Hawaii's 'Lei of Aloha' reaches Florida school where 17 died in mass shooting

Hawaii's 'Lei of Aloha' reaches Florida school where 17 died in mass shooting

PARKLAND, FL (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over 4,800 miles from the islands, Hawaii's spirit of Aloha was felt at the scene of the nation's latest mass school shooting.

On Sunday afternoon, half of the two and a half-mile-long ti leaf lei – woven by hands of volunteers all around the state – made it to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland FL.

It was an emotional ceremony filled with native Hawaiian protocol, chants and song.

The lei, which represents Hawaii standing strong with the Parkland community, was draped over a fence alongside other memorials for the victims.

Some 26 schools and hundreds of volunteers from Hawaii contributed to the act of aloha by donating ti leaves and twisting them into lei.

On Monday, the other half of the lei will be presented at a memorial site near the campus.

Organizers of the "Lei of Aloha" project have previously sent similar leis in the wake of other tragedies around the world.

They've sent leis to Paris after a terror bombing, Orlando after a shooting at the Pulse nightclub and Las Vegas following another deadly shooting.

"When will enough be enough? We can no longer just offer up the lei and our aloha, our message must be stronger," organizer Ron Panzo said.

Since the shooting, thousands of students have spoken up nationwide, planning walkouts to protest gun violence in America.

The Lei of Aloha organizers have neared their online fundraising goal, and are expected to return to Hawaii on Wednesday.

The lei reinforces the group's message, "#WeAreOne.

A volunteer with the Hawaii chapter of the American Red Cross is also heading to Florida to help survivors and families cope with the tragedy.

"We deal with a lot of trauma and helping families, not only to work with their loved ones, but to also help process a plan on how to move forward," volunteer Ryan Yamane said.

The Red Cross will continue their efforts in helping those affected this week.

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