LIHUE — While people on Oahu set to the streets on Tuesday opposing the Supreme Court’s decision backing President Donald Trump’s travel ban, Kauai folks say it’s more fodder for Saturday’s Families Belong Together rally.
“I’ll go to our rally on Saturday,” said Cynthia McClung, from Kapaa, who has been active in phone call campaigns, organizing rallies and other political events.
The gathering from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the intersection of Ahukini Street and Kuhio Highway is mainly a protest against the treatment of immigrating families at the U.S. border. But organizers now say the rally is also a chance to voice opinions on all of the Trump administration’s actions as well as a chance to talk about the importance of family.
The U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, upheld Trump’s ban on travel from several mostly Muslim countries.
Hawaii led the legal challenge against Trump’s ban and because of that, McClung said she’s proud to live in the Aloha State.
“I was so happy at the role Hawaii had in putting a hold on that and putting a stop to it temporarily,” she said. “As soon as I heard the news, I realized today we can’t count on the Supreme Court to protect us from bad government policies.”
Hawaii’s elected leaders issued press releases in opposition to the court’s decision.
Sen. Mazie Hirono said every time the U.S. has singled out a minority group for “discriminatory treatment,” the country has been wrong.
“Today is a dark day for our country,” Hirono said. “By ignoring the president’s clear intent to discriminate against Muslims, the court handed the president unfettered power to continue to target minorities.”
Sen. Brian Schatz spoke out against the Supreme Court decision as well.
“What is legal is not always just. A narrow ruling on whether or not the president of the United States is in possession of the statutory authority to implement this policy avoids the basic question of whether or not it’s the right thing to do,” Schatz said. He continued: “The Supreme Court made the wrong decision and ignored the evidence that the Muslim ban, even the more narrowly tailored version, is a xenophobic policy that makes our country no safer than before.”
Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa said she was disappointed with the message the ruling sends to the rest of the world and to our America.
“Hawaii, and our nation, draws its strength from the diversity of our people,” she said. “We cannot allow this President to discriminate against any group or apply divisive tactics and racism to the formation of public policy.”
Lt. Gov. Doug Chin said he was proud of Hawaii’s actions in initiating “Trump v Hawaii” on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and illegal under immigration law.
“I hurt today for Hawaii families and others who have experienced discrimination and scapegoating due to President Trump’s bullying remarks and orders,” Chin said.
He continued: “I am fortified, however, by the spirit of all those who came before us and struggled for the American dream. The path to civil rights does not always come quickly, but I have faith in humanity and believe justice will eventually prevail.”
And it’s going to take more action from the American people in order to make sure justice prevails, said McClung.
“The phrase ‘elections have consequences’ was never more true,” she said. “We need Congress to take action and that can only happen if we’re electing representatives that are going to fight fiercely to protect human rights.”
The important word in this conversation is “vote,” she says, and people need to get involved at the primary level to help create the society they envision.
Saturday she’s going to be signing people up for that right at the Families Belong Together rally.
“Fewer people turn out for the primaries than the general election and our voting rates are horrible,” she said. “This is an important election. Take a deeper look.”