First annual Pride Parade and Festival set for June 22

  • Contributed

    The Kauai County Council and Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, middle center, presents a certificate last month to the Pride Parade Committee for the inaugural Pride Parade and Festival in the Historic County Building. In front from left are Stefani Iwami, Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh and Matthew Houck. Middle row from left are Steven Dick, Chelsea Crasper, Kawakami and Councilmember Kipukai Kuali’i. At top from left are Councilmember Luke Evslin, committee member Rhonda Moore, Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro and Councilmember Mason Chock. ON THE COVER: A gay pride celebration held at an earlier date.

There will be pride displayed in Lihue from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday as Kauai will host its first Kauai Pride Parade and Festival.

The parade and festival are in coordination with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) National Pride Month during the month of June.

The parade will begin at Vidinha Stadium, with floats and groups marching down Rice Street in Lihue. It will culminate on the lawn of the Historic County Building with a day of activities, including speakers, entertainment, information booths and food vendors.

County Councilmember Kipukai Kuali‘i said the event will not only raise public awareness but will promote and celebrate peace, acceptance and unity on the island.

“There have been Kauai pride events in the past, but never to the capacity of closing down Rice street and hosting the event in city center,” Kauai Pride Parade Committee organizer Matthew Houck said. “So we’re really excited to invite the entire community and make this event for everybody.”

Houck said the committee of organizers is pleased to have Kuali‘i as a grand marshal.

“I’m so looking forward to having the honor of serving as Kauai Pride Parade 2019’s first-ever grand marshal,” Kuali‘i said in a social media post.

Kuali‘i became the first “out and proud” councilmember of any county council in the state of Hawaii when he was inaugurated in April 2011.

The Kauai Pride Parade Committee on their public gofundme account has raised $2,315 toward their goal of $8,000 since starting the account in November 2018.

There are also parade sponsors including YWCA of Kauai, Macy’s, Kauai Juice Co., La Spezia restaurant, Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand and Fish Eye Kauai.

“The projected budget for parade and event logistics is $15,000, with costs ranging from public safety measures including police and security assistance, permitting and equipment (stage, tents, etc.), as well as PR efforts such as PSAs and media placements,” the committee said on their website.

“We are a committee of nonprofit partners, including the YWCA of Kauai, LAMBDA Aloha, Malama Pono Health Services, PFLAG Kauai and community members.”

Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami was at last Wednesday’s Kauai County Council meeting to give a proclamation announcing the annual parade and festival.

“In 2013 I was a member of the Hawaii state House of Representatives and we were called into special session to deliberate and take action on what was known as SB1,” Kawakami said.

“We were called into special session by the then Governor (Neil) Abercrombie. We went in on October 28, they had indicated that it would be a five-day special session, enough to go through the public hearing, the committee, first second and final reading.”

Kawakami said the session ended up lasting until Nov. 12, 2013, and that 5,184 people testified on the bill.

“The House made a commitment to make sure that we gave everybody an equal opportunity to testify on what is now known as the Marriage Equality Act,” Kawakami said

“It’s something that I’m very proud to have been a part of in Hawaii’s history.”

Kawakami said the special session was one of the most divisive he has ever seen during his time in politics, and at one point the sergeant at-arms had to split up opposing factions and forced to erect a barricade between the two groups, something he never imagined he would see in modern Hawaii history.

“It had broken my heart to see Hawaii split in a way that I had never imagined the melting pot of Hawaii, a place that is supposed to exemplify diversity, be so split,” Kawakami said, adding that the state House of Representatives was able to pass the bill after much debate on both sides.

“It brings me great pleasure as mayor to see that we are going to be recognizing pride month for the very first time on Kauai,” he said.

About 25 parade entrants are expected.

“We’re passionate about it and pulling it off,” Houck said.

He said the committee has already learned a lot from the inaugural organization of the event, something that will serve them well in the future.

“It’s been a learning curve for sure, but it’s really exciting,” he said.

•••

Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or rcollins@thegardenisland.com.

14 Comments
  1. Robert Edwards June 21, 2019 5:00 am Reply

    What Mayor Kawakami said regarding the divisiveness at the State legislature is misleading. He was part of the problem & contributing to the divisiveness. It takes two to tangle so his righteous indignation needs to be corrected.


  2. Major Lee Hung June 21, 2019 6:56 am Reply

    Unfortunately I have to wash my hair and will not be able to attend this most crucial of events.


  3. Rev Dr. Malama June 21, 2019 8:39 am Reply

    Hurray, Hurray for Kauai to finally join the PARADE AND CELEBRATION WITH PRIDE!!!

    Showing support and Aloha is very important to individuals, couples and groups in our community that are in the minority…. hence as a Marriage Officiate, I am legally allowed to give you my BLESSINGS….
    MAHALO KE AKUA


  4. hutch June 21, 2019 10:05 am Reply

    So it’s okay to say ‘queer’ now? I can never keep up with the latest speech codes.


  5. gordon oswald June 21, 2019 11:44 am Reply

    I am not gay, but recognize the rights of those who are. We may be going about this the wrong way, however, with regards to protecting the health of our Society as a whole. Truth be told, if everyone on earth were gay all human life would cease to exit after one Generation. It is not about “homosexuality” or “heterosexuality”. We should stop promoting “Sexuality” to our children, period! We should let kids be kids, individuals go their own way, and cease the “advertising” of sex in general. If our gay brothers and sisters want to be treated differently for being gay, then they should consider stopping actions that advertise that somehow being gay makes one special. Sexual orientation is neither an achievement, nor a holiday. One has not accomplished anything simply by being attracted to one sex or another. I would feel exactly the same if large groups of “straight” people decided to meet on the mall and celebrate their “straightness”!


