Sunday, June 2, 2013

World Can't Wait Hawai`i Represents in the Annual Honolulu Pride Parade


On June 1st almost two thousand people rallied to support Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, where Bradley’s trial is set to begin on Monday. At the same time rallies, signholdings and marches were held in cities around the world. For what happened at Fort Meade, see Be sure to go to the photo-stream for pictures.

In Honolulu we showed our support for Bradley in a contingent in the Annual Pride Parade. Several thousand people participated in the parade itself, and thousands more lined Waikiki's Kalakaua Avenue to show their support for contingents organized by LGBTQ organizations, progressive churches, unions, and civil rights organizations. The mood was up-beat and celebratory coming off of recent victories for LGBTQ rights.

 World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i has had a contingent in the Pride Parade for many years. Most years our contingent has focused on our opposition to war and torture, and has been warmly welcomed by parade organizers and many of its participants. This year our contingent was led by a big banner reading “Humanity and the Planet Come First” and was followed by two trucks – one decorated to show support for Bradley Manning and the other to Demand an end to Drone Warfare – along with marchers.

The first truck was decorated with big pictures of Bradley Manning, along with signs reading “Telling the Truth about War Crimes Is Not a Crime.” Drummers on board kept up a loud and energetic beat.   

The second truck carried our awesome drone replica, signs reading “Stop the Killer Drones”, and a World Can’t Wait organizer who kept up a steady chant to the beat of the drums.   For the entire three-mile route “Free, Free, Free Bradley Manning” and “Stop, Stop, Stop the Drones” echoed through the dense labyrinth of hotels.

All along the route people clapped, cheered, and gave us a shaka or thumbs-up. Some yelled their support for Bradley, others sat along the curb and clapped. A few made gestures showing their disagreement. A few ran up to the truck and asked who made the drone. It was notable that many of the tourists from Japan along the route seemed to immediately recognize Bradley and showed enthusiastic support for Bradley and opposition to the drones.

Thousands of spectators held up their cameras, cell phones and i-pads to take pictures, and photos of our contingent have already hit social media.  That the International Day of Support for Bradley Manning happened to be on the same day as the Pride Parade in Hawai`i turned out to offer us an awesome opportunity to show our support for Bradley at this event and also reach thousands of international and mainland visitors as well as locals who come out to support LGBTQ rights! We may not be what was expected at a Pride Parade, but the response showed overwhelming support.
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