Cooking at complex community grills about a month ago when a Black couple walked up to the unit next to me. We exchanged a polite hello and continued with food preparations. After a few minutes, the male, Mr. M, offered me a cigar. Not a smoker so I politely declined. He and his partner, Ms. T, took a few puffs and enjoyed a glass of wine. Mr. M and Ms. T are Black — African Americans.
They soon asked some questions. Said they were new to Honolulu on the island of O’ahu. Learned Ms. T was a flight attendant and Mr. M works as a contractor at Pearl Harbor. He’s a former Marine. Prior to that, he spent a number of years in the NFL. He remarked I looked like an athlete. Told him I had a couple exhibition runs with the NBA, but ended up playing professionally in Europe and other foreign leagues.
We quickly made a strong connection. Seemed like we were long-time friends. Ms. T then said, “Can I ask you a question?” Sure. What’s up? “How come you’re not afraid of us?”
Dumbfounded! Certainly didn’t expect a question like that. “What do you mean?” Ms. T said, “We’ve been on island over a month and it just seems people are afraid of Black folk here.” I’m sorry! I responded. I don’t know.
Lonely in Hawai’i for Black Folks
Hawai’i has a multi-diverse population. There are people from all over the world. I cherish the many flavors of culture and traditions. The illustration (below) shows key groups by race. Comes from a Department of Health publication focused on C19 cases. Pacific Islanders, for example, represent about 4% of the population, yet have suffered about a third (32%) of infections.
The chart also highlights Black people make up only about 2% of island inhabitants. Must be quite lonely for them. Most of us don’t think about such imbalances. I remember how challenging it was for my African American teammates in college. There were only a few Black students on campus in the majority-White area of southeastern Idaho. (see March Madness & Love)
My experiences occurred decades ago. Didn’t expect to hear a Black couple express such frustration today.
Surgeon General Adams Victim of Racism
I wrote last week about the racist drug policies continued by Hawai’i. The entire west coast of North America has now legalized medical and recreational use of cannabis. This begins at the tip of Alaska, includes all of Canada, and extends from Washington state, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and down the entire nation of Mexico (as of December 15th). These localities are home to over 226 million people — over 2/3rds the population of the entire USA. Democrat-controlled Hawai’i is the lone outlier.
Hawai’i continues to punish and imprison poor Black and Brown people — mostly males. The state decriminalized small amounts of cannabis (up to 3grams) last year. Governor Ige was so conflicted he refused to sign the legislation. Decriminalization sends a strange message. It sounds legal, but it’s not. People who consume still must deal in illegal markets to obtain products. And it’s an extremely confusing policy for kids and youngsters. The State of Hawai’i funds criminals and continues Institutional Racism.
Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu is Keith M. Kaneshiro (insert above). His office filed criminal misdemeanor charges against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams (below) and his special assistant, Dennis Anderson-Villaluz. Although Hawai’i has earned a tsunami of bad press, Mr. Kaneshiro paddles forward.
As you see, Surgeon General Adams is Black. Ian Lind reported Adams and Anderson-Villaluz were stopped by two Honolulu police officers as they were walking back to their car after passing through Kualoa Regional Park to the ocean Sunday morning, Aug. 23rd. This was less than 24 hours after they arrived in Honolulu to assist the state with C19 surge testing.
The surgeon general didn’t come to Hawai’i on vacation. Head of the DOH contact tracing effort, Sarah Park (below), deceived officials and politicians about readiness of the program. She hadn’t trained as many tracers as claimed, and wasn’t prepared for the second wave of infections. Simply put: she lied; and Hawai’i residents died — Pacific Islanders suffered most severely. Should be in prison.
