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About 1,000 march in Waikiki calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor

  • By Mark Ladao / mladao@staradvertiser.com

    The march is the latest demonstration in Hawaii calling for justice for George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in Minneapolis who was killed May 25 while under police custody.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Friday’s march journeyed from Magic Island to the Duke Kahanamoku statue at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki, where protesters rallied with speeches, poetry, Hawaiian protocol and a moment of silence in memory of George Floyd and other African Americans who have violently died during encounters with law enforcement.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Friday’s march journeyed from Magic Island to the Duke Kahanamoku statue at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki, where protesters rallied with speeches, poetry, Hawaiian protocol and a moment of silence in memory of George Floyd and other African Americans who have violently died during encounters with law enforcement.

Roughly 1,000 marchers walked from Ala Moana Beach Park to the Duke Kahanamoku statue in Waikiki on Friday calling for justice for African Americans.

The march is the latest demonstration in Hawaii calling for justice for George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in Minneapolis who was killed May 25 while under police custody.

Many cities across the country — and more cities across the globe — have protested police brutality against the African American community since Floyd’s killing.

Hawaii has held a handful of demonstrations since last week.

“People came together from all different cultures … different backgrounds,” Elijah McShane, a cultural practitioner, said. “We all have to come together in unity to make the biggest impact.”

Kiara Bell, a University of Hawaii at Manoa history student and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, also noted the diversity of the participants.

“The fact that we had so many people come out from different races, different cultures, different creeds and religions … to show their stance against systematic oppression, systematic racism, to show that we’re not alone in this fight — it was very powerful,” Bell said.

>> PHOTO GALLERY: Marchers rally in Waikiki

Friday’s march was similar to the others in Hawaii, with marchers holding signs that read “Black lives matter,” “Equality hurts no one” and “Defund the police.”

Their chants included “No justice, no peace” and “We won’t stop until there’s no killing left.”

Not along after the march began, Hawaii State Attorney General Clare Connors dispelled rumors that spread rapidly on social media today regarding purported agitators coming to Hawaii to disrupt peaceful protests. Connors issued a news release saying that some social media sites have recently posted false information suggesting out-of-state people are coming to Hawaii to cause trouble.

All four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s killing were charged, including former officer Derek Chauvin, whose charge includes second-degree murder.

But as noted by the demonstrators, Floyd is just the latest victim of police brutality.

Around 400 demonstrators who gathered at Ala Moana Beach Park prior to the march remembered Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who was shot eight times and killed by police in her Louisville, Ky., home on March 13.

Police were executing a search warrant during a drug investigation in which Taylor was a suspect, although she had no criminal history or drug convictions. The three police officers involved are on administrative leave and have not been charged.

Friday would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday, and the demonstrators at Ala Moana Beach Park sang happy birthday in her memory.

The march was peaceful but loud, and Honolulu police escorted the marchers to Waikiki. More marchers joined as the crowd headed toward Waikiki. The Honolulu Police Department estimated 1,000 total marchers.

Some stores along the Waikiki strip on Kalakaua Avenue were boarded up with wooden planks, and security guards stood in front of many stores.

The march, like the other demonstrations in the state, was dominated by young people and was culturally inclusive. A ha‘a koa, or dance of the warrior, was performed in front of the Duke Kahanamoku statue.

The march included speeches as well as several minutes of silence to remember the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck while restraining him.

Floyd died while being restrained.

The event overall was a powerful one, Bell said.

“It almost brought tears to my eyes. … I don’t know 98% of the people that were here, but so many people came to me, giving me hugs, saying, ‘Brother, I feel your pain. I’m here for you,’” he said. “I really felt welcomed and appreciated, and I felt like I wasn’t alone in this.”

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