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.
 photo atcopshop_zps4fdd6761.jpg
 photo demo_zps9eab408f.jpg
   photo EldertTrayvon_zps81dbe7b9.jpg photo marching_zps12f73934.jpg

No comments:

Post a Comment