Plaque remembers Hanapepe Massacre
HANAPEPE, Kaua'i — Filipinos on Kaua'i unveiled a concrete marker yesterday in memory of 16 striking sugar plantation workers who were killed by police in the Hanapepe Massacre of 1924.
About 250 people, mostly Filipino residents of the island, attended the memorial ceremony at Hanapepe Town Park where the 3-by-3-foot marker is placed.
"The ceremony is a way to begin the healing process," said moderator Randy Francisco. "It is a way to not bring closure, but to understand and learn about what happened."
The fighting started when striking workers prevented two strike breakers at Hanapepe from going to work on Sept. 9, 1924.
Police armed with guns and clubs intervened at union headquarters, where they clashed with Filipino strikers who used homemade weapons and knives to defend themselves. At least three police officers were also killed.
One hundred and one Filipinos were arrested, 76 brought to trial and 60 given four-year sentences.
The strike, which had sought wages of $2 a day and an 8-hour workday, disintegrated after eight months.
The marker is more than a mile away from the cliff where the killings took place.
"It's significant, especially because it's one of the events in our history that people don't know much about," Francisco said.
The ceremony was put together by the Kaua'i Filipino Centennial Celebration Committee as one of several events statewide throughout the year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Filipinos to arrive in Hawai'i.
The Hanapepe Massacre was researched for a two-part documentary that is being made as part of the centennial celebration.