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Letters: Protests are energizing more-enlightened world; Hawaii not immune to racism; Protesting amid COVID crisis

Growing protest crowds in big cities and small towns of every state may indeed spike the coronavirus. Yet these gatherings have also become “spreading events” for awareness, hope and unity on a scale never seen. The long shutdown gave us time to reflect and realize that much of what we once considered “normal” needs to be left behind. We listened to those “essential workers” who didn’t have the choice of staying home to protect themselves, who in disproportionate numbers were people of color already dealing with injustice.

Then came the flagrant police killing of George Floyd and the ongoing worldwide protests. I believe what we are seeing now is nothing less than an upswelling of the empathy, energy and will needed to re-found the country on its cherished ideals of life, liberty and equality. Leaders who are not interested in those things are quickly becoming irrelevant.

Sue Cowing

Niu Valley


Hawaii not immune to racism; let’s have justice

The African American Lawyers Association of Hawaii and Hawaii NAACP support the protests against police brutality by Black Lives Matter. There have been instances of excessive force in Hawaii, and Hawaii is not immune to racism. Let us work together to overcome these problems and really make America the land of the free, with liberty and justice for all.

Daphne Barbee-Wooten

President of African American Lawyers Association

Alphonso Braggs

President of Hawaii NAACP


Submission hold was clean and effective

Back in the day we called it the “choke hold.” That sounded too harsh, so it was renamed the “submission hold.”

I never wanted to hurt anyone, but if I had to defend myself, my preferred defensive tactic was the submission hold.

It was clean: Once the suspect was in a relaxed state, you release the hold and gently place the person on the ground and handcuff the individual. You then push in on their solar plexus to revive.

I chose the submission hold instead of the blackjack, baton or flashlight. There was no blood and it was painless.

The submission hold is a more humane defense when applied properly.

Rick Ornellas



Do not redact HPD’s Use of Force policy

A review of the Honolulu Police Department’s Use of Force policy is entirely appropriate and suspension of the use of vascular neck restraints is welcomed, if not overdue.

It is, however, indefensible that any part of HPD’s Use of Force policy should be redacted from the public’s view (“Honolulu Police Department reviewing vascular neck restraint policy in wake of Minneapolis,” Star-Advertiser, June 9).

The people of Honolulu have the right to know exactly what the police in our city are or are not allowed to do in any given situation where force may be considered. In the interest of justice, public safety and transparency, HPD should remove all redactions so that the entire Use of Force policy is visible to the public. Trust is a two-way street.

Michael Richards



Unionized electricians highly trained for safety

In response to Carlton Chang’s letter (“COVID-19 economy can’t afford expensive unions,” Star-Advertiser, June 10): I am a member of IBEW 1186.

Our members are highly trained and motivated to perform the work of our trade. We spend as much time in classes as those with a Ph.D., to get our electrical licenses and keep our skills up to date. Any member who does not meet the professional and work ethic requirements are asked to leave.

The current wage and benefits package affords us a good quality of life for our families and is fair based on the nature of our work.

The job of an electrician is to keep buildings from burning down; the National Electrical Code is written by the National Fire Protection Association of America. To perform our work, we must learn and adhere to those standards.

Anyone who desires “cheap” will receive what they paid for.

Bill Schroeder



Control borders to allow lift of social distancing

Local government agencies in Hawaii have handled the COVID-19 pandemic well. Hawaii is close to virus- free, testing and tracking procedures are in place, hospitals are not overwhelmed and doctors are learning how to better treat sick patients.

Now it is time to reap the rewards. If we maintain control over our borders, there is no scientific reason to continue social distancing. All businesses — including restaurants and bars — should be able to operate as normal with the explicit understanding that restrictions may have to be reimposed in the future if things get worse. For many, this is the only way they will survive.

When government policies simply become dogma they lose credibility and will be ignored when really needed.

Kim Holland



Protesting amid COVID crisis a personal decision

The First Amendment to our Constitution is essential for our republic. I have protested many times in my life, especially against racism and war. This is always a matter of personal judgment.

People are discovering how to live amid three crises: medical, economic and social. No guide was given us. So some people protest, as is their right. But large gatherings are also the highest-risk activity for transmitting COVID-19 in which we can engage.

My faith community shares that we must follow our conscience, even if it questions the very nature of society, at the risk of hatred or persecution for our beliefs. I both commend those who feel the need to protest, but cannot join. I am at no small risk. Those in my life are at great risk of death from COVID-19.

Dylan P. Armstrong



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