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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, January 17, 2005

King march honors Lili'uokalani

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

They will march together today for the first time, in remembrance of civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and in observance of Queen Lili'uokalani's imprisonment and the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893.

David Beber, of Los Angeles, sings during the 17th annual candlelight bell-ringing ceremony in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at the Nagasaki Peace Bell at Honolulu Hale.

Rebecca Breyer • The Honolulu Advertiser

"At last," said Marsha Joyner, longtime organizer of local Martin Luther King Jr. Day events, said of the planned parade stop at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki out of respect to Queen Lili'uokalani.

Officials from the King parade will present framed photos of the queen and Dr. King to Native Hawaiians with an invitation to join the parade to its finish at Kapi'olani Park.

"We have wanted this day for so long," Joyner said.

Hawaiian activist Vicky Holt Takamine said, "Our response will be an oli aloha, or greeting chant, and hula for Queen Lili'uokalani." Native Hawaiians and supporters will join the parade after the brief ceremony.

Nani Rogers, of Kealia, Kaua'i, dances at 'Iolani Palace, where Native Hawaiians and supporters gathered to protest the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and the imprisonment of Hawai'i's last reigning monarch, Queen Lili'uokalani.

Rebecca Breyer • The Honolulu Advertiser

"I think it brings awareness to the community that we face similar struggles," Takamine said. "Both Dr. King and Queen Lili'uokalani had hopes for their people. The queen was dedicated to peaceful resistance."

Jan. 17 is the date of this year's observance of King's birthday (on Jan. 15, 1929) and also the date of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy (in 1893).

Today's joint effort is especially meaningful for Patricia Anthony, president of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition-Hawai'i.

"My father is African-American black and American Indian and my mother is Hawaiian-Chinese," said Anthony, a Wai'anae High School graduate. "To me, Martin Luther King was not only African-American but spoke for the poor and all ethnic minority groups. Queen Lili'uokalani, like Dr. King, was a spiritual person who did not want to shed the blood of Hawaiian people and she also believed in nonviolence.


WHAT: Parade sponsored by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition-Hawai'i.

WHEN: Begins 9 a.m. today at Ala Moana Beach Park.

ROUTE: Along Kalakaua Avenue, ending at Kapi'olani Park.

UNITY RALLY: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kapi'olani Park with food, entertainment and games for keiki.

INFORMATION: www.mlk-hawaii.org

ALSO TODAY: Hawai'i Peace Maker Award, 7 p.m., Church of the Crossroads.

"They were two different people in two different time zones but so much alike," Anthony said.

A candlelight bell-ringing ceremony was held for the 17th year last night at the Honolulu Hale Civic Center in remembrance of Martin Luther King. "Bells ring for peace, it's a symbol of freedom," Joyner said.

The sound of the Nagasaki Peace Bell symbolizes the racial harmony of Shirley Sypert's after-school children's group from Kuhio Elementary that attended last night's bell-ringing ceremony.

Sypert, who is of African-American, American Indian, Caucasian, and French Moroccan ancestry, looks at two of her students — Thiara Brunner, 7, and Charis Yoshimura, 6 — as they prepare to answer the question: Who is Martin Luther King?

"He was a man who had a dream," Thiara said. "Black or white, everyone is equal."

Charis added, "And it takes someone with a dream to make something happen."

Also yesterday, Kanaka Maoli nationals and supporters met at 'Iolani Palace grounds to protest the 1893 overthrow and imprisonment of Queen Lili'uokalani and support independence.

Reach Rod Ohira at 535-8181 or rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com.