Hawaii Hispanic community protests council member's racial slur

Marie Villa
Marie Villa

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Members of Hawaii's Hispanic community staged a peaceful protest in Downtown Honolulu Thursday afternoon.

The demonstration is in response to the recent remarks by council member Rod Tam.

At a meeting last month, Tam used a racial slur to describe illegal workers from Mexico.

The council later voted to censure Tam, which basically sends the message that they disapprove of the slur.

But, Hispanic leaders in Hawaii say, more needs to be done - and they're demanding that Tam lose his chairmanship of the council's zoning committee.

Marie Villa of Hawaii Hispanic News says, "Here in Hawaii we don't want to talk about bigotry or racial. We're multi-cultural. Unless when it comes to hispanics it doesn't count?"

Villa goes on to say, "We didn't stir the trouble. Councilman Tam did. Councilman Tam decided he was going to open the door to attack hispanics and now people are doing that. I've gotten hate mail, phone calls, in my mail box those kinds of things."

Tam has said he didn't know the term he used was offensive toward the Hispanic community.

The demonstrators say, they've now requested the help of national Hispanic organizations with their fight.