HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dozens of people rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with other Black Lives Matter demonstrations happening around the world.
The crowd, which began gathering at around 10 a.m., chanted and held signs and projected a unified message: Hawaii residents, diverse as they might be, cannot ignore the issues that have divided much of the United States.
“This isn’t just a mainland problem,” said one of the demonstration’s organizers, Kyla. “We have the absolute privilege of living in Hawaii, and often times it can be easy to turn a blind eye to what’s going on in the continental U.S., but it’s important that we all stay education and stay aware of what’s going on everywhere.”
Thousands of people gathered in many of America’s largest cities for the ninth straight day on Wednesday to protest the death of an unarmed black man who was being held in Minneapolis police custody last week.
46-year-old George Floyd was killed May 25 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the back of his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest. The charges against Chauvin, who was arrested last Friday, were upgraded to second-degree murder on Wednesday.
Three other police officers who were present during the incident were charged this week with aiding and abetting murder, the Minneapolis Attorney General announced Wednesday.
In the days since the arrest, thousands of people across the country have protested against racism and police brutality. Some of those protests have turned violent, and looting has been reported in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
The demonstrations that have taken place in Hawaii, including Wednesday’s rally and several others that took place over the weekend, have remained peaceful.
“No one has the right to judge the response to a struggle that they aren’t a part of or don’t understand,” said Kyla. “What we will say is that we’re definitely proud and extremely blessed to live in a place where it doesn’t have to escalate, where we can have conversations with the police about what’s going on.”
When asked how long the local demonstrations would continue, another protester chimed in: “As long as necessary.”