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The Inertia

Today, during an interview with Van Jones on CNN, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced that she will run for president in 2020.

This is big news.

This means that a surfer, in a very real way, can change the world.

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We first met Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in December of 2017 during our annual pilgrimage to the North Shore. While John John Florence was threading needles at Pipe en route to his second world title, we coordinated a meeting with the Congresswoman at her home on the other side of the island. We were intrigued by Gabbard’s rare mix of political ambition, commitment to the environment, and surf sensibility. After a wide-ranging conversation in her backyard, (where her very first surfboard still lives) we got pizza and shave ice at the local farmer’s market.

Gabbard is a lifelong surfer and advocate for our oceans. She’s a veteran who served two tours in the Middle East. She was the first Hindu member of Congress and the youngest person elected to Hawaii State Legislature, taking office when she was 21 years old in 2002.

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Tulsi Gabbard delivered a moving speech about the power of aloha at The Inertia's 2018 EVOLVE Summit. Photo: Aika Lau

Tulsi Gabbard delivered a moving speech about the power of aloha at The Inertia’s 2018 EVOLVE Summit. Photo: Aika Lau

Gabbard was named The Inertia‘s Global Advocate at our first-ever EVOLVE Summit, and she delivered the keynote address after Tom Carroll and Sal Masekela discussed Tom’s decision to boycott pro surfing to protest apartheid. In her speech, Gabbard shared her philosophy on aloha:

“What you’re really saying when you say ‘aloha’ is, ‘I am coming to you with an open heart. I am coming to you with respect, with love, and with care, and a recognition of our interconnectedness. A recognition of our responsibility to each other because of that interconnectedness. Regardless of where we come from or what our beliefs may be about things. What country we’re from, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, all of the things that can make us unique. We are all interconnected. That responsibility that we feel not only to each other but to our home. To our planet. So we can say aloha to each other. We can feel aloha towards each other, and we can make that choice every single day to live aloha through our actions and the way we go about our lives.”

The prospect of a surfer bringing aloha and an unwavering commitment to the environment to the nation’s highest office is an exciting one.

Watch Gabbard’s full keynote speech at EVOLVE 2018 below.

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