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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, August 7, 2005

Emotions spill over at rally against ruling

By Gordon Y.K. Pang and Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writers

Aaron Sala, left, and Taylor Sanchez, 12, join hands with others at the E Holopono me ka Lokahi (move forward with righteousness and unity) rally at 'Iolani Palace to show unity in their opposition to a court ruling on Kamehameha Schools.

rebecca breyer | The Honolulu Advertiser



Protesters: Approximately 15,000 at 'Iolani Palace; 10,000 to 12,000 marching to Mauna 'Ala, the royal mausoleum. What's next: Kamehameha attorneys are scheduled to file a response to John Doe's request to the court to immediately order the school to enroll him. Classes start Thursday for Kamehameha's Maui campus, Aug. 17 for freshmen and Aug. 18 for the rest of the students at the school's flagship Kapalama campus and at the Big Island campus.

Taylor Sanchez used his red T-shirt to wipe tears that streamed uncontrollably down his 12-year-old face as he and the crowd of thousands sang Sons of Hawai'i, the Kamehameha alma mater.

Taylor and his family were among about 15,000 people who came to 'Iolani Palace yesterday morning for a two-hour rally and a 1.8-mile walk in support of the Kamehameha Schools' admissions policy.

"I was just sad with everything that was happening and stuff," Taylor said.

A Mililani Middle School student, Taylor said he is on the waiting list for admission into Kamehameha. He said the meaning of the song, which speaks of standing united in the face of danger, hit him as he sung it.

"It's just that feeling," said Taylor, who, besides being Hawaiian, is Filipino, Korean, Spanish, Puerto Rican and Portuguese.

Tatiana Tseu, Taylor's aunt, is a 2000 Kamehameha graduate and shared similar feelings.

"When I see young Hawaiians like that who are his age and really appreciate the culture, and he's on the waiting list, it just gives you that sense that the school has so much more to do," she said.

"They have to touch so many more Hawaiians and then to try to get a non-Hawaiian in there, it hurts, because we have our young, Hawaiian kids that want to be there."

For the 'Ilio'ulaokalani Coalition, which helped Kamehameha Schools coordinate the march to Mauna 'Ala yesterday, it was the third consecutive summer that it has helped put together a march for justice.

In August 2003, about 5,000 people marched through Waikiki in the wake of a federal court order forcing Kamehameha to enroll Braden Mohica-Cummings, a non-Hawaiian. Last September, some 7,000 people marched in Waikiki to protest development atop Mauna Kea, the continued desecration of Hawaiian remains, forcing Kamehameha Schools to sell leasehold lands and a dozen other Hawaiian issues.

But while some 5,000 T-shirts sold by 'Ilio'ulaokalani yesterday made reference to some of the other issues, it was clearly Tuesday's court decision that spurred most people to the palace yesterday.

There were very few, if any, who spoke about the Akaka bill, Hawaiian sovereignty or other issues.

Some protesters carried pictures of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop; others had homemade signs demanding justice for Hawaiians. Most chanted "Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono!" (The life of the land is preserved in righteousness) — Hawai'i's motto — as they walked.

One sight illustrating how generations of Native Hawaiians came together: A few kupuna were pushed in wheelchairs by relatives; alongside other kupuna were mothers pushing baby strollers.

George Kahumoku Flores, 57, who said he had seven operations since he hurt his lower back in an accident, marched barefoot.

"I'll go as far as I can," said Flores, who carried a sign that read, "America destroyed our queen, princess, nation, people, destiny ... and wants more?"

"History shows that they have abused the Hawaiian people," he said. "And we've only shown love. But now we've got to show that we can't be stepped on all the time."

Many of the marchers became visibly emotional when they reached Nu'uanu and Beretania, the point at which the mobile throng caught its first glimpse of the sea of red — walking 15 and 20 abreast — which was visible all the way to School Street and beyond.

Some protesters wore traditional malo (loincloth), kihei (cape) and kikepa (sarong), others carried Hawaiian flags and blew conch shells. Most wore red.

The march from 'Iolani Palace to the royal mausoleum took about 55 minutes for those at the front of the line "and the tail end caught up pretty quickly," said Honolulu police Sgt. William Axt.

Some motorists may have waited up to 20 minutes for the march to pass and Pali Highway was backed up for a brief time, Axt said.