Hawaii Governor Enacts Bill To Further Self-Determination For Native Hawaiians

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into state law on July 6, a bill that formally recognizes Native Hawaiians as “the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli population” of the islands and begins a process to create a roll of qualified members to work toward the reorganization of a native government. The law is seen as an important step for Native Hawaiians in the movement for self-governance.

According to the Star Advertiser, Senate Bill 1520 supports efforts in Congress to gain federal recognition of native Hawaiians similar to that offered to American Indians and native Alaskans, but would continue the effort at a state level regardless of whether that goal is achieved. Gov. Abercrombie said, “This bill is the first step in seeing to it that we have a Native Hawaiian government entity,” he said. “It’s not only the first step, it is a practical manifestation of all that has gone on before.”

However, not all agree with the measure – sovereignty activists decried the measure as an attempt to deny Native Hawaiians’ claims to govern as a sovereign independent nation. “This is an affront to those of us whose nation was stolen,” activist Pilipo Souza said. The governor now has 180 days to appoint a five-member Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, which will be responsible for preparing and maintaining a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians. The roll is to be used as the basis for participation in the organization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

South Korean Elation For 2018 Winter Games Win

A South Korean supporter celebrates after the announcement. Photo credit: Associated Press.
A South Korean supporter celebrates after the announcement. Photo credit: Associated Press.
The South Korean city of Pyeongchang has been selected as the host of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, beating out Munich and Annecy. South Koreans roared with delight, danced, hugged and cried tears of joy after the city was awarded on July 7. The International Olympic Committee voted for the town of 47,000 near South Korea’s east coast, after being narrowly defeated by Vancouver and Sochi in its two previous attempts to host a Winter Olympics. It’ll be the first time a Korean city has staged the Winter Games and only the third time it will have been held in Asia.

White Power Candidates are Seeking Public Office

David Duke
Rep. David Duke
The Daily Beast recently ran an article featuring the startling number of white power candidates who are currently seeking public office, including America’s most infamous white power advocate, David Duke, who is also a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. Duke is a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and is apparently considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. According to the article, former (and current) Neo Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Confederates, and other representatives of the many wings of the “white nationalist” movement are starting to file paperwork and print campaign literature for offices large and small, pointing to rising unemployment, four years with an African-American president, and rampant illegal immigration as part of a growing mound of evidence that white people need to take a stand. While most aren’t succeeding in their goals thus far, many are still drawing levels of support that surprise and alarm groups that keep tabs on the white-power movement.

Sign of the Times: Proposal To Rewrite NYC Store Signs in English Sparks Culture Clash

Republican City Council members Dan Halloran and Peter Koo are drafting legislation that would require store signs in New York City to be mostly in English. They say police officers and firefighters need to be able to quickly identify stores. According to the Associated Press, the change would also protect consumers and allow local shops to expand outside their traditional customer base, the council members argue. But merchants say it would be an unnecessary and costly burden on small businesses and would homogenize diverse pockets of the city that cater mostly to immigrant residents. “People must respect that this is a special area and please respect the Asian culture,” said Peter Tu, executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association.

“They have their own life in this area. When you walk in the street, you don’t feel like you are in America.”

Two bills are pending in the council to change language on store signs. One, introduced in May, would authorize inspectors with the city Department of Consumer Affairs to enforce a little-known state law that requires businesses to display their names in English. The second bill, which will be introduced later this summer, would stipulate that the sign should be at least 60 percent English. Businesses would have four years to comply, after which they’d face fines starting at $150. “This is designed for public safety, consumer protection and to start increasing the foot traffic into the stores,” Halloran said. The law on the books — passed in 1933 and dubbed the ‘True Name bill” — classifies a violation as a misdemeanor but is not enforced. Its primary intent was to protect creditors and consumers from fraud by informal stores that popped up during the Great Depression. The president of the Flushing on the Hill Civic Association, David Kulick, said store signs provoke different concerns these days, mostly from longtime residents who find it insulting or off-putting when they can’t read them. Assemblywoman Grace Meng said she’s heard many of those complaints. She started a task force on the issue last year and supports the council legislation. “The heart of the issue is not just about an English sign,” Meng said. “They don’t feel like they can communicate in their own neighborhoods.”

Meng said, “My goal in bringing up this whole issue a year ago was to bridge the gap between cultures,” she said. “This is not going to solve it. But it’s part of the resolution.”

Filipinos Fight for US Citizenship in Afghanistan

Filipinos SoldiersImmigrant Filipino soldiers fighting for the United States army in Afghanistan are seeking an exchange for a fast-track to U.S. citizenship. The Associated Press article profiled 25-year-old Private Darby Ortego, one of the 9,000 legal immigrants who join the U.S. armed forces each year from countries as far apart as Panama, Nigeria, Liberia and Turkey, for a chance at a better life for themselves and their families. Ortego endured gunfire and mine attacks fighting for the United States army in Afghanistan, but as of July 4 will be his first as a citizen of the country he serves. Ortego, who battles insurgents in the violent eastern province of Khost with Bravo Company, 1-26 Infantry, recently attended a naturalization ceremony at a US base near Kabul ahead of this year’s Independence Day celebrations. Like thousands of fellow Filipinos, he sees the US military as a fast-track to American citizenship, securing his own future and also helping his family back home. “I joined up to get my mom to America,” said Private Ortego, who is deployed at Combat Outpost Sabari in Khost, where US troops clash with Taliban rebels based across the border in Pakistan. “I want to bring my mom from her village in the Philippines to Nevada, where I live. I want her to be with me.” Ortega has a “green card” permanent residency in the US, and was living with his divorced father in Nevada when he signed up for the army two years ago.

Other benefits to military service include a free college education, which Ortego said he hopes to use to study business management.

There are around 25,000 non-US citizens serving in the military, the Pentagon says. Non-citizens have fought for the US since the 18th century War of Independence, while the US officially started recruiting Filipinos after World War II when it opened military bases in the Philippines. After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the naturalization process for military personnel was streamlined when President George W. Bush scrapped waiting requirements for active soldiers. In the last 10 years, nearly 69,000 immigrant troops have become US citizens while serving. Naturalization takes just months for serving military personnel compared to years for regular legal immigrants.

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