    1. George June 21, 2019 2:07 pm Reply

      Denial is not a river in Egypt , Gordo


  6. CommonSenseish June 21, 2019 4:22 pm Reply

    (From an article posted March 14, 2019 – Mayor Kawakami will keep his promises)
    “On Saturday, at the 15th Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon, Kawakami stood before the crowd of about 1,000 people and said this:

    “One hundred days from now, I’ll be a better person. I promise you.””

    Not sure this is what those people wasting prayers on him thought THIS is what he meant when he said that.


  7. Rev Dr. Malama June 21, 2019 4:46 pm Reply

    Some of you are missing the point….. Being Gay or Transgender or whatever is not being celebrated here but the right to equal freedom in society like allowing people to put their significant other or their adopted children on their health care plan and wills…. Happy that Hawai’i saw the way to legalize Domestic Partnership and then same sex Marriage.
    In my experience, I’ve seen more stable family situations between Gays that Heterosexual couples snd Gays have children too!


  8. Tara June 21, 2019 5:27 pm Reply

    Proud to be part of this historic event on Kaua’i!
    Major, no one will miss you.
    Hutch, if you are queer, you may use the word queer. If you are not queer and use the term derogatively, it’s a slur.
    Gordon, where do I begin? No one is “promoting sexuality” to children. No one at Pride events promotes being gay, straight, bisexual, or anything else of that nature. The whole point of Pride is to commemorate the Stonewall riots in NYC 50 years ago. Being gay doesn’t make one “special,” but being straight doesn’t either. Straight people have not had to hide who they are from their families or their employers (for fear of getting fired). Straight people have not had to deal with being discriminated against by people in the community, health care workers, educators, or the military because of who they love. Pride isn’t about promoting same-sex relationships or queerness to children (or anyone else, for that matter); it’s about love. It’s about being proud of who you are, regardless of sexual orientation. Your statement started off okay and then went quickly downhill. You don’t truly recognize the rights of gay people. If you did, you would understand what Pride is about and you would find a way to happily take part in the events tomorrow. Too bad you’ll be missing out.


  9. harryoyama June 21, 2019 5:31 pm Reply

    Another chaotic ruse of selfish non-religious spiritual degenerate of which homosexuality plays a major role of self confusion and the stagnation repeated incarnation recyclying of confusion and stagnation. There is nothing special about these confused individuals, who in medical terms are the primary causes of many current and exotic illness such as HIV, Hepatitus A, B, C through almost the entire alphabeth of which the most recent 12 are through direct causes from anal sex behavior, very common for the male homosexual partners.

    Case in point during the initial stages of the HIV virus, its was estimated than over 90% of HIV cases of this was attributed to homosexual men, who later engaged with women to pass it on to the general population. Therefore their confused behavior is a direct threat to the world’s population from first being a problem for their group, then later becomes a problem for everyone, so in essence it is a way to secure public funding for this abnormal behaviour so they can continue to have anal intercourse.


    1. Trippin June 21, 2019 11:57 pm Reply

      Reading that was a wild ride, man.


    2. George June 22, 2019 6:50 am Reply

      Okay Harry. Who do we blame for plague, cancer, heart disease, I could go on. Lots of big words. No substance.


  10. Tara Randol June 21, 2019 8:46 pm Reply

    Proud to be part of this historic event on Kaua’i!
    Just wanted to address some of the comments here.
    If you are queer, you may use the word queer. If you are not queer and use the term derogatively, it’s a slur.
    No one is “promoting sexuality” to children. No one at Pride events promotes being gay, straight, bisexual, or anything else of that nature. The whole point of Pride is to commemorate the Stonewall riots in NYC 50 years ago. Being gay doesn’t make one “special,” but being straight doesn’t either. Straight people have not had to hide who they are from their families or their employers (for fear of getting fired). Straight people have not had to deal with being discriminated against by people in the community, health care workers, educators, or the military because of who they love. Pride isn’t about promoting same-sex relationships or queerness to children (or anyone else, for that matter); it’s about love. It’s about being proud of who you are, regardless of sexual orientation.


  11. gordon oswald June 22, 2019 9:15 am Reply

    Holding the event, advertising it in the newspaper, standing in public places and conducting speeches congratulating oneself for their “sexual priority” decisions, and all the rest, is all about “sexuality” on it’s face! It is an affront to our Society in the same way that holding an “I’m straight and you’re not” event would be to our “homosexual” brothers and sisters. Being a homosexual individual is not an accomplishment. The only “accomplishment” is for one who has come out of the closet and must feel some ongoing inner guilt or shame that will never go away. I’m so sorry for those who have to live with that! It is also relevant that any advertising and positive societal recognition observed by very young children, and our youth going through puberty, is at a minimum confusing to them, and in their efforts to belong to a group, any group, is detrimental to our Society. One could go back and forth and present arguments for either side of this equation all day long. The only thing that is not arguable, or confusing, is that if 100% of our Society adopted the “homosexual lifestyle” it would alter the nuclear family, and eventually result in the termination of all human life on earth. Perhaps it’s best not to take the first step in that direction?


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