A Week in Review - Hawai’i
March 23, 2009
By Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director: As some of you may know, I was dispatched to Hawai’i on Monday and will be here for two weeks to work on the Civil Unions bill held up in a Senate committee. Usually, I try to blog regularly when on the road, but this week has been so busy that this is the first opportunity I’ve had a chance to touch base with you. So to recap what’s been going on here, I’ve compiled a week’s worth of info for you to digest. Monday, March 16th: Woke up at 3am EST and headed to the airport to catch a 6am flight. After a three hour flight and a short layover in Dallas, I was off on an 8 1/2 flight to Honolulu. Didn’t sleep on the plane at all and when I arrived at Alan’s house (the co-chair of the Family Equality Coalition, the state group) I was exhausted. Alas, no rest for the weary – we went to dinner and then a three-hour strategy session that night. The meetings went really well and I was so impressed with what the coalition has done – all on volunteer efforts alone, so my 25 hour day didn’t seem so bad. Tuesday, March 17th: We started out the day with a press conference at Unite Here Local 5, the hotel workers union. We wanted to demonstrate that the coalition was bigger than just the LGBT groups and boy did we! Representatives from labor, civil rights and native Hawaiian organizations were present to express the importance of this legislation. All four Hawaii TV stations were on hand and covered the event. Later that night we attended a fundraiser for one of the state reps and spoke to state senators in attendance about the importance of passing this bill. It was all well received. Wednesday, March 18th: Today was an LGBT families’ lobby day at the capitol. The families in attendance went from office to office putting a face on the Civil Unions bill. We all know that this is THE most effective way for us to educate members of the legislature – either at the federal or state level. We also delivered the (very good) results of our latest poll to the state senators (81% agreeing that lesbian and gay couples should have the same civil rights as married couples). Other than that, I really tried to get caught up on everything else that was on my “to do” list. I would imagine you all know exactly what that’s like. Thursday, March 19th: Today we released the poll publically and received limited coverage, but it was good coverage. We also attended another fundraiser (and chance to speak to senators) and I held an HRC social at Hula’s on Waikiki for HRC supporters. About 25 people showed and we had a lot of good conversations. The best part was that most of them pledged to come to our sign waving/visibility at the state capitol on Friday.
Friday, March 20th: Spent the morning getting caught up again and then went to an Interfaith Alliance meeting at noon. I’ve been really impressed with how broad this coalition has become and how many people are focused on getting this bill passed. I’m working with the religion/faith leaders to make sure their views are heard at the state Capitol. Later that day, I created some signs and went to the state Capitol to join more than 100 people who were waving signs to support civil unions. Waving signs is a HUGE tradition in HI and I was so happy to be a part of it.
May 18, 2013