Our chants bounced off the sides of the towering buildings. "No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police." "Indict - Convict, - Send the Murdering Cops to Jail. The Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell." When the march began it was still light and hundreds of people at the beach immediately swiveled around to watch at the march headed up Kalakaua. Shopkeepers and customers stood at the front of stores, their mouths moving as they read the signs. Marchers faced a sea of phones and ipads as bystanders snapped photos. As we passed the Apple store everyone seemed to turn in unison as we passed. A few along the route joined the march. Some raised their hands to "Hands Up! Don't Shoot," or raised their fists. Many just gaped in what we guessed was surprise that there were protests in the much-advertised "melting pot of the Pacific." A few countered with racist epithets, and a couple of white guys tried to change the "Black Lives Matter" chant to "All Lives Matter." A few yelled: "Black Lives is racist" and the like. Polarization was clear.
Before the march, and while some were still looking for parking, there was a short rally at the park. Liz, the World Can't Wait-Hawai`i spokesperson choked up as she began the rally by recalling the many, many times we've marched in Waikiki to demand justice for the latest victim of police murder: Trayvon Martin, Kollin Elderts, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sheldon Hallek.... and called on people to continue to have the courage to stand strong against the epidemic of police murder and brutality, to photograph and document, and to persist in demanding justice. A speaker spoke of the "covert racism" that exists everywhere - in the workplace, at social events, and in the classrooms, reminding everyone that overt racism isn't the only way racism gets expressed. Another talked about the case of Sheldon Halleck, and the way the police (with the help of the media) has concealed the truth about what really happened.
As the march returned to the park, and as people were exchanging names and talking amongst themselves, a young man who had seen the march and the sign reading "Justice for Sheldon Halleck," stepped forward saying "Sheldon Halleck was my uncle. He was my dad's best friend," He then took the bullhorn and spoke lovingly about his uncle.
At this point we aren't aware of any media coverage of the march. If you see any, let us know by writing firstname.lastname@example.org. We know there were news cameras along the march route. There was also a large (but not highly visible) police presence. A few police in "aloha" shirts were in the park when we arrived. SWAT and a bicycle patrol were stationed in back of the Zoo. There were police in aloha shirts along the route who were snapping photos of the protesters.
People often ask us why we march in Waikiki, and "wouldn't it be better to stand in front of HPD headquarters or the State Capitol. While we sometimes do that, and will continue, Waikiki is unique. People from around the world see first-hand that people in Hawai`i are joining tens of thousands to demand justice. Their photos spread everywhere. They are re-posted on facebook and Instagram and, in spite of a media black-out of most protests, word of our action spreads everywhere.