Senator Schatz Statement on Trump Administration Decision to End DACA

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz and the Late Hawaii Senator Gil Kahele assist in Pahoa after Tropical Storm Iselle hit.

“This is one of the most inhumane things this administration could do. It doesn’t matter where you stand on immigration. We should all be able to agree that people who came here as children, who have grown up as American as anyone else’s kids, should not be stripped away from the communities they’re a part of to go back to a country they don’t remember.

“People trusted the government when they chose to register as Dreamers. And now, this administration has betrayed their trust and will ruin their lives.”

Hospice of Hilo to Host safeTALK Suicide Prevention Training

Hospice of Hilo will be hosting a safeTALK Suicide Prevention Training sponsored by the State of Hawaii Department of Health, on Saturday, September 30 from noon-4:00pm at the organization’s Community Building located at 1011 Waiānuenue Avenue, Hilo.

This half-day workshop will prepare participants to recognize and support a person with thoughts of suicide. Attendees will become safeTALK-trained suicide alert helpers, which will allow them to move beyond the common tendency to dismiss or avoid talking about suicide. This training will provide instruction in how to properly connect a person with thoughts of suicide to first aid and intervention caregivers. A certified safeTALK instructor along with the support of Hospice Spiritual Counselor, Rebekah Bernard, will facilitate the workshop.

Suicide was the most common cause of fatal injuries among Hawaii residents over the 5-year period 2010-2014, accounting for over one-quarter (908, or 26%) of all fatal injuries, according to State of Hawaii Department of Health data. Suicide was also the leading cause of injury-related death for most age groups — all but the very young and the very old out-pacing car crashes, homicide, unintentional poisoning and drowning. Health data estimates one person dies by suicide in Hawaii every two days.

The training is free, however pre-registration and sign up are mandatory. Please RSVP no later than Thursday, September 28th by calling Volunteer Manager, Jeanette Mochida at (808) 969-1733 or by emailing jeanettem@hospiceofhilo.org

Big Island Police Identify Woman Who Died in Honomu Accident

Police have identified the woman who died from injuries sustained in the 2-vehicle crash Saturday, (September 2), on Highway 19 near the Honomu Transfer Station Road in Honomū.

She was identified as 21-year-old Sarah Akiona of Kamuela.

This is the 26th traffic fatality this year compared with 17 at this time last year.

Police are also asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Casey Cabral at (808) 961-2329 or email: Casey.Cabral@hawaiicounty.gov. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.

Reaffirm Your Marriage While Promoting World Peace

In conjunction with the September celebration of the annual United Nations International Day of Peace, a World Peace Marriage Rededication Ceremony is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22 at Hawaiian Queen Coffee Garden in Kailua-Kona.

“The ceremony is an affirmation of marriage as transformative and sacred, as the wellspring of love for children and grandchildren, as the source of a healthy society and a building block for world peace,” explains the ceremony officiator, Rev. Chuck Frumin.

Open to married couples wishing to renew their marriage while promoting world peace, the event welcomes guests and children of participating couples. The marriage reaffirmation is sponsored by the Kona Family Church, a branch of the Family Federation for World Peace.

Festivities will be indoors and include a marriage renewal ceremony and barbecue chicken buffet dinner. Flowers will be provided to participants.
Event participation is free, donations are appreciated. For reservations, phone 808-987-4219.

UH Hilo Student Participates in International Human Rights Summit

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo senior from Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) represented her country as a youth delegate at the 14th Annual International Human Rights Summit, held recently at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City.

Josefina Pereira (right) seated with fellow delegates at the UN Trusteeship Council Chamber Room.

Josefina Pereira, who is majoring in administration of justice and political science, was one of 52 delegates selected for the summit, which teaches youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspires them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.

“It was an honor to represent Timor- Leste and UH Hilo as a delegate, and to learn more about important human rights issues from true human rights champions and activists from around the world,” Pereira said.

Pereira is a recipient of a United States Timor-Leste Scholarship funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administered by the East-West Center. Her attendance at the summit was sponsored through a merit-based scholarship from Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) and with financial assistance from the UH Hilo Office of International Student Services program.

“We were thrilled to have Josefina represent her country and UH Hilo at this important event,” said Jim Mellon, director of International Student Services at UH Hilo. “It is a testament to her dedication to human rights and to UH Hilo’s engagement with the global community.”

The summit brought together officials and advocates who work for equality and justice through human rights education, including ambassadors and other representatives of permanent missions to the UN. During the session, keynote speakers, youth delegates and ambassadors and observers from more than 45 countries were invited to share their thoughts and feelings on human rights issues in their home countries. Pereira addressed children’s rights in her homeland, with a focus on mitigating and eventually ending child abuse.

“This is an issue of great concern to me,” Pereira said. “I appreciate the opportunity the summit provided me to share my thoughts on this topic with an international audience.”

Participants also attended panel presentations on key human rights issues, including human trafficking, that featured leaders of the international effort to prevent human trafficking and a survivor who shared her own personal story. They later heard from noted human rights activists, including author and social entrepreneur Bryant McGill, Reach the World Director of Partnerships Christopher Ahearn, and radio and TV host Kerri Kassem. Pereira said she was deeply inspired by her experience and hopes to return.

