Waves and waves of red shirts descended upon Waikiki carrying Hawaiian flags and chanting and dancing. The march was meant to show Hawaii’s leaders that Hawaiian people will no longer stand by as their lands are taken away and desecrated.
More than 10,000 gathered at Ala Moana Beach Park for the Aloha Aina Together We Rise Unity March.
The goal according to the event’s organizer Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, was to remind everyone of the importance of connecting with and taking responsibility as stewards of the land.
“Today is not just about Mauna Kea. Today reminds us that we unify not just as a people. It’s that when we band together and we stand as one whether the issue has something to do with aloha aina, or something to do that is relevant to our home, that we as a people will rise up and assume our kuleana,” Wong-Kalu explained.
Wong-Kalu said the event’s purpose is inclusion and celebrating all Hawaiian people.
“This is not to be anti-anybody but this it to be absolutely pro-kanaka.”
KHON: “Some are saying how is a march going to make a difference? How will it make a difference?”
“There are political and economic powers that stood over time to quietly diminish and almost extinguish our presence. This (march) is a reminder, not just to everyone else, but a reminder to ourselves, that we are still here. Today is a day to celebrate that we are alive and well and that we rise to stand as one,” Wong-Kalu said.
Tehani Gonzado was at the event with her two keiki dressed in red eager to begin the march.
KHON: “Why is it important for your to be here with your ohana?”
“It’s important because of ohana. Because we’re easily forgetting who we are because of the change of the times and technology coming in. And though Hawaiians love (technology), we cannot forget who we are is the aina. We’re the land. We’re the sky. We’re everything around us and if we don’t do this (march) today my babies will forget. So it’s super important. It’s really important for us all to be here and be here as an ohana,” Gonzado said.
The massive crowd made its way toward the arches at the Diamond Head end of Ala Moana Beach Park and Atkinson Drive.
The mounted units led the way followed by a sea of red carrying Hawaiian flags and ti leaf.
The crowd swelled with pride as they flooded Ala Moana Boulevard, then Kalakaua Avenue, finally making their way to Kapiolani Park.
Police blocked roads and stopped traffic, causing backlogs along the route.
Sam King, a lawyer and Imua TMT member said via an email message:
“At this point, marches are not helping achieve a resolution. Marching against TMT isn’t going to get Hawaii keiki amazing scholarships or internships in high-tech industries. We reiterate our invitation to the protesters/protectors/Kia’i to join us in a conversation. They can reach us through our website ImuaTMT.org”