‘Together We Rise’

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    About 200 people with the unity rally walk along Kaumualii Highway fronting Kauai Community College Saturday.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    People in Saturday’s unity march gather for prayer before heading out from Kauai Community College Saturday.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    About 200 people with the unity rally walk along Kaumualii Highway fronting Kauai Community College Saturday.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    About 200 people with the unity rally walk along Kaumualii Highway fronting Kauai Community College Saturday.

PUHI — Still here. Still together. Still standing strong.

That’s the message about 200 marchers sent out Saturday afternoon as they rallied in support of those who have long been protesting plans for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island.

“’Aloha ‘Aina’ is more than just two words you see printed on T-shirts,” said Waipualani Flores. “’Aloha ‘Aina’ really represents patriotism for our nation, and not only that but our love of the land, our love of the people of Hawaii.”

The unity march, part of a coordinated statewide rally, began at Kauai Community College and went along Kaumualii Highway before returning to KCC. Throughout, those at the rally chanted, sang, held flags high, held hands, and wore red shirts that said “See You On the Mauna.”

Passersby honked horns, waved, and shouted in support. Some held their hands out car windows.

The gathering organized by KCC students and community members was aimed to bring attention to efforts to protect the sacred land at Mauna Kea.

A flier for the event said, “Together We Rise.”

“We cannot do this alone,” Flores said. “In order for us to thrive and exist, we need everybody here. You have to come and show up and be a part of us.”

Chanel Josiah said, “there’s still a lot of misconceptions about what’s going on and why we’re here, why we’re still in opposition to the TMT,” she said.

For some, it’s environmental reasons.

For others, it’s cultural.

And others, it’s social. It has reached a point “they are tired of seeing large corporations getting the say and not doing anything by the rules and still being allowed to move forward,” Josiah said.

Jaysie Shimabukuro, a graduate of the KCC Hawaiian studies program, helped organized Saturday’s march.

“We’re all standing together, all of the islands in solidarity, with Mauna Kea, to show that we’re here, we’re here to protect it, and we’re not going anywhere,” she said.

She said some at the KCC campus wanted to show that while the University of Hawaii has one point of view on the TMT issue, “we want to show that we don’t agree with it. We want our voices to be known.”

Shimabukuro said she took Hawaiian studies because “there was a connection there that just made sense to me.”

She said what is happening on Mauna Kea, plans for the TMT, are not right, so she and others must stand in unity.

Shimabukuro recently went to Mauna Kea, and said being there “was amazing.”

“They’re so organized up there. There’s so much respect and aloha. It was moving. I cried,” she said. “It was an emotional time for me.”

She hopes those who saw the unity march ask questions and want to know more about TMT and why so many oppose it.

“Education is so powerful,” he said.

“You either stand on one of the sides, but you’re educated. Hopefully, we can bring people in and they’ll see us and do some research and say, ‘I’m with them.’ They’ll come and stand with us.”

Pua Rossi-Fukino, instructor of Hawaiian studies at KCC, was proud of the students at the rally.

“It’s really empowering to see my students here because very often when they take my class and they have so much energy, and they don’t know what to do with that energy. For them to be empowered by something like this is really part of the reason why I do the job that I do,” she said.

Rossi-Fukino said it’s important that so many on Kauai want to protect the sacred ground at Mauna Kea, “and have a love for the land.”

“We may not always agree on everything. Just the fact that there is a strong majority of Kauai people that are for the mauna, the people that are up there, that’s the main message we want to send,” she said.

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Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or bbuley@thegardenisland.com.

2 Comments
  1. Charlie Chimknee October 6, 2019 7:43 pm Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Watching PBS the other night, they clearly said the obvious, that the Hubble Space Telescope, that takes pictures of outer space…from outer space…has no comparison when compared to the telescopes on earth on Maura Kea, the Canary Islands of Spain, and others in South America.

    The earth telescopes appear to be looking at mere dots in the sky while the Hubble Telescope has pictures of galaxies where you can see their shapes and their “contents” (my word of whatever it is called).

    But compared to the Hubble Space Telescope, what we have seen of outer space from the earth telescopes, and shared with the general public, does not seem to be worth a “plug nickel” in comparison to the $4Million dollars they want to spend on Mauna Kea…on the construction the Telescope and the salaries of a bunch of star gazing enthusiasts spending our tax dollars instead of their own money.

    Drain the swamp of wasted tax money. Earth telescopes are for amateurs, Hubble Space Telescopes are for professionals.

    Just because one gets a college degree in stargazing, doesn’t mean the tax payer needs to support their large salaries counting dots in the sky.

    Besides why do we want to explore the Heavens when it could turn to hell when other life out there may be more advanced than us and check out earth from afar and realize we have abused our planet nearly to death and so these other outer space occupants might want to destroy us before we multiply.

    What if their alien space craft already have dashboard warning lights that say “Warning: Approaching Earth…Avoid…!…dirty, dangerous, polluted, and they kill each other…and they are poisoning their home planet, and their water, food, and air ! ! !

    Pffttt…!…Oh, sorry pressed the wrong button…INCOMING…!


  2. Vicky October 6, 2019 8:00 pm Reply

    Enough with blocking the road!! Don’t all of those kanakas have a job?? How can they stand there all day and block the road, it’s hard to believe that 100s if this local people don’t have jobs, are they collecting money from the state?? I know I couldn’t do it, standby a road all day and night and pay for my bills. Let it go. Why isn’t action being taken place already?? If The locals are in the right then have TMT move, if TMT is in the right then have the Hawaiians move!s simple! That’s why there is laws! Who is right or wrong! So irras already they like do convoy and tell us on the news that we have to respect them, they didn’t respect us on Oahu! They got tickets for reckless driving, cursing at the other locals. DONE ALREADY! Get this solved!


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