“I have a dream” — for Hawaii, 50 years later

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Martin Luther King Jr. (Photo courtesy of Heritage)

BY KENNETH R. CONKLIN, PH.D. — On August 28, 1963 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln memorial.[1] It was undoubtedly the most powerful civil rights speech of the 20th Century. How sad it is to see Dr. King’s dream for race relations in America mocked by the nightmare developing in Hawaii.[2]

I certainly cannot begin to match Dr. King’s eloquence. But on the 50th anniversary of his greatest speech, I offer my own dream for Hawaii’s future as a tribute to Dr. King and a ho’okupu (offering) to my hanai (adopted) homeland.


My dream is summarized in a single paragraph. Each element of the dream has a footnote providing detailed explanations and references. Readers might be surprised that I find it necessary to say these things. That’s why the footnotes are very important, even if lengthy and emotionally difficult.

My dream for Hawaii

I have a dream that someday all Hawaii’s people will embrace the concept that we are all equal in the eyes of God,[3] and we are all fully imbued with the Aloha Spirit.[4] I have a dream that all Hawaii’s people will embrace the fact that we are Americans.[5] I have a dream that all Hawaii’s people will embrace the fact that we have a right to be treated equally under the law by our federal and state governments; and will therefore put aside and repudiate racial entitlement programs.[6] I have a dream that all Hawaii’s people will put aside and repudiate efforts to create a race-based government and to divide the lands and people of Hawaii along racial lines.[7] I have a dream that someday Caucasian boys and girls who are born and raised in Hawaii will be treated as locals, keiki o ka ‘aina, kama’aina; and that malihini and kama’aina Caucasians will no longer be subjected to racial epithets and racial hate crimes.[8]

Visits to Hawaii by Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King

Dr. King visited Hawaii a month after Statehood and gave a speech at the legislature on September 17, 1959 in which he said: “I come to you with a great deal of appreciation and great feeling of appreciation, I should say, for what has been accomplished in this beautiful setting and in this beautiful state of our Union. As I think of the struggle that we are engaged in in the South land, we look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice.” It is significant that Dr. King and some of his fellow civil rights leaders wore Hawaiian leis in their fateful 1965 Alabama march from Selma to Montgomery, when many were severely clubbed, and bitten by police dogs.[9]

Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, was remembered in a Honolulu Advertiser obituary on February 1, 2006, where it was noted that she “first came to Honolulu in June 1987 in an effort to establish Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a state holiday. Hawai’i was then one of seven states that had not declared it a state holiday, following the establishment of the federal holiday in 1983. … A year later, King returned to the state Capitol to witness then-Gov. John Waihee signing the holiday into law. … Hawai’i, among the last three states to mark the holiday in honor of the fallen civil rights leader, held its first Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1989.”[10]

Greatly shortened notes. The complete notes are at

[1] A printed transcript of the speech can be seen at
An 18-minute video of the actual speech is at

[2] How sad it is to see Dr. King’s dream for race relations in America mocked by the nightmare developing in Hawaii. What nightmare? See

[3] Hawaiian sovereignty activists have twisted the beautiful Kumulipo creation legend. See “Religion and Zealotry in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement — How Religious Myths are Used to Support Political Claims for Racial Supremacy in Hawaii” at

[4] The Aloha Spirit is very real, very powerful, and universally present in all persons and all of nature. See “The Aloha Spirit — what it is, who possesses it, and why it is important” at

[5] “Hawai’i’s Fifth Column: Anti-Americanism in the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement” at
“Was the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy illegal? Was it a theft of a nation owned by kanaka maoli and stolen by non-kanaka maoli?”
See photocopies of letters granting full-fledged diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Hawaii as the rightful successor to the Kingdom of Hawaii.
“Was the 1898 annexation illegal?”
“Treaty of Annexation between the Republic of Hawaii and the United States of America (1898). Full text of the treaty, and of the resolutions whereby the Republic of Hawaii legislature and the U.S. Congress ratified it. The politics surrounding the treaty, then and now”
“HAWAII STATEHOOD — A Brief History of the Struggle to Achieve Statehood, and Current Challenges”
“Hawaii Statehood — straightening out the history-twisters. A historical narrative defending the legitimacy of the revolution of 1893, the annexation of 1898, and the statehood vote of 1959” at
So-called executive agreements between Hawaii Queen Liliuokalani and U.S. President Grover Cleveland — the new Hawaiian history scam by Keanu Sai
“Hawaii Statehood Day 2006 — Celebration at Old Territorial Capitol Building (Iolani Palace) Disrupted by Hawaiian Ethnic Nationalist Wannabe-Terrorists”

