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The banner story: The Raul Gonzalez Kanawai Mamalahoe

From its creation at the deOccupy Honolulu encampment to its illegal seizure the next day by police in a raid to its position in front of the official color guard of the Martin Luther King Day march through Waikiki, the true story of the Kanawai Mamalahoe banner by artist Raul Gonzalez.

Last year, when a couple of friends and I started Hawaiʻi Guerrilla Video, it was to continue doing what we were already doing: photograph, video, and livestream front-line social justice action in Hawaiʻi. People have to see whatʻs going on in their own community to be able to do the right thing, but the commercial media doesn't do an adequate job. People in many communities rely on independent media to get them the info they need. And not only did we want to provide coverage, but make the path from the street to the community broader and smoother for other videographers, journalists, and self-documentors.

I tell people that the First Amendment is the new Second Amendment, that to defend our freedom and promote justice, we all need to shoot and use the cameras we carry with us in our smartphones. I donʻt own a video camera and I donʻt know anyone who owns one that has it on him ALL the time. Most people have their smartphone on hip or at bed table 24/7.

I went to Waikiki this past Monday to livestream the Martin Luther King Day march through Waikiki and when I saw the Kanawai Mamalahoe banner it struck me what a history that banner had! I went back and pieced together the history through recorded livestream broadcasts, photos, and courtroom videos (and boy, is that another story).

The story here is told without voice over narration other than what was being said at the time. I let the banner and the events tell its own story. And now, I realize that by compiling the video from a number of clips and photos, at 30 minutes long, I have created my first "documentary." I call it guerrilla video, but I notice Raul Gonzalez calls it "roots video." Yes!


[For those who don't know it, "livestreaming" is broadcasting video directly from your smartphone or other device directly to the internet so people can follow along live. The quality of the video depends on bandwidth.]

Our videos carry a mahalo to Hawaiʻi People's Fund and The Kim Coco Iwamoto Fund for Social Justice. The Hui applied for and was awarded grants by these organizations. They help pay for things that one normally wouldn't imagine necessary: battery power, portable hotspots, and bandwidth. And also things like software and hardware. No cash or compensation goes to Hui members -- we do this because this is what we do.

You can see more about artist Raul Gonzalez at his Mictlan Murals page on Facebook.

H. Doug Matsuoka
24 January 2013
Makiki, Honolulu

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