Hawaii & The USA: A Union Worth Celebrating!
August 21st is Hawaii's 56th Anniversary of Statehood
by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
As an American, I am proud that Hawaii is a state of the union. The 50th state represents our nation’s breadth and diversity. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, we span the globe, not for domination but for beneficence. What we practice and live within our borders – being, “one nation under God, indivisible,” - extends across the world, “ …with liberty and justice for all.”
As a Hawaiian, I am proud to be part of the great people of the United States. No other nation could better fulfill the aspirations of Hawaiians as expressed in the 1840 Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom: “God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the earth, in unity and blessedness. God has also bestowed certain rights alike on all men.” These are the values embedded within America’s most cherished document, the Declaration of Independence.
In 1959, Governor William Quinn presided over the greatest celebration Hawaii’s people had ever seen, following a resounding 93% plus affirmation of statehood by all people of Hawaii. Moloka’i, with a preponderantly native Hawaiian population, led the way in the vote!
Today, we would do well to celebrate again the great union of the United States and Hawaii. Current detractors who seek to undo this union are truly a minority, although a vocal one. I have traveled throughout these islands, visited the Hawaiian Homestead lands, spoken with those who are too shy to go to public hearings, and talked with both aged kupuna and young workers. The silent, yet vast, majority of ethnic Hawaiians, like myself, are proud to be Hawaiian and proud to be American. That’s worth celebrating, and it’s worth celebrating in the company of all Americans, from multiple ethnic backgrounds, who can all rightly call themselves Hawaiians.