Protestors Rally Against TMT on Mauna Kea Awareness Day

March 12, 2019, 11:50 AM HST (Updated March 12, 2019, 11:50 AM)
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Mauna Kea Awareness Day protests in California, Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Courtesy photo.

Protestors gathered in California in celebration of Mauna Kea Awareness Day on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, and protests are planned throughout the University of Hawai‘i System on Wednesday, March 13.

The Big Island sign-waving event will be held in Waimea on Church Row from 3 to 5 p.m.

The protestors are rallying against the Thirty Meter Telescope, which was given the green flag to proceed with construction atop Maunakea by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court in October 2018.

Their messages are—Stop TMT, Divest From Destruction” and “Science must evolve to align with the protection of sacred places and indigenous peoples worldwide,” according to Healani Sonoda-Pale, a protest organizer and member of the Mauna Kea Hui.

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In order to raise awareness of the effort to protect Mauna Kea, Aloha ‘Aina (protectors who love the land), March 13, 2019, has been declared Mauna Kea Awareness Day, Sonoda-Pale said.

Mauna Kea Awareness Day protests in California, Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Courtesy photo.

Mauna Kea Awareness Day was initiated by UH Mānoa faculty and staff to focus on Maunakea with teach-ins, lessons, events and cultural learning opportunities at universities, schools and in communities around the world.

Protests in California were held University of California campuses, including UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz and others.

“Mauna Kea is sacred to the indigenous peoples of Hawai‘i—the kānaka maoli—as the highest point in Hawai‘i,” Sonoda-Pale said. “Standing 13,796 feet above sea level, it is the tallest mountain in the world.”

Maunakea is home to many cultural and natural resources that are important the communities on Hawai’i Island.

Mauna Kea Awareness Day protests in California, Tuesday, March 12, 2019. Courtesy photo.

“For decades, protectors have tried their best to shelter Mauna Kea from development—mainly telescopes—and today the threat to the mountain is the greatest its ever been as a site of consideration for the Thirty Meter Telescope, a five-acre, 18-story-tall, three-story-deep telescope that would be the tallest building on the island,” Sonoda-Pale said.

A flash mob protest is also scheduled at UH Mānoa at 10:25 a.m. at McCarthy Mall and at 11:50 a.m. at the Campus Center Courtyard. A sign-waving event is set for UH on Dole Street from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

Go online for a full list of events.

For more information, visit maunakeaawarenessday.org and protectmaunakea.com.

Debra Lordan
Debra Lordan has been a writer and website editor for Pacific Media Group since 2014. She has 39-plus years of experience in the publishing industry, serving in a variety of positions—from photographer, graphic designer and communications director to writer, editor and general manager—at scientific research centers, in book publishing, at a weekly newspaper and various magazines. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado.
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