachel Lloyd, GEMS
  • Sharmin Bock, D.A. Alameda County, California
  • Slanty Eyed Mama
  • Sonia Sanchez
  • Tracy Lords
  • United By Sound
  • Winona LaDuke
  • Yellow Rage

. . . and more.

May 2003
August 2003
December 2003
Feb 2004