— ADVERTISEMENT —
- APPEALS COURT RULING -
John Doe v. Kamehameha Schools/Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate
In its 2-1 ruling, the appeals court said on Aug. 2 that the schools' Hawaiians-first admissions policy violates federal anti-discrimination laws.
"We will not -- we will absolutely not -- give up our mission, no matter what stands in our way," Dee Jay Mailer, the schools' chief executive, told the crowd at the rally.
"Kamehameha Schools is a symbol to the Hawaiian people of hope. It is a symbol of native people's heritage and culture, and continues to be a tool for native people."
The schools have until Tuesday to request a rehearing of the case by the full court. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a boy identified only as John Doe.
The decision struck down a century-old policy established under the 1883 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who created a trust now worth $6.2 billion that funds the schools' main campus in Honolulu and other campuses on Maui and the Big Island. The schools, which receive no federal funding, educate 5,000 students each year in grades K-12.
"It is not Congress' intent to apply an anti-slavery statute to a private person who uses her Hawaiian ancestral land to provide education to Hawaiian children," Fernandez told the crowd.
A similar rally in Honolulu on Aug. 6 drew more than 10,000 people.
Organizer Noelani Jai, of Huntington Beach, Calif., said alumni living in California, as well as other Hawaiians living on the mainland, wanted to voice their support for the schools at the site of the court's ruling.
"The decision over Kamehameha has drawn a lot of attention, and we hope to use this attention so that folks can know that ... there are people that have Hawaiian blood and that we're an endangered species. And decisions like this very much impact our ability to survive as a people," Jai said.
Many of those who attended the rally yesterday did not attend Kamehameha Schools, but said they were upset over what they considered an attack on Hawaiian heritage.
Denise Teraoka, 56, who grew up in Honolulu but now lives in San Francisco, said she didn't qualify for admission to the schools because of her racial identity, but still respected its mission.
"We grew up knowing we would never be eligible. But I think a lot of people here are not of Hawaiian blood but they know it's really important to the native Hawaiian people," Teraoka said.