Tulsi Gabbard paddling on a surfboard
About Tulsi Gabbard / Part 2

Service Above Self

Growing up in Hawaii, Tulsi was surrounded by one of the most ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse places in the world. One simple idea unifies so many unique people—Aloha.

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Aloha means so much more than hello or goodbye. It is a way of life. Aloha means “I come to you with an open heart, with love, respect and an acknowledgment that we are all brothers and sisters, that all life is interconnected.” The famous Hawaiian cultural leader Aunty Pilahi Paki said, “The world will turn to Hawaii as they search for peace because Hawaii has the key, and that is Aloha.”

Aloha is a promise to protect all living things, the earth we inhabit, the air we all breathe and the water that gives us all life. We are all connected. We are brothers and sisters.

As she was growing up, Tulsi’s parents would enlist her and her siblings in “service days” - picking up litter from beaches or preparing food for homeless families. At first, she resented having to set aside her surfboard. But gradually she discovered that she was happier when she was putting the needs of others before her own.

It was those experiences that caused her to realize that she wanted to use her life working in some way for the well-being of others and our planet.

As a teen, Tulsi was concerned about pollution she saw on the beaches and oceans of Hawaii, so she co-founded Healthy Hawaii Coalition and developed a fun program she took to elementary schools teaching kids about the importance of protecting our land and precious water resources.   Wanting to do more, she campaigned for and was elected to the Hawaii State House of Representatives when she was 21 years old.

After the attacks on 9/11, she enlisted in the Army National Guard, to serve her home state during a time of need, and to serve her country and go after the terrorists who attacked us.

Next: The Cost of War →