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Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Secret Domestic Surveillance Activities Being Carried Out by Obama Administration

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today released the following statement about the reported secret domestic surveillance activities being carried out by the Obama administration to obtain phone records from Verizon customers.

My son with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard at the State Capital

My son with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard at the State Capital

 “The American people deserve answers. It is absolutely unacceptable for our government to spy on millions of innocent Americans and indiscriminately obtain all of their cell phone records. This type of over-reach fuels the distrust people have in their government. According to intelligence experts, only a fraction of the information collected in this broad sweep is even used to pursue those suspected of terrorism.

“I understand the value of using counter-terrorism tactics and strategies in dealing with 21st century threats. However, we must not sacrifice the constitutionally protected privacy and freedoms for which so many have fought and given their lives. I will work with my colleagues in Congress to investigate this intrusion, and fulfill our oversight responsibilities.”

Waimea Youth Receives National Scholarship

The Pantry collaborative nonprofit is proud to announce that Matt Horne, a student at Kanu O Ka ‘Āina New Centry Public Charter School has been awarded a scholarship from Community Anti-drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) to attend its mid-year training program July 21-25, 2013 in Austin, Texas.

Scholarship recipient Matt Horne was a part of the Project SAM forum last March, that brought U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy to Waimea.

Scholarship recipient Matt Horne was a part of the Project SAM forum last March, that brought U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy to Waimea.

A member of The Pantry’s active youth group, the Friday Night Crew, Horne, 14, participated in the Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) forum in March, 2013.  He introduced Project SAM co-chairs, former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy and former White House drug policy advisor Dr. Kevin Sabet, to community leaders at the event.

At the encouragement of Project SAM organizers, Horne will help with their presentation about Hawaii’s Project SAM to the CADCA assembly during the training program.  He and other youth will also take part in intensive professional training in prevention and capacity-building to bring back and put into action in their community.

Horne will receive a full scholarship to the training programs in Austin, although travel expenses are not included.  Fundraising work is underway to assist Horne, and to support additional youth participants and chaperones.

The Pantry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which comprises The Friday Night Crew youth group and community coalition, Waimea Artists’ Guild and Mama’s House Thrift Store.  The Friday Night Crew coalition is a collaboration of youth and adult organizations for the purpose of prevention, mentoring, recovery, community awareness and creative activism.  For additional information, or to make a donation, please contact: Beth Mehau at The Pantry, 887-2289.


Governor Abercrombie Signs Bill Establishing ‘Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day’

Recognizing the actions of individuals who have fought for the constitutional and civil rights of all Americans, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a bill establishing Jan. 30 each year as “Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day.” While not a state holiday, the observance is intended to celebrate, honor and educate the public about these individuals’ commitment to preserving civil liberties.

Abercrombie Signs

“Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day will serve to recognize and remind us of the courage of those who remained committed to freedom, even when their own civil liberties and rights were being challenged,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “It is the actions of these individuals – these brave ‘resisters’ – that best reflect the ideals of the U.S. Constitution.”

Senate Bill 856, enacted as Act 94, was passed by the 2013 Legislature without dissenting votes and was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Hawaii Council for the Humanities, Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, State Civil Rights Commission, and University of Hawaii.

The bill references actions of the United States government, including the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, authorizing the removal of any or all individuals from military areas as deemed necessary and desirable and mandating the forced internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Hawaii and the entire West Coast of the United States would later be defined as a military area, resulting in the relocation of more than 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. One month later, on March 21, 1942, United States Congress passed Public Law 77-503, which established penalties for violations of Executive Order 9066.

Karen Korematsu, daughter of the late Fred Korematsu and co-founder the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, stands with Gov. Neil Abercrombie after he signs SB856 into law.

Karen Korematsu, daughter of the late Fred Korematsu and co-founder the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, stands with Gov. Neil Abercrombie after he signs SB856 into law.

The legislation also notes the efforts of several Americans of Japanese ancestry who challenged the validity and constitutionality of those wartime actions:

Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American, was living on the West Coast of the United States during World War II, when he was arrested and convicted of defying government orders to report to an internment camp. He appealed and lost his case at the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled his incarceration was warranted. Forty-one years later, on Nov. 10, 1983, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel vacated Korematsu’s conviction, an action considered pivotal in civil rights history.

Gordon Hirabayashi, born in 1918 in Washington State to Japanese parents who had immigrated to the United States, was charged by a federal grand jury in Seattle with violation of Public Law 77-503. He appealed his case to the U.S. Supreme Court in the first challenge to Executive Order 9066 but lost his appeal when the Supreme Court unanimously ruled to uphold Hirabayashi’s conviction for violating the order. Forty-four years later, in September 1987, his conviction was vacated.

Min Yasui was born in 1916 in Oregon to Japanese parents and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Infantry Reserve. Although receiving orders to report to Fort Vancouver in Portland, Yasui was told that he was unacceptable for service and was immediately ordered off the base. Yasui was turned away eight more times after offering to fulfill his service to his country. On March 28, 1942, Yasui directly challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 and was arrested. Although his case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Yasui for violating Executive Order 9066. Forty-two years later, in 1984, the courts vacated his conviction.

Mitsuye Endo, a native of Sacramento, was the only female resister of Executive Order 9066. Endo’s case reached the U.S. Supreme Court and was the only internment case in which the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the plaintiff. Endo’s petition before the Supreme Court forced federal authorities to re-examine the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 and ultimately resulted in a decision by the Supreme Court that officially re-opened the West Coast of the United States for resettlement by Americans of Japanese ancestry.


Wreck on Highway

Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage Public Celebration – Hōkūle‘a in Hilo

The Polynesian Voyaging Society Canoe “Hōkūle‘a” is currently in Hilo at Palekai, Radio Bay in Keaukaha.

Her sister canoe, the  Hikianalia will depart Kawaihae today at 5 PM and be in Hilo sometime Saturday.  All events are subject to change, of course, mostly due to the weather.

On Sunday, June 9th, a big community event in Hilo will include the Hōkūle‘a launch ceremonies.  Everyone is invited.

Hokulea in Hilo

It is being hosted by Keaukaha community, ‘Ohana Wa‘a and the canoe clubs there.  There will be guest speakers that include Mayor Kenoi, a couple of the Ocean Elders and others.

The window of opportunity for the actual departure is between June 10-14, but the official ceremonies will take place Sunday.

According to Hawaii News Now:

…There are 22 legs planned for Hokulea’s voyage around the world, but the first and final are both right here at home.  Crew members say it’s about honoring our community and showing Hawaii’s people their gratitude.

Over the next four years, Hokule’a and her escort boat and sister canoe, Hikianalia, will travel to 28 countries and stop at 85 international ports – sailing more than 45,000 nautical miles around the world.

“We want to go. It’s time to go,” said navigator Nainoa Thompson, Hokulea’s Captain.

But before they set sail for international waters, Hokule’a and Hikianalia will spend the first five months of their journey right here at home.

“Around Hawai’i sail is the first leg.  It’s only a thousand miles, probably the shortest of all of them, but it’s the most important,” described Thompson, before adding this portion of the voyage is crucial to making sure all 250 crew members are trained and prepared before heading to the South Pacific next May.

“In many ways we could go to Tahiti right now.  We’re safe enough to do that, but I think this engagement with home is a crucial piece to earning that voyage,” explained Thompson.

“Malama Honua”, or “Care for the Earth”, defines the worldwide voyage’s mission and crew members say that starts here in the islands with “Malama Hawai’i”…

Tonight at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center – Wayfinding Talks