2018 Women’s March Sends Power to the Polls

Jan 19, 2018

Close to eight thousand people are estimated to have taken part in Honolulu's 2017 Women's March. The big story across the state was the individual messages sported by enthusiastic marchers.
Credit noe tanigawa

In January 2017, over two million people participated in Women’s Marches across the globe.  In Hawai‘i, an estimated 18 thousand people turned out across the state concerned about U.S. positions on climate change, immigration, healthcare, environmental regulations, and more.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports, this year, events are focused on getting out the vote.

Credit noe tanigawa

2018 Women’s March events

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Kaua‘i sign waving, 11am -1pm  Lihue airport 

O‘ahu People’s Rally, 10am, state capitol

Molokai March, 9am Moloka‘i Public Library, 10am march 

Maui Rally, 8am-10 at UH Maui 

Hawai‘i Island Stand up for Your Rights March, 11am Lili‘uokalani Gardens to Mo‘oheau Bandstand

Hilo Imua!  Doing My Part Civic Engagement Expo, Mo‘oheau Bandstand, noon to 3pm

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Kona Wahine Power celebration, 1pm,  Hale Hālāwai o Hōlualoa

Map of Women's Marches across the US 2018. 

2018 Power to the Polls initiative.  

It took Robin Pilus of Pukalani 6 months to recover from the last women’s march, but she’s back mentoring a new crew.

Pilus:  We’re set.  Because of last year’s huge event of five thousand people, they did require us to get a permit which got pushed through yesterday in the nick of time!

Credit noe tanigawa

Saturday, January 20, 2018, they’ll gather at 8am at UH Maui.  Pilus says after last year’s march, the national organization put out ten recommended actions to keep things going.  A Maui group of women started getting together every five weeks or so and sending “get out the vote” postcards for a group called Sister District.  Sister District pinpoints flippable races across the country and gets women to vote in those districts.  

Pilus:  If you get a postcard from Hawai‘i where does it go? It goes on your refrigerator.  They were very active in the Alabama race where Doug Jones beat Roy Moore.  It’s just amazing.

Pilus says she’s seeing the spiritual community get more interested in political action, a confluence that began with the GMO issue.  Pilus says the coalitions are a classic Maui kind of thing.

Moloka‘i is intent on doing things their way too, according to Teri Waros, owner of Kalele bookstore in Kaunakakai. 

Waros:  Aloha starts with our connection with the ‘āina.

They had about a hundred participants in last year’s Women’s March events and due to the large response this year, they’re relocating to the Public Library this Saturday, 10am. 

Credit noe tanigawa

Waros:  It’s not an anti-Trump or anti anything.  Especially Moloka‘i style, we’re marching for Mother Earth, we’re marching for our women and for our children and their children.  We march with aloha.  Everyone’s invited!  We’re marching to provide role models for our young people.

Ralph Boyea of Puna, Hawai‘i Island, says support has been strong for  the Stand Up For Your Rights march he is helping organize Saturday at Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo.

Boyea:  We have to come from the perspective that if we speak out we let people know there’s a significant number of people who are very unhappy and want changes made, then we’d stand a chance.  The Womens’ March last year was very successful, it was worldwide and there’s been a lot of positive change as a result of getting the word out.

Boyea:  It worked in the 60’s, major change was made when people spoke up.  Last year’s women’s march showed that change can be made when people speak up.  Our march in Hilo is just one of many around the country and hopefully it will bring the issues to the forefront.  Change needs to happen.  What’s going on right now is not acceptable.

Boyea cites family cohesion torpedoed by immigration rules, cutting of environmental regulations, tax bill underfunding that could cause social security & medicare cut backs, reductions in ACA coverage, LGBT community rights, women’s right generally, equal pay, harassment,  and other areas as ongoing concerns. 

What to do is the main thrust of the Imua: Doing My Part Civic Engagement Expo, according to organizer Jennifer Kagiwada.

Kagiwada:  2017 was a tough year, we marched, we resisted, we persisted.  In 2018 we really want to move forward and use our collective power to support our communities and take back control of our own lives.

The Imua Doing My Part expo starts at noon in Mo‘oheau Bandstand in Hilo with the refreshments and entertainment you’d expect.  In addition, community action groups will be there, a #METoo project, the League of Women Voters, art events and female candidates in the running will be there too. 

Kagiwada:  We’ll provide resources so that people can really find ways to turn their issues, their values, their passions into concrete actions moving forward into 2018.

There will even be a selfie booth with Teresa Shook, the Women’s March instigator from Maui!  There’s word of a Women’s Wave of pink items that will be pinned to a line and open to the breezes somewhere near Mo‘oheau Bandstand.  Conceivably, there will be few crocheted pink pussy hats because of the national controversy that has erupted.  Some are objecting to the hats because they might not include trans or sexually non-binary women and women without pink genitalia, or because they don’t like how they look.

The national Women’s March is a Power to the Polls rally set for Sunday January 21, 10am in Las Vegas Nevada.  The site of the worst mass shooting in America could also influence the balance of power in the US Senate this year. 

Robin Pilus:  One of the big messages this year is get out to vote.  That’s where the rubber really meets the road.   

A People’s Rally is set for O‘ahu, 10am Saturday, January 20th, 2018, at the Hawai‘i State Capitol.