Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Aloha `Aina March in Waikiki

Sunday, August 9:   More than 10,000 people came together for an “Aloha `Aina” march in Waikiki.  The unifying theme was a call for protection of the `aina (land).  Most were Native Hawaiians who have been energized by courageous protests against the construction of theThirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on the summit of Mauna Kea.  Others came to speak out against rapacious “development”, militarization of Pacific islands, destruction of farmlands, Monsanto, and GMO’s.  

As people assembled for the march, activists with the Honolulu Ad Hoc Committee for #RiseUpOctober distributed hundreds of copies of a leaflet headlined: “From Ferguson to Mauna Kea:  The Whole Damn System is Guilty”, along with the palm card calling for people to go to the march in NYC.   As soon as the banner with photos of victims of murder by police was displayed, children gathered round to read it to each other and ask questions.  “Look!  She’s littler me!  Why they kill her?” (pointing to the picture of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, age 7).  

Then the march took off down the main avenue through Hawai`i’s busiest tourist district and activists holding the #RiseUpOctober and World Can’t Wait’s “Humanity and the Planet Come First” banners jumped into the mix.    The distinctive blowing of the conch alternated with Hawaiian chant and song.   At times the march stopped completely and marchers turned to tourists lining the streets and performed hula.  Tourists along the route eagerly grabbed Hawai`i's #RiseUpOctober leaflet.   Participants in neighboring contingents saw that tourists were taking our leaflets and asked for stacks to help distribute.

The just anger of the Hawaiian people against a racist system that has overthrown their nation, stolen and desecrated their lands, condemned many to lives  of poverty and incarceration, and now criminalizes them for speaking out, has erupted in the form of the struggle to protect Mauna Kea.  But it isn’t limited to that.  The Hawaiian people are increasingly stepping to the frontlines of struggles against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), against militarization, for the preservation of agricultural lands, and against police brutality.   The Hawaiian people are rising up. 

Following are some photos from the march.
The next generation of demonstrator holds sign while being pushed in stroller along Kalakaua Ave during the Aloha Aina Unity March. 9 aug 2015. photograph by Cory Lum/Civil Beat

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 photo 2015-08-11 024_zpsmrepvgh1.jpg photo 2015-08-11 031_zpsxdx1fei4.jpg photo 2015-08-11 032_zpsi8vd0qew.jpg photo 2015-08-11 042_zpsooymffz4.jpgThousands of Aloha Aina Unity marchers head toward Kapiolani Park from Saratoga Road. 9 aug 2015. photograph by Cory Lum/Civil Beat photo c45c45dd-ef33-41bf-b084-9bb52282bf0f_zps4lsfjmbh.jpg
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