Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu
Speech for Peace Day Hawaii 2007
It has been an exciting journey in establishing Peace Day Hawaii as state law. This designated day encourages citizens to practice and celebrate peace. We can all do this by doing kind acts everyday or getting involved in organizations that are determined to make our community and world better.
House Bill 345, which created Peace Day Hawaii would not have been possible without the support of the following individuals and organizations that are here with us tonight that provided testimony during the legislative process.
In our presence, we have:
Reverend Dr. Shin'estsu Mary David, Ms. Claire Tamamoto, and the members of the Hawaii Federation of Young Buddhist Associations;
Dr. Jeannie Lum of the Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace;
Ms. Rene Mansho of the Hawaii Lions Foundation;
Ms. Carol Pregill, President of the Retail Merchants;
Mr. Roger Takabayashi, President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association
Mr. Ian Kitajima, President of Jodo Mission of Hawaii
Mr. Bob Asato; and
Ms. Pat Blair
Can all the individuals and organizations I called, please rise and be recognized?
Also with us this evening, are two individuals I would like to recognize who are colleagues of the 2007 Peace Day Award recipient who we will announce shortly. They served in the famed 100th Battalion, which were made of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The 100th Battalion, along with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and other units, sacrificed their lives despite facing racism and discrimination by their own country. Many of these boys died so young in hopes of a better tomorrow for future generations. Those who survived the war returned as heroes, yet their country still mistreated them, as they struggled to find jobs because of discrimination. As a result, they got involved in the community, started their own businesses and firms, ran for political office, but most importantly, they shared their love with others. Their efforts helped to transform Hawaii and the United States. However, the struggle is not over. Many of these heroes have told me that we must strive to avoid war and aim towards peace. Mr. Robert Arakaki, president of the 100th Battalion asked me, “What do you mean by 'peace'?” I looked at him, not sure what he was asking of me? He pointed to his heart and said, “Peace starts from here. Everyone must do their part.” We must continue their legacy and strive to make our state, country, and world a better place.
I am honored to introduce:
Mr. Robert Arakaki, President of the 100th Battalion; and
Mr. Shigeru Tsubota, member of the 100th Battalion