Tuesday, July 23, 2013

From Florida to Hawai`i - It's the Same Racist System!

It was late Thursday afternoon and demonstrations protesting the "Not Guilty" verdict in the Trayvon Martin case had been called in more than 100 cities.   None had been called in Honolulu and there had been little open outrage about the verdict.   At the same time the trial of U.S. Special Agent Christopher Deedy, who had murdered Kollin Elderts, a young Hawaiian man, at McDonald's Restaurant in Waikiki in November 2011 was in its second week; the Honolulu police had murdered another young local man only the week before.   On Thursday evening World Can't Wait-Hawai`i put out a call for a protest through Waikiki to protest all three murders by the same racist system. 

We arrived at the convergence point wondering whether anyone would be joining us.  We displayed our signs and waited while people slowly joined us.   By 7pm there were more than 30 of us holding signs, beating on noisemakers and preparing to march down Kalakaua Avenue where thousands of tourists were lining the beaches, waiting in front of restaurants, or shopping.  People registered surprise as our noisy group approached.   Some gave us thumbs up, grabbed leaflets, or shouted their approval.   Some asked for a sign and joined us.  The polarization quickly became clear.  One guy ran up and yelled "You're racists;" another pointed his finger in a white demonstrator's face and yelled "Race Traitor!"   Black tourists, in particular, were overjoyed to see that even in Hawai`i people were demanding justice for Trayvon Martin.   In a short time our march included more than 50 people. 

As we approached, tourists stood to the side to read signs and take pictures, allowing us to march through the middle of the sidewalk,  It felt we were in a sea of lifted cell phones capturing an unexpected image from their "vacation in paradise."  

When the march ended some asked how they could be informed of any future protests. Others stood with new friends to take photos.   Energy was high, and many were sharing.  A Muslim family told the group how it effected them when their 16-year old son was called a "terrorist," and of constant profiling.   A young Black woman shared her fears for her 3-year old son.   A man from Europe spoke about his disappointment that more people weren't on the street, but then added how proud he was that he had participated.   One shared how one guy along the way turned to his companion and said "I thought we came to Hawai`i to escape all this shit!."   We all agreed that the march was a big success but wished we had called it earlier and spent more time building for it.
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

March for Justice!

Rally and March for Justice!
Saturday, July 20, 6:30pm
Waikiki, corner of Kapahulu & Kalakaua
(near the Zoo entrance)

Justice for Trayvon Martin!
Justice for Kollin Elderts!
Justice for Stephen Dinnan!

Short rally at 6:30pm; march at 7pm. Bring signs.

* Demonstrations have been called in more than 100 cities this weekend to protest the "not guilty" verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman. This verdict slammed home the legacy of centuries of slavery and racism in the USA and has provoked much-needed rallies and marches, vigils and prayer services, town hall meetings and debates. We refuse to accept this verdict. Now is the time to act! We must continue to demand justice for Trayvon Martin!

* This is the second week of the trial of U.S. Special Agent Christopher Deedy, who was here to provide security for the APEC meeting in Honolulu. On November 5, 2011 Agent Deedy, after having been warned about "locals" by another Agent, got into an altercation with Kollin Elderts, a 23-year old Hawaiian man, at McDonald's Restaurant in Waikiki. Agent Deedy, who was drunk, pulled out his service weapon and shot Kollin in the chest. The facts are simple, but carry with them the history of more than a century of U.S. occupation, racism, and oppression. 

 * On June 5, 2013, Stephen Dinnan, a 35 year old local man was beaten and choked to death by a Honolulu police officer who was "investigating" a report of a stolen vehicle. On July 17 the Honolulu Medical Examiner ruled his death was a homicide(Star Advertiser, July 18). Stephen Dinnan had no prior record and there is no evidence that he was involved in the theft of the vehicle. No charges have been filed against the police officer, and the Honolulu Police Department has refused to comment. How many times will we allow a cop to go free after brutalizing and/or killing yet another person?

WE SAY NO MORE! We call on people of conscience to join us on Saturday night to demand justice!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Signholding Monday at the Deedy Trial!

Monday, July 15, 8am - 10am
 Signholding at 1st Circuit Court
Punchbowl & Halekauwila

This past Monday ten of us held signs demanding justice for Kollin Elderts outside of the 1st Circuit Court where the trial of U.S. Special Agent Christopher Deedy was being tried for murder.

Many family and friends stopped to thank us and we were happy with the general support. However, just going out once isn't enough.  Let's swell our numbers this coming Monday!   World Can't Wait will have some signs and you're invited to bring your own.

Can't take two hours off of work? Take one and be there at 8am. Can't make it at 8? Then come at 9am. But be there!    

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Signholding at 1st Day of Trial of Agent Deedy

Justice for Kollin Elderts!

The trial of U.S. State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy began Monday at First Circuit Court. As the trial began, activists with World Can't Wait-Hawai`i were joined by others in front of the courthouse with signs reading "Justice for Kollin Elderts" and "Kollin and Trayvon: Victims of the Same Racist System." While our numbers were small, the response from people passing by was great. Friends of Kollin's and members of Kollin's family came to us to thank us for standing up for justice for Kollin and many others expressed their support as drivers passing by honked their horns. A few people we talked with said they had never heard about the murder of Kollin Elderts (including a lawyer going into court for a case), but the overwhelming response was positive.

The signholding was covered on Hawai`i News Now, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/22788188/demonstrators-support-victim-in-deedy-murder-case., KITV, and the Star Advertiser.

