Here’s how Black Lives Matter protests are in Hawaii
Over 10,000 people on Oahu marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement on Saturday, June 6. This was the largest Black Lives Matter protest in Hawaii so far. Shouts of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” filled the air as protestors marched from Ala Moana Beach Park to the State Capitol. The Honolulu Police Department positioned officers all throughout the march route. Some lanes along Kapiolani Avenue were shut down in order to make room for protestors to walk.
The march remained peaceful, despite rumors on social media that agitators from the Mainland flew to the island to protest. The rally at the State Capitol began with an ‘oli, a Hawaiian chant, followed by multiple speakers. One of the speakers included 16-year-old Nikkya Taliaferro, a senior at Moanalua High School and one of the protest organizers.
“I should not have to stand up here, telling people that Black People matter. I should not have to stand up here, telling people that Black People should not be killed,” said Taliaferro.
Other speakers included Dr. Ken Lawson of the University of Hawaii Law School and Shayna Lonoaea-Alexander, a smart justice field organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii.
“Black death is unacceptable and it’s on all of us to fight for our country, our world, our Hawaii,” said Lonoaea-Alexander.
Saturday’s demonstration comes from the collaboration among Hawaii high school students. A part of a massive group chat, 12 students were adamant to organize a rally on Oahu to show support for Black Lives Matter. Among the 12 were Taliaferro and Radford High School students Al Salarda and Desiree Burton.
“We were really nervous because we didn’t know how many people were coming. We weren’t really comfortable speaking in front of a lot of people,” said Taliaferro. “But when we saw the outpour of support, we were all just really excited that everything came together and that there was just a big support in Hawaii for what we were doing and that people believed in us.”
The organizers expected roughly 500 people to attend.
“This really is the time for change. We have to stop putting the pressure onto the next generations to find solutions for problems. I really wanted people to feel inspired and encouraged to go out and vote in November,” said Taliaferro.
Despite not being of voting age, the organizers are continuing to enact change and encourage others to do the same.
“I want people to know that your voice can be heard,” said Burton. “Even though you’re one little person, you can make a difference, just step by step. Working through your community, donating, signing petitions.”
“High school is not too early to know your political campaigns,” said Taliaferro. “You don’t have to wait to vote to find your stances on different issues and what you’re willing to fight for. It’s really important to know your values, your morals, and everything when you get to the polls.”
Hawaii joins the long list of states that have organized protests since the murder of George Floyd.
More protests are expected to happen throughout Hawaii in the upcoming weeks.
“This isn’t just a trend,” said Salarda. “On social media, you see that things are getting back to normal. But this is a movement that needs to continue until people vote for change and police brutality ends.”