Thursday, January 14, 1999

Isle hate crimes,
laws to be target of
activist coalition

By Mary Adamski


There is no official effort made in Hawaii to chronicle hate crimes, so a coalition of ethnic, religious and social justice organizations may pick up the slack.

"Gay groups know about their issues, ethnic groups hear their own stories, but we don't have a way to share what we've gathered," said Bill Woods at a meeting yesterday of the Hate Crimes Task Force.

The task force discussed establishing a hot line or information clearinghouse to arouse community awareness of the existence of prejudice in its most violent form.

Art The primary goal of the coalition of more than 20 groups is to get a hate crimes bill passed.

"Most people think we already have such laws," said Woods, chairman of the task force and director of the Gay and Lesbian Education and Advocacy Foundation. "People tend to think that what Martin Luther King Jr. marched for was achieved years ago. We need to keep reminding ourselves there's a way to go to eliminate injustice and hatred," he said.

A hate crimes bill was approved by the state Senate last year but stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

The task force bill states that Hawaii is among the 12 states that do not have laws addressing hate-motivated crimes, violent acts or threats motivated by hostility against people because of their race or ethnic origins, color, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation. It provides for a more severe penalty for a crime "predominantly motivated" by the defendant's hatred for those reasons.

It also establishes the process for a hate crime victim to pursue civil recourse against the attacker, and provides that hate crime data must be compiled and reported by the Criminal Justice Data Center of the state attorney general's office.

Woods, a longtime gay activist, acknowledged that recent murders of homosexual men here and on the mainland have put the focus on hate crimes against gays.

"It's a more widespread need than that," he said, "All you need to look at is recent incidents in Hawaii schools against black children."

The most recent was a complaint filed with the federal Department of Education on behalf of a black student in a Maui school, claiming he was verbally and physically attacked by other students because of his race.

Hawaii gears up to
celebrate life, deeds of
Martin Luther King Jr.

By Star-Bulletin staff


A parade and rally in Waikiki on Monday will help mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

A celebration of the life of the slain civil-rights advocate will also be held tomorrow with a midday program of entertainment and speeches in downtown Honolulu.

And King's accomplishments will be commemorated during a reception tonight at City Hall opening an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It continues through Jan. 30.

Guests at today's 6 p.m. reception will include representatives of the Japan Congress Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (GENSUIKIN), seven of them survivors of the atomic bomb the United States dropped on Nagasaki to end World War II.

The bomb survivors will join local officials and King holiday organizers in the ceremonial ringing of the Nagasaki Peace Bell at 8 a.m. Monday on the city hall grounds, said Rick Peters, spokesman for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Coalition.

Among the other events:

bullet 11 a.m. tomorrow, Grosvenor Center courtyard: Music program and speeches, including by Bill Hoshijo, Hawaii Civil Rights Commission executive director, commission member Faye Kennedy, and Peter Ross of the Protection and Advocacy Agency of Hawaii.

bullet 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, University of Hawaii: Tree-planting at Art Building, followed by a discussion and film about King in the Student Services Center Room 412.

bullet 9:30 a.m. Monday: Parade will start at Ala Moana Park and go down Kalakaua Avenue to Kapiolani Park. A program will be at the park bandstand from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

bullet 7:30 p.m. Monday, Church of the Crossroads: "How Far Have We Actually Come?" speech by the Rev. Al Miles. The church's Peacemaker Award will be given to Nanci Kreidman, executive director of the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline.

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