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.