Waialeʻe, on north shore Oahu, was once a plentiful land supporting a large native population. But through colonization & development, Waialee suffered, used as a site to incarcerate troubled youth, then for agricultural research, and finally, left to become a squatters’ settlement that brings fear to nearby residents. When the State attempted to lessen its responsibility by transferring Waialee to large ag & tourist businesses, the community said no. But to progress in restoring these lands, the community must organize & persist. While COVID-19 has made life difficult and the future uncertain, this challenging time also has the potential to benefit Waialee by cementing an important fact: an economy overly dependent on the business of tourism is unstable, and a better forward is rooted in local sustainability. In Malama Waialee, I will explore this dynamic through a personal lens, as a Kamaaina who has educated myself, connected to the land, and built community for a moment such as this.