[6] A list compiled several years ago identified 856 grants totaling approximately $322,220,808 which are for Hawaiians only.
OHA and DHHL Cost to State of Hawaii Treasury: more than $3 Billion
Office of Hawaiian Affairs — Watching the Moves It Makes to Expand the Evil Empire
Kamehameha School Racially Exclusionary Admission Policy, and Tax-Exempt Status, in View of Rice v. Cayetano

[7] History of the Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill in the 113th Congress (January 2013 through December 2014).
Hawaii begins to create a state-recognized tribe — Act 195.
Major Articles Opposing the federal Hawaiian Government Reorganization bill (Akaka bill) — INDEX for years 2000 – 2013

[8] Road Rage vs. Racial hate Crime [Waikele incident]
Southern Poverty Law Center major report on racial hate crimes against Caucasians in Hawaii
Book review of UH Press “Asian Settler Colonialism.”
Anti-Caucasian writings and speeches by UH Professor Haunani-Kay Trask

[9] Text of Dr. King’s speech to the Hawaii legislature on September 17, 1959, along with photos including his use of leis at the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march, can be seen at

[10] “Coretta Scott King warmly remembered in Islands”, Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, February 1, 2006





  1. special interest groups here in Hawaii and the mainland have had and still have a demand for equality. not equality of rights,liberty and freedom– but equality of results.they want equal income,so we have progressive income tax.we haveequal pay for equal work,racial,ethnic,gender equality,affirmative actions,quotas,greater equality in test scores! the word "equality" doesn't appear in our Constitution, Bill of Rights,or the Federalist Papers. even Thomas Jefferson,who owned slaves all his life, wrote that all men are created equal in their God-given Rights to Life and Liberty and not equal in any other way.the government can't give us rights or equality or take them away from us.if the government tries to do these things, then we the people will lose our freedom and liberty. all Free people have natural,individual inequalities. if we try to check growth of inequality,we will sacrifice liberty,freedom,property and peace,just like in Russia in 1917.

  2. Discrimination is part of the makeup of the human race. There will ALWAYS be racial discrimination as long as humans walk this earth. There was discrimination of the Hawaiians by the haole for part of Hawaii's history and there is still some today. Back in the 50's as a young child growing up in Hawaii with a Japanese mother and a part-Hawaiian father I experienced discrimination first-hand through my mom who told me Okinawans were not Japanese. As an owner of a slipper shop, she related her experiences in her visits to Japan's slipper manufacturers, who she said were almost all of Korean ancestry because slippers were made for the feet, the lowest part of the body. When I liked a particular Japanese girl and visited her home and met the parents, I could sense the disdain in their actions. Like most Japanese parents, they preferred her to date Japanese boys. I have haole friends who I consider local like many of my other local friends. And there are many haole and part-haole families who are pillars of our community. We who were born and raised here have ALL experienced some sort of racial discrimination or slurs. That is just part of growing up here.
    This article appears to appeal for better treatment of haole who, if a poll were taken, have a higher average income level, go to better schools, live in better housing and enjoy a better lifestyle than the rest of the “local” population. And by “racial entitlement programs”, if Mr. Conklin is referring to Kamehameha schools helping the Hawaiian keiki, perhaps he should also compare the incomes of Hawaiians to the haole.
    Perhaps Mr. Conklin should devote more of his time and effort to helping the really downtrodden among us: The Pacific Islanders who face discrimination on a daily basis. I am sure Dr. Martin Luther King would have preferred that. The haole are doing just fine.

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