May 15 ushered in the world’s largest flash mob as millions took to the streets in over 100 cities around the world for Worldwide Rally for Freedom 2.0. In contrast to the first such rally hosted by Aloha Freedom Coalition in March at Kapiolani Park, attendees enjoyed a smooth and peaceful day at Ala Moana Beach Park.

In the gathering of over 1,000, the smiles stood out. And the spontaneous embraces. The scent of puakenikeni lei mingled with salty breezes and a heaven-sent mist, while a sweet falsetto voice drifted from the outdoor stage enveloping the crowd in a wave of chicken skin. Life for this one day felt normal. Not “new normal.” Really, truly 2019-normal.

This was not a hoolaulea that afforded Hawaii residents the luxury of leisure, not when the basic right to live freely and even breathe fresh air is at stake. If the assembled bodies were a bit more bowed than they were a year ago, it’s because they know that the weight of the world rests on their shoulders. For that reason, this rally called liberty lovers together, to invigorate spirits, create connection and formulate a renewed resolve against the erosion of freedom.

The festivities commenced with a march 400 members strong that wound its way from Kapiolani Park to the rally site. Parade participants danced, waved flags, raised signs and showed off t-shirts sporting pertinent messages, from the lighthearted – “End the Maskerade,” “Enough Already,” – to the deadly serious:

Freedoms Should not be Dependent on Vax Status
Unmask Our keiki
Educate Before You Vaccinate
Coercion is not Informed Consent
Tyranny is Spreading Faster than the Virus
My Immune System is Safer than your Shots
My Keiki are Not Your Lab Rats

Stage presentations commenced with DJ Marc Thyssen inviting onlookers to gather round with his musical artistry that included the resistance song that has swept Europe, Dancer Encore, followed by Noelani Love strumming her ukulele and belting out original melodies as the parade arrived at the site. Hawaiian musician Kapiliela Kala also shared original music accompanied by his guitar and kept the audience’s ears perked with his adept falsetto.

Lifeguard Jason Bitzer, who recently saved the life of pro-surfer Jamie O’Brien, encouraged the group to save our inalienable rights.

Megan Kau who ran a strong 2020 campaign for Honolulu Prosecutor brought her disarming mix of steely strength and grace to her discussion on getting acquainted with your constitutional rights for the sake of exercising those rights.

“Continued restrictions are not pono, emergency mandates are not pono, lockdowns are not pono,” proclaimed pastor and 2020 candidate for mayor, Bud Stonebraker, when he took the stage, encouraging citizens to opt out of the deception that has gripped people’s minds, “When you stand for freedom, human dignity and civil rights, you’re standing for life.”

The most prominent name of the day was talk show host Dennis Prager, making his Honolulu speaking debut. For the massive gathering of all ages and backgrounds, he addressed the so-called pandemic’s negative affect on children, the fact that unless the elderly are infirm, they are likely to overcome COVID, and made short shrift of the idea that America is a racist country.

The day’s final presenter was AFC president and spokesperson Gary Cordery. “I see happiness and I see freedom today,” he said, and referenced the overwhelming eagerness for liberty that threaded through all of the speeches. “With liberty comes personal responsibility and self-governance.”

Cordery urged the crowd to take active steps in retaining the freedom that inherently belongs to every American citizen, before it slips beyond retrieval