LIHU‘E — Two groups of sign-wavers greeted motorists in Lihu‘e Saturday.
The first group included several hundred people speaking out against the slew of hate crimes against Asians, coordinated by the YWCA of Kaua‘i, and included a program that was opened by kumu hula Puna Kalama Dawson and her halau, a mural featuring muralist Trysen Kaneshige and Bethany Coma coordinated by StopAAPI.org and Mo‘olelo Murals doing their work under the beat of Tsunami Taiko.
“Look at the headlines,” said Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh, executive director of the YWCA of Kaua‘i. “There are examples of hate almost daily. We did the same thing for Black Lives Matter. We’re doing it for Asians, and I would like to do one for the Asian American Pacific Islander communities.”
The effort was supported by the many groups that the YWCA supports, including the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i, whose members not only heralded the Zonta message but overlapped into the AAPI arena.
“This is a powerful message,” said Rose Kurita, one of the hundreds of sign-holders. “It needs to be put out there.”
The number of sign-holders grew as the morning went on, the group attracting horns and engine revs from passing motorists.
“I wanted to get the message out there,” said Angie Green, who joined Kurita in the crowd of people. “I did see something on the web, but I didn’t know where it was. We are so fortunate to live in Hawai‘i where everyone gets along. When the first generations of our people got here, they integrated with each other, and our parents never taught us about discrimination.”
Others in the collection of supporters included Tiffany Sagucio, a University of Hawai‘i student and the reigning Miss Kaua‘i Filipina, who spearheaded the Black Lives Matter movement that drew thousands to the Historic County Building. She was joined by the queen’s sponsoring organization, the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council, and Randy Francisco of the Kaua‘i Filipino Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m walking for my mother, Mildred Miyeko Nishimura,” said Lacey Love of the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i. “She was interned in one of those intern camps in 1943. I just found her internment number. Yes, she adopted me.”
Down the hill at the intersection where Kuhio Highway turns into Kaumuali‘i Highway at the Lihu‘e Civic Center “round building,” a smaller group, none wearing face masks, decried the COVID-19 vaccines, one sign saying, “Happy Easter. We want you to be safe.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.