LIHUE — The Hawaii Government Employees Association joined efforts of the Kauai Island Labor Alliance, and the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai each hosted events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. The theme at the Lihue Neighborhood Center where IROK celebrated the many cultures of Kauai was “One Garden, Many Flowers.” It filled the center with dance, song, cultural demonstrations and different ethnic foods representing the diversity of Kauai’s population.
A video about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. provided a message to the younger people in the audience.
Joan Heller of Lawai was outside the hall, armed with a sign and copy of a resolution passed by the Hawaii County Council advocating international peace talks.
“I was glad the newspaper talked with me Saturday about the false missile alert,” Heller said. “After thinking about it, I had to do something. I couldn’t not do anything. This is not for just one person. We need people to talk, talk, talk. Everyone needs to do this.”
The King Day program honors the King legacy on what is his birthday through the celebration of the diversity and harmony of the many groups that call Kauai home.
“This is a very good thing to have following Saturday’s events,” said Natalie Joyce-Maeda. “It’s a good way to decompress after all those things. We need to say, ‘Enough already.’”
The HGEA and KILA effort was rescheduled from Saturday when a series of incidents prevented the walkers from doing their sign-waving march to Kukui Grove Center after crossing the Lihue mill bridge on Kaumualii Highway.
“We use the Lihue bridge as a symbolic crossing relating to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where many were hurt advocating for their right to simply vote,” said Gerald Ako, Kauai HGEA division chief. “Our signs are typical of the ones in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968, where Dr. King was assassinated supporting AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) sanitation workers for safer working conditions, better wages, and union representation.”