Governor Ige didn’t fire Ms. Park. He’s actually still paying her after transferring her to another position. Surgeon General Adams wasn’t as fortunate. Although he and his assistant traveled some 15 hours to rescue us from the deadly virus, Honolulu’s prosecutor claims both men:
“did intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly enter or remain in a City and County of Honolulu park and/or botanical garden and/or State of Hawaii park within the City with intent, knowledge or reckless disregard of the substantial and unjustifiable risk …”
The surgeon general explained to law enforcement they had stopped at Kualoa to swim, and left their car next to several others already parked along Kamehameha Highway. After walking through the park to reach the beach, which is legal, they found the water to be stirred up and cloudy. They decided to drive further North Shore where they were more likely to find better water for swimming. Walking back to the car, they stopped briefly to take a few photos. They believe they remained in the park about five minutes.
Local rules at the time mandated all parks and beaches closed, but allowed anyone to legally pass through a park or beach area to get to the ocean for recreation, such as swimming, snorkeling or surfing. A local artist drew a cartoon showing a person being cited for fishing when standing on the sand, but permitted if the fisherman stood in the water. E Komo Mai, Hawai’i.
Taking Pictures While Black
Throughout the past year, most of us remember shameful, racist behavior of a number of high-profile women calling police and falsely charging Black folks for various infractions, such as BBQing in the wrong location while Black, walking a dog while Black or retaliating when requesting an owner put their dog on leash. Social media has coined these callers, Karens, Debbies or other infamous nicknames.
Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro wants to jail or fine the U.S. Surgeon General, an accomplished Black male, and here only to save us from ourselves, for taking pictures in a park while Black. Guess this is why my new friends, Mr. M and Ms. T, find it so scary and unfriendly to be in Da Islands.
When I pointed out the racial hypocrisy of the prosecutor’s action yesterday, a local connection from Kaua’i, Mark Tamosiunas, attacked my character, unfriended me and blocked all further communication.
Mark is surfer and Biden supporter. We have 232 mutual friends and he studied Cultural Anthropology at Georgia State University. Georgia? Is this implicit racism? Or is Mark upset because he believes the surgeon general is a hypocrite? Our family has been regularly crossing through closed parks to surf or swim. I’m sure Mark has as well. Mark says, “Aloha also means goodbye.”
I’ve never been anywhere else in the world where a visiting professional — someone who has come to assist the local population in an emergency — is treated with such hostility, ill-will, disrespect and lack of professional courtesy.
Only in Hawai’i are visiting professionals treated this way. I know from personal experience. Hawaiian Electric recruited me to help resolve their massive IT deficiencies in August 2018. They needed me desperately. And, honestly, I needed them more. Adore and respect the entire team. It was a perfect match of talent, professional personalities and skill.
Love my manager, Lori Yafuso, to this day. Never before worked with such bright, dedicated and competent people. I’m on an alternative medication for my disability. Checked Hawaiian Electric Code of Conduct. Seemed in compliance. To be sure, asked my HR rep. She assured me I would be fine. The following week, the company confirmed my official transfer to permanent internal employee from contract position.
Five days later, HR director Shana Buco arranged for me to come to work for my new first day — and fired me on the spot in front of the team. Never, never, never experienced such cruelty in my life.
The U.S. Surgeon General spent nearly a day in travel; was jet lagged some six hours; and this non-aloha prosecutor throws the book at him. Local rules, county rules and state rules change daily. Similar to my situation and that of the surgeon general, officials do a poor job properly informing visitors and new arrivals of standards and practices. They seem to take joy and pleasure watching others fail and suffer. “Sucks to be you,” as those grown here are fond of saying.
Kelmer Beck was a “civilian eyewitness of these crimes” by the surgeon general. He’s 57 and a former competitive triathlete and bicycle racer.
“Here are two people who came here to help our state, to help the governor and mayor deal with COVID, and the state is trying to fry them.”
Kelmer “Kelly” Beck
Beck says he’s struggling to understand why Honolulu prosecutors insist on pressing criminal charges against Adams and Anderson-Villaluz, while they are dismissing tens of thousands of similar citations. I’m struggling to understand why Hawaiian Electric CEO & President Constance Hee Lau would destroy my professional career as she has.
Officials and directors here promise aloha and the pursuit of ‘imi pono — to strive to be righteous. Apparently these are only deceptive marketing slogans used to take your money or steal knowledge and skill.
Don’t come to Hawai’i if you iz Black.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
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