Statement by Womenʻs Voices, Women Speak Kollin Elderts March
July 11, 2014
We are Womenʻs Voices, Women Speak and we are here today to express our support for the family of Kollin Elderts. It is with heavy hearts that we deliver this statement. We know that their grief has surely not lessened since that horrible night in November 2011 when this precious young person was brutally murdered. No amount of solidarity will bring back this son, brother, cousin, friend. Nevertheless, we know that at times like these, we must let this family know that they do not grieve alone. This Kanaka Maoli family does not walk to that American courthouse alone. As a compassionate community, we walk with this family today, encircling them with the care and protection of our bodies, protection we could not offer to dear Kollin that night Christopher Deedy took his life away.
Our friends at the Parents of Murdered Children recently reminded us that once your family has been impacted by deadly violence like this, you never feel secure again. Imagine that? To never feel secure again. That is how it feels when your child is murdered. Now imagine that it is the government – this illegal occupying government - who did the killing, and now that same government refuses to call it murder.
As we march today, we know very little can make things better for the Eldertsʻ family. But unfortunately, we are reminded that there are many things that can make it worse. And going through two trials is surely making things worse. Having Christopher Deedy still on the job and with his badge and carrying this gun is making things worse. And having to listen to media and the defense team make disparaging remarks about Kollin is making things worse.
Why was Christopher Deedy not tested for drugs and alcohol? Apparently, as a special agent, he could refuse to do so! He also had the good fortune of being alive to tell the tale. Poor Kollin, on the other hand, is subject to any number of allegations about his behavior that night, but he is no longer here to defend himself. This is a violation of his basic human rights and dignity. While we are outraged by his murder, we are also outraged by the way he is now bombarded with these insults against his character.
We are an organization that stands for “genuine security.” What does that mean to us? It means that we believe quality food, water, housing, and education are the highest priorities for human beings to feel safe and secure in a genuine way. We also believe that people’s fundamental human dignity should be honored and cultural identities respected. We are an organization that stands up against militarism, and any notion that the US military is a “natural” presence here.
The APEC conference represents the opposite of these priorities. They represent the 1%, the mega-rich, the corporations, those with the money to protect their assets and their agenda. And sure enough, a militarized police force was hired at great expense - at our expense - to protect their agenda. With Christopher Deedyʻs help, they knew they could aim their guns at anyone suspected of getting in their way and shoot with impunity. Many of us did not know how serious they were about this agenda until they took Kollin away from us.
Why is it important to think about security? Because this government commits these heinous acts in the name of “national security” or “regional security” or “public safety” – and they depend on us not to complain or protest or call them out on their lies. But we are here to let them know we demand Justice for Kollin Elderts! We demand genuine security, genuine peace and genuine sovereignty for our families, our communities, and our precious island home.
Mahalo and mālama pono.