STATE CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION CALLS FOR JUSTICE IN NATIONAL TIME OF CRISISPosted on Jun 8, 2020 in News
HAWAIʻI CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION
WILLIAM D. HOSHIJO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2020
STATE CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION CALLS FOR JUSTICE
IN NATIONAL TIME OF CRISIS
HONOLULU – On June 5, 2020, Liann Ebesugawa, Chair of the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission, issued the following statement:
In the gut-wrenching wake of memorials commemorating George Floyd’s life and his senseless killing, the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission joins the civil rights community in reflecting on the meaning of Mr. Floyd’s death and the demands for justice it has engendered.
As we navigate a dangerous Covid-19 world through “stay safe” and “be careful” lenses, it is shocking to be reminded that in our country African Americans do not feel safe while engaging in everyday life activities – whether it be in their homes, walking, jogging, or riding in a car. To see the world through the eyes of Black men, women, parents, and children reveals a legitimate fear of violence and death at the hands of police who are sworn to serve and protect. From a historical perspective, the recent killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police, as well as the shooting of jogger Ahmaud Arbery by lawless vigilantes, are not senseless aberrations, but consistent with and an integral part of a history of racial violence, intimidation, and terror used to foster and preserve slavery, Jim Crow, and racial inequality.
As a nation, we have lived through too many of these tragic memorials. It is not enough to take a moment of silent reflection to remember lives lost and lament the injustice of race-based killings with no one held responsible. In the historical context of lynching used to terrorize Black people, we can see the root pain and frustration that fuels widespread protests and calls for justice in virtually every state across the country.
We in civil rights law enforcement must speak out. Not because these racial killings fall under our statutory civil rights jurisdiction – for the Hawai`i Civil Rights Commission they do not; but because our civil rights laws are rooted in the struggle for racial justice, equality and human dignity. But for the civil rights movement, we would have no civil rights laws to enforce. The continued killing of unarmed Black men and women undermines the progress we have made and shines a light on how far we have yet to go.
Our hearts are broken. This is not the time to order the use of military force against civilian protesters. This is a time to honor the dead by raising our voices and making fundamental change, so we can say, “Never Again.”
The mission of the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission is to eliminate discrimination by protecting civil rights and promoting diversity through enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and education. The Commissioners are: Chair Liann Ebesugawa and Commissioners Joan Lewis, William Puette, and Jon Matsuoka.
Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission