Aloha, Members of Local 665,
It’s been a standing half-joke, half-fervent hope that the end of 2020 would bring an end to much of the difficulties that it brought. Now, a new year is upon us with a fresh set of challenges and opportunities. How we rise to meet them will define our present and our future.
On January 6th, 2021, armed domestic right-wing terrorists illegally stormed the US Capitol with intent to disrupt a legally conducted General Election and do harm to those fulfilling their sworn Constitutional duty. This dark day of lawlessness did not appear out of the sky at random. This fire was stoked by the person leaving the Oval Office and left to run wild in the streets. Nearly 60 Capitol Police officers were injured and an officer was killed by this mob. In light of Dr Martin Luther King Jr Day, it was a stark reminder of the difference in the way that BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color)/LGBTQIA+/Women/other underrepresented communities have historically been met with violence when peacefully protesting for their right to exist. For perspective, there was not a single officer fatality in an entire summer of anti-police brutality protests.
Let’s be very clear – of course every life has meaning. But all lives literally cannot matter until we acknowledge that Black Lives Matter, Women’s Lives Matter, Indigenous/POC Lives Matter, and LGBTQIA+ Lives Matter. This is not to say that they are more important than any other life. But merely that these underrepresented and oppressed communities deserve basic human dignity. We deserve to live our lives free of the standing threat of violence and death simply because we exist. But now, it seems the pendulum is swinging back in the opposite direction.
President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on 01/20/2021. They bring with them a new administration. Namely, a Secretary of Labor that was once a labor leader. Marty Walsh is a former member and President of the Laborer’s Union Local 223 until he became Boston’s Mayor in 2013. This seismic shift in representation is an opportunity for the growth and advancement of organized labor that cannot be understated. There’s been a dark cloud hanging over the Labor Movement these last four years. And while my heart has become much more guarded over that time, this glimmer of daylight could be enough to warm even the coldest of dispositions. It’s no magic wand to fix all of our problems, but it’s a start. It will take all of us to make forward progress for Organized Labor.
The Hawaii State Legislature will convene on President Biden’s Inauguration day, January 20, 2021. However, they will be convening remotely. If you have not already done so, please make sure to register an account at capitol.hawaii.gov. The only way to submit testimony in support of or opposition to any bill before this legislature will be electronically. Special rules are in place for written testimony being submitted to the Hawaii State House of Representatives committees versus those in the State Senate. For a more detailed description of the 2021 Remote Testimony Procedures, visit https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/docs/RemoteTestimony.pdf.
Lastly, Vaccines are on the way. If widespread inoculation occurs, Live Events could come back as soon as this Fall. Until then, wash your hands for 20 seconds at a time, wear a mask when you’re outside of your home, stay physically distant, and stay safe out there, folks.
President, IATSE Local 665