Alumna funds rally to protest court ruling
The Kamehameha grad expects 1,000 to gather in Pasadena
A Kamehameha Schools graduate is spending thousands of dollars of her own to organize a weekend rally in California in support of the school's Hawaiians-only admission policy.
Miki Kim, a 1976 Kamehameha Schools graduate from Kailua now living in Chatsworth, Calif., said she paid for a city permit, portable toilets and other arrangements to hold a march Saturday in Pasadena.
The noon rally is expected to draw about 1,000 people to protest a ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals that found the school's admission policy racially discriminatory.
The school is not involved with the march, said Kim, who is splitting the event's $5,000 cost with Ilio'ulaokalani, a Hawaiian rights organization from Honolulu.
Among those expected to attend the rally are members of the Downtown Los Angeles Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, school alumni and actress Kelly Hu, a Kamehameha graduate who starred in the movie "X2: X-Men United."
The march, which will pass near a branch of the 9th Circuit on Grand Avenue, is aimed at building support for the school's 117-year-old admission policy, which requires applicants to prove Hawaiian bloodlines.
The lawsuit against the school was brought by a non-Hawaiian teenager who was denied admission in 2003.
"They are attacking the children. It's too much. I'm outraged," said Kim, an information technology trainer.
Kim, a single mother, said she has not decided whether to enroll her only son at Kamehameha Schools, but said she would like to have a choice.
"They are taking that option away from me," she said.
Kamehameha Schools was created under the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, whose $6.2 billion trust funds the school's main Kapalama campus in Honolulu and other campuses on Maui and the Big Island.
School spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said that while Kamehameha is not sending speakers or helping to pay for the event, it appreciates the support.
"It's very clear that Hawaiians are unified in their desire to strengthen the Hawaiian people and the Hawaiian culture," he said.
Eric Grant, a Sacramento attorney representing the teenager, said the march should not influence the court's decision on whether to reconsider the case.
"It's a free country, and it's great for people to exercise their First Amendment rights," Grant said. "As for whether it will help Kamehameha's case ... no, I don't think it will make a difference."
Kamehameha Schools is petitioning the 9th Circuit for a rehearing by the full court.
Grant, who had hoped the court would vote last week on whether to rehear the case, said there is no way to know when the decision will be made.
If a rehearing is denied, Grant said, Kamehameha would have 90 days to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If the court grants the schools' appeal, new briefs would be filed by both sides, and a final decision could take a year or longer.