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Rep. Gabbard Visits Mauna Kea

August 12, 2019, 2:14 PM HST (Updated August 12, 2019, 5:16 PM)
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Hawaii Island resident Zanira Musa with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during visit to Mauna Kea Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019. PC: Nayeva Florie

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawai‘i—District 2), Democratic presidential candidate and member of the US House of Representatives, visited Mauna Kea on Sunday Aug. 11, 2019, where protestors have camped out for nearly a month to block construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on what they consider a sacred peak.

Gabbard spoke to a crowd of several thousand protestors—some of whom have been on the mountain for nearly a month, and others who were in attendance for a TMT-opponent based event titled Jam 4 Mauna Kea. People from across the state and the world synced up on Sunday via the internet, signing the same song at the same time in solidarity for their cause.

During her visit, Gabbard reiterated talking points that were part of a message she released weeks ago, when the Congresswoman implored Gov. David Ige to rescind an emergency proclamation he’d declared with regards to the situation on the mountain.

The gist of Gabbard’s initial message, as well as her words Sunday, was that the demonstration on Mauna Kea speaks to more than the construction of the $1.4 billion telescope. It also speaks to a long history of disenfranchisement of the Hawaiian people.

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Gov. David Ige, Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim are among several politicians, who like Gabbard, have ascended the mountain since the demonstration began in mid-July.

Notable celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Momoa have also made the jaunt to the intersection of Daniel K. Inouye Highway and the Mauna Kea Access Road, where the self-dubbed “protectors” of Mauna Kea have galvanized in their efforts to block TMT construction over the last several weeks.

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