Political Activism and my thoughts at age 75

Last week I marched in a Black Lives Matter protest. Today on Juneteenth I marched against systemic racism. I’ve marched regarding climate change and in the Women’s March last year. Growing up in San Diego until age 17 I had never seen racism until when my family was moving to Hawai’i and we sold our beautiful home to a wonderful black family. My father, sister and I went ahead with my Mom staying back to make arrangements for shipping my sister’s horse, selling personal items and finding homes for special keepsakes. Since we were to be living on a 40ft. sailboat, downsizing was essential. So, my Mom was way out in the country alone when one night she arrive home at dusk to find two men with chains in the driveway threatening her with very racial epithets. My Mom always had pluck and she also had a small caliber gun in the car. When they started to advance, frightened, she shot right through the door of the car which made the men “literally crawl out of the drive”. As far as we knew they never returned, however I never knew if the new family had problems. That was my first and only encounter with racism.

I had been in the islands the previous summer staying with a lovely Hawaiian family who I still consider to be my hanai family (adopted). I was treated as one of the family and learned many of the traditions and ways of living with aloha from them. When we moved over permanently I tried to maintain that attitude. I have now lived in the island for almost 60 years and still have not felt, as a haole (originally a foreigner, now a caucasian), treated differently. We have a special way of living here. We have every race of the world in our islands and somehow we always manage to mostly get along. We do occasionally have problems, but very seldom. And, in my opinion, many of the problems come when haole move from the Mainland and never assimilate. They bring attitudes with them that simply don’t match those of the indigenous population nor of those who adopt the aloha way of life. I find, in my “old age” I have the pluck to say how I feel and I’ve taken to FaceBook and Twitter with a vengence, a renewed sense of activism. Though some will disagree, I find it hard to understand how anyone with any intelligence can stand with the man who calls himself president. From a distance I see our democracy eroding, I see hate. I feel strongly against about all of his policies. We no longer have confidence that our air will be clean, our water will be clear, our land will be preserved. Tomorrow he will put 20,000 lives at risk at his rally along with the people living in Tulsa with an already increase in COVID patients at further risk. He, as usual, is putting politics ahead of people. He find him to be so self-serving that he simply would be unable to side with people above himself.

Last week my sign said Black Lives Matter. But, today my very unprofessional sign held a different message. It said: Cops…Citizens…Communities–Here, We are all ‘ohana.

‘Ohana means family. Police Officers are someone you turn to if you’re in trouble. They try their hardest to keep us safe. When returning to my car after the peaceful rally (all of us masked and distanced) I passed several police officers standing by their car. When I got close, I showed them my sign and one of the cops said, “thank you for protesting”. This is how it is in Hawai’i. We have respect for each other.

11 thoughts on “Political Activism and my thoughts at age 75

  1. Sharon L Martin

    I lived in Hawaii in the my high school years, St. Francis 1968-1972. I never saw racism. Then we moved to Florida and it was my first time witnessing it’s ugly face. I miss Hawaii so much, but my family is here in Orlando, so here I stay. I enjoy reading your posts, you bring back good memories for me. Much Aloha to you! Sharon


  2. Thank you for your comments, Sharon. I can appreciate the lure of the islands. Even now I can only stay in the Mainland where both my sons live for a maximum of about ten days before I have to get back home. I do love Orlando area though. When my boys were young my husband and I had a timeshare in Kissimee (sp?). We always had a good time taking in the sights. The weather was similar to Hawai’i in the summer…hot, humid and sudden flashes of rain!


  3. Marcia

    Combatting racism starts at home, teaching awareness of White Privilege. Whites are born with it, no questions asked, no thought given to it. Imagine being looked at as different, suspect, even subhuman by some, everywhere you go simply because of the color of your skin, all your life, from birth. How damaging to one’s soul, one’s feeling of worth. White people can go anywhere without being automatically viewed as a potential criminal, someone to be feared. When we were young, our mother Marian hired Ada, a black woman to occasionally help with housework. I loved her! She was there sometimes when Marian was at work in the summer. Once Ada’s son accompanied Alan on his paper route, and Marian received alarmed phone calls that Alan was riding his bike with a black boy. Marian was disgusted.


  4. I, of course, could never walk in the shoes of a black man or woman, but I can walk beside them. I will never know what it is like to have the fear of which you speak, but I can use my voice to try and make the change that is so overdue. This isn’t a new awareness with me, I didn’t wake up this month and say I’m going to stand up for black lives. I have always stood up against racism, against bigotry of any kind. I’ll just continue to do what I can and hope others also step up to the plate.


  5. I just realized this last comment was MY Marcia. I didn’t even connect Marian. Geez, I’m losin’ it. When we moved to Casa de Oro we were about the only house between us and Tiajauna so we always had Mexican house or yard keepers. They were all awesome and it was always fun having someone to practice my Spanish on. I guess that’s why as an adult I’ve always been an advocate for just immigration laws and DACA. Except for indigenous people, we all are from immigrants. I just find it so sad to watch all of what has made America great is now being torn to shreds.


  6. Aloha Kirk,
    We don’t have a lot of racial disturbances here, but occasionally racism rears its ugly head. But, it’s not usually about black Americans. It usually is against mouthy white people who don’t have respect for the ‘āina. I had to laugh at your cartoon and your take on DTʻs rally. Maybe unintentionally he will “weed” out the bad apples. I have Republican friends of whom I am dearly fond. We just try and keep politics out of play.


  7. MoonstoneMary

    I so appreciate this post. As you can tell, I am late to the game. But I too have felt compelled to speak up loudly about the sad road our country is headed down. And congrats to Hawaii for it’s wonderful job done managing COVID-19.

    Stay well, stay safe, stay home, stay connected.


  8. Mahalo Mary,
    I’m always afraid I’m going to offend the people who follow me. I’ve been unable to ignore the politics of the times. I guess I do what do what I can. Besides FB and Twitter I also joined Vote Forward. So, I’m writing my 60th letters to encourage people to vote regardless of their choice. To make the decision to make their vote count. And, of course, as a side benefit I buy stamps which helps the USPS!


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