The People’s Parade 2017

Jan 17, 2017

The 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Parade, called the "People's Parade," was, once again, a gathering of teachers, religious groups, labor, students, and individuals in support of civil rights, economic justice, health care, the environment, education, diversity, and other issues.
Credit noe tanigawa

  This year, for Hawai‘i’s celebration of Reverend Martin Luther King’s holiday there was a  Run for Peace on Maui, a commemorative walk happened on Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i island celebrated in Kona on Sunday.  In Honolulu, HPR’s Noe Tanigawa spoke with some of the millennials in attendance at what is called the annual "People's Parade." 

Early morning at Magic Island, even The Bus got in on the action.

    Listen to Reverend Martin Luther King’s last speech

Reverend Martin Luther King’s speech, “Why I am opposed to the Vietnam War”

Reverend Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, 1963


MLK:  “Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”

These words were on the minds of many here at Ala Moana Beach Park, they’re taking their places in this year’s Martin Luther King Celebration Parade and Rally.  Here, two young gentlemen from the Pacific Buddhist Academy. 

Andrew and Kurt from the Pacific Buddhist Academy, which was in full attendance with members of the Women's Honpa Hongwanji.
Credit noe tanigawa

  I asked Andrew if he’s getting extra credit for coming.

“No, but everyone is here, as you can see.” 

Kurt is also a student at Pacific Buddhist Academy.

“Just being here really represents our school and what we strive for.  I think people can make a difference without having to use violent strategies.”

Gandhi, Mandela, King, people have tried that.  Is there a movement now?

“I think there is a movement, we’re just trying to help out.  We’re just trying to add to that group of people that are trying to make change.”

Andrew:  “In the past we were kind of shocked to see pictures of, I believe the Selma march, and Dr. King and his followers wearing leis from Hawai‘i to symbolize Hawai‘i’s support.”

The amazing team from the Philippine Studies Program at UH Leeward made the best signs I saw. They say they are all artists! They started in December and the input shows.
Credit noe tanigawa

MLK:  “With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.  This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.”

The Philippine Studies Program at UH Leeward has some of the best signs—they started in December researching Dr. King’s life, quotes, and images, according to Alyssa and here, JoAnn.

The Hawaii State Teachers' Association had a large contingent, as did the Hawaii Government Employees Association and ILWU Local 5.
Credit noe tanigawa

  JoAnn:  “The most important thing to me is when we have the parade and everyone is united together, just like what Martin Luther King said.  He said that one day we will all be united, so if the whole community organized this whole parade, then we set a good example.”

What if Hawai‘i had the most awesome Martin Luther King Parade?

“Oh wow, then other organizations would be inspired too.”

Marsha Joyner, with the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition, is at the front of the parade.  How’s it looking this year, Marsha?

Marsha Joyner:  “It looks really big.  Let me tell you about the police.”

Joyner says all the nation’s chiefs of police have decided they will henceforth, participate in all parades.

“They marched in the gay parade, they’ll march with us.”

Anticipating violence?

“No, no, they just want to be part of the community.”

Reggie, Kiara, and Alexia were at the march representing ASCEND from Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Credit noe tanigawa

 I ran into Kiara, Alexia and Reggie here, with Ascend from the Alpha Kappa Alphas.  I asked him if he ever experiences discrimination.

“Oh, yeah, some place, maybe sometimes at school, some guys are playing or some guys are like, they’re serious, but they don’t affect me.”

Would you ever tease back, would that be a good way to handle it?

Reggie:  “No, that’s not a good way.  If they keep going, I just walk away.  I’ll talk to my friends about it and they’ll be all, They’re not important.  It all depends on who you surround yourself with.  That’s very important.”

There’s a lot of energy here, but one could wonder if a physical parade is the best idea for getting a message out these days.

Vanessa is with here the Chaminade contingent, I'm so sorry I missed getting a picture of her!

Vanessa:  “I don’t think it’s old fashioned, I also think it’s like a good spirit to just bring everyone together.  I think we’re a generation that’s going to do a lot of change, especially with our technology and where we’re heading.  We’re a very, I think, motivated generation also, to do something good for the world and do better for everyone around us.”