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Exhibit lauds champions of equality

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    The exhibit "Fighting for Democracy: Who is the 'We' in 'We the People'?" opened yesterday at Bishop Museum. Included is the story of aviator Hazel Ying Lee, a Chinese-American pilot who flew with the WASPs during World War II.

A traveling exhibit that seeks to expand the phrase "We, the People" through the eyes of seven nontraditional heroes began a three-month run at the Bishop Museum yesterday.

"Fighting for Democracy: Who is the ‘We’ in ‘We the People’ ?" explores the stories of seven Americans who made significant sacrifices in World War II by fighting prejudice and injustice, contributions that led to a society more respectful of women and minorities .

Among those featured is Kauai-born Domingo Los Banos, one of the first 400 Filipino-American soldiers who served under Gen. Douglas MacArthur as U.S troops reclaimed the Philippine Islands from Japanese rule.


» for an online version of the exhibit.

Los Banos, a lifelong educator and Hawaii’s first Filipino principal and school district administrator, later was a leader in the fight for equal benefits for Filipino veterans.

The only one of the seven individuals still alive, Los Banos attended an opening reception at the museum Friday night. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient as a member of the all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team, also was on hand for the opening.

Yesterday, the Hung family of Pawaa learned about Hector P. Garcia, a veteran who founded the American GI Forum and who fought for the rights of Mexican Americans; and Francis Slanger, a Jewish-American nurse who was the first nurse killed in Normandy after D-Day.

"This gives us better insight into the people who’ve made a difference to our lives," said John Hung, who came with wife Anne and children Victoria, Franklin and Jackson.

"It’s inspiring to see how these seven people fought for democracy," Anne Hung said.

Toronto resident Irene Chang said there needs to be more public exposure of the plight of people who have fought, and continue to fight, for liberties in America.

"It’s a great struggle, and the discrimination still continues," Chang said.

Others featured in the exhibit include Roger "Bill" Terry, an African American and Tuskegee Airmen bomber pilot who was court-martialed after he refused to leave an officer s club; and Hazel Ying Lee, one of the 132 first Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, who was killed while flying a fighter plane in Montana.

The exhibit, developed by the Los Angeles-based Japanese American National Museum, runs through Jan. 23 on the second floor of the Castle Memorial Building.


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