“I feel I gained a lot from my experience, but have more to learn. So I would like to return next year as a youth ambassador,” Pereira said. “2018 will also be a very special year as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 70th anniversary and YHRI marks its 15th anniversary. ”

Big Island Police Warning Public About Increase in Counterfeit Money

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about an increase in counterfeit money in circulation. Kaʻū police officers have been responding to numerous calls about fake $100 bills. The phony money looks, feels, and appears to be real, with the exception of pink Chinese writing characters on the front and back. These are training bills that Chinese banks use to train their tellers in counting foreign currency. The Chinese characters translate to read “For Training Purposes Only.”

A counterfeit detection pen will leave a mark on these bills.

Police advised merchants to be cautious, and to use the following methods in detecting counterfeit money:

  • Locate and read the plastic embedded security thread. It should say “USA” and the bill’s denomination.
  • Use an ultraviolet light to detect the thread glow color. The $5 bill should glow blue, the $10 bill should glow orange, the $20 bill should glow green, and the $50 bill should glow yellow. In older versions, the $100 bill should glow pink, while the current $100 bill has a 3-D ribbon.
  • Hold the bill up to the light to check for a watermark.
  • Tilt the bill to examine the color-shifting ink.
  • With a magnifying glass, locate and examine the micro-printing.

Citizens and businesses are reminded to treat the fake bill as evidence by placing it into an envelope and to call the police immediately.

Anyone with information on individuals involved in the making or circulating of counterfeit bills are urged to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Report on Honomu Incident

A 21-year old Kamuela woman died following a 2-vehicle crash Saturday afternoon (September 2), in Honomū.

Her name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of her family.

Responding to a 1:57 p.m., call, police determined that a 2004 Honda sport-utility vehicle was traveling northbound on Highway 19, near the Honomū Transfer Station Road and crossed a center line and collided with a 2005 Peterbilt tanker truck that was traveling southbound.

The woman, who died, the front seat passenger in the sport-utility vehicle, was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m.

The driver of the sport-utility vehicle, a 23-year old Kamuela man, and the rear seat passenger, a 3-year old child who was buckled up in a car seat, were treated for their injuries at the scene.

The driver of the Peterbilt, a 54-year old Hilo man, was transported to the Hilo Medical Center in stable condition for treatment of his injuries.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police do not believe that speed or alcohol were factors in this crash.

The roadway was closed due to a fuel leak from the tanker truck, and the roadway was reopened at approximately 10:30 a.m., Monday morning (September 4).

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Casey Cabral at (808) 961-2329. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.

This is the 26th traffic fatality this year compared with 17 at this time last year.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement On Trump Administration Decision To End DACA

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI -02) today released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard stated:

“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is wrong. It will break up families and punish young people who were brought to this country as minors through no choice or fault of their own. These are people who have grown up in the United States, and who know no other country to be their home. DACA transformed the lives and futures of hundreds of thousands of young people, in Hawaii and across the country. Because of DACA they’ve been able to go to college, find a job, support their family, serve their country, and live free from the constant fear of deportation.

“In my home state of Hawaii, DACA has allowed more than 600 young people to remain legally in our country and contribute to our economy and society, including a member of my staff who came to the United States as a minor from Zimbabwe. Last week on Maui, I had the opportunity to hear from some of Hawaii’s DREAMers and hear their heart-wrenching stories about living in fear and in the shadows until DACA was put into effect. They cried as they shared their stories of the opportunity and freedom they have experienced because of DACA, and the fear of uncertainty in what lies ahead with the prospects of being forced to leave the only home they’ve ever known. Congress must act now to enact a permanent solution for these DREAMers and pass the bipartisan DREAM Act now.”

Democratic Party of Hawai‘i Statement on Trump Rescinding DACA

In response to the Trump’s administration decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), created by President Obama in 2012 to protect immigrants who came to this country as children, Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) Chair, Tim Vandeveer, released the following statement:

“Today, the Trump administration turned its back on hard-working immigrant families and students. Donald Trump’s actions force thousands of immigrants back into the shadows, tears families and communities apart, and is a devastating blow to the nearly 800,000 young immigrants who only know this country as their home. Trump and his Republicans are choosing to further divide our country, create fear in our communities and hurt our economy. Donald Trump’s cruel actions today bend to the wishes of extremists in his own party. “

“In Hawai‘i, we know better because we are defined by our diversity and guided by Aloha. Democrats proudly stand by the estimated 558 DACA beneficiaries in Hawai‘i and will fight to protect our abiding values of liberty, social justice, economic justice, protection of the environment, and compassion and respect for the dignity and worth of the individual. We will continue to work to fix our broken immigration system and support the DREAMers who are contributing to our economy and society.”

The DPH will be hosting a phone bank to members of Congress and sign-making from 2pm – 4pm today at the DPH Headquarters located at 627 South St. #105 in Honolulu.

Following the phone bank, members will participate in a sign-waving in support of DACA recipients and DREAMers at the Federal Building located at 300 Ala Moana (Ewa corner where Ala Moana Blvd meets Halekauwila St) from 4:30pm – 5:30pm.