The facts of this case are clear. Agent Deedy, who is Caucasian, arrived in Honolulu on November 4, 2011 after a 10-hour flight. He came as part of the U.S. State Department team providing security at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting being held in Honolulu 3 days later. That afternoon he was briefed by a fellow agent and was told that the "locals" didn't like them, that he shouldn't go to particular areas on O`ahu, and that Waikiki was dangerous at night. After the briefing Deedy e-mailed a friend saying that he was going out to dinner and then to bars to "get crazy". He went to at least 6 bars with his friends before going to McDonald's after 2am on the morning of the 5th of November.

When Agent Deedy walked into McDonald's Kollin was in an argument with another customer, who was drunk and harassing the counter-help. Kollin's friend, Shane, intervened to stop the argument and Kollin sat down to wait for his food. Agent Deedy walked over to Kollin, stood above him, and said: "Acting like that is going to get you shot." and then "Do you want to get shot? I'm going to shoot you." A scuffle ensued and Deedy pulled out his service Glock and shot and missed Kollin twice before his third shot hit Kollin in the chest. Six minutes after Deedy entered McDonald's, Kollin lay dead on the floor. Police who arrived shortly afterwards testified that Deedy smelled of alcohol, had a hard time standing up straight, had blurry eyes and slurred speech.  

 All of this happened only two days before the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings were set to begin and thousands of security agents, members of the international media, and high level participants were already in Honolulu. The system moved quickly to cover up the murder. Deedy was not given a test for either alcohol or drugs. He was kept at the Honolulu Police Department until AFTER the meetings ended and when finally indicted was given a relatively low bond and was allowed to leave Hawai`i and return to his job with the U.S. State Department. At the same time, a campaign of lies and slanders against the victim, Kollin Elderts attempted to paint Kollin as the aggressor and the U.S. State Department Agent as someone who was nobly acting in his capacity as a law enforcement officer in order to protect the citizens of Hawai`i as well as tourists visiting the State. Reality was turned on its head.   

 While it was good that a small number of people were in front of the courthouse when the trial of Agent Deedy opened, there should have been thousands there to demand Justice for Kollin Elderts! This case should be discussed, debated and argued at dinner tables, in classrooms, and in churches. We urge people to watch what is happening in this trial. Talk about it with your friends and on social media. You can watch the full opening statements on Hawai`i News Now and other local media sites. But don't lose sight of the basic facts in the confusion that will be created during this trial. Kollin Elderts was an unarmed, young, Hawaiian man who was out celebrating the birthdays of his friends when he was brutally murdered by a drunk U.S. State Department Special Agent. 

 Get your friends together to stand in front of the courthouse to send a message to the family of Kollin Elderts, as well as the people of Hawai`i and the world that we will not allow this murder to go unpunished! Even a few people can make a difference!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Action Alert: Rally for Justice for Kollin Elderts!

Rally for Justice for Kollin Elderts
Monday, July 8, 8-10am
First Circuit Court (Punchbowl & Halekauwila)

On Monday, July 8th, U.S. State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy will go on trial for the murder of Kollin Elderts. We urge everyone to join World Can't Wait-Hawai`i in demanding justice for Kollin. The eyes of the world will be on this case. There's a national campaign to support Christopher Deedy (including a facebook page and a fundraising campaign). It is up to us to show the world that people in Hawai`i - of all races, classes and ethnicities - demand justice for Kollin Elderts and condemn his murder by a gun-toting Special Agent of the U.S. State Department!

Take off work for a couple of hours. World Can't Wait will have some signs, but bring your own signs or banners if you're able.

On November 5, 2011 Special Agent Deedy fatally shot Kollin Elderts in the chest at a McDonald's in Waikiki. Deedy was in Honolulu as part of the police state build-up during the days prior to the APEC meetings.

On the evening of November 4, 2011 Kollin Elderts, a 23-year old Hawaiian man, went to a club in Chinatown with his friends. Christopher Deedy and fellow Special Agents spent the evening clubbing in Waikiki. Both ended up at McDonalds afterwards. Deedy says he believed Elderts was a threat to other customers and confronted him. A scuffle ensued, and Deedy shot Elderts point blank with his service weapon. Can there be any doubt that profiling was involved here? Would Deedy have responded the same way had Elderts been a Caucasian tourist? Would Kollin Elderts be dead if Christopher Deedy hadn't been carrying a gun while out drinking with his fellow agents?
But the crime didn't end here. Deedy was taken to the police station but was not tested for intoxication even though witnesses claim he was clearly intoxicated (and the Honolulu Police Dept claims a test for intoxification is routinely done after any violent crime is committed). He was not immediately indicted (which usually happens the day after a violent crime) but instead held until AFTER the APEC meetings, and AFTER attention to the case had died down.

In the days and months after the murder, Kollin Elderts has been vilified, while U.S. Agent Deedy was allowed to return to his job as Special Agent. Kollin was initially accused of having a knife found at the scene (which turned out to be Deedy's). He has been consistently portrayed as violent and into drugs. And Deedy's attorney argued that the Deedy's case should be tried on the Continental U.S. because of prejudice people in Hawai`i have against the U.S. government. The victim has become the accused, while Deedy was given bail and allowed to leave Hawai`i and return to his job as a Special Agent.

The similarities between the cases of Kollin Elderts in Florida and Trayvon Martin in Hawai`i are remarkably similar. In both cases the victim has become the accused, portrayed as violent even though they carried no weapons and were killed by gun-toting "protectors of the law." Each has had every part of their lives dredged up in an effort to portray them as violent, into drugs, and prone to fighting. Each is needlessly dead, while their murderers have been allowed to go free. Both Kollin Elderts and Trayvon Martin are victims of the same racist system and it is up to every person of conscience to demand justice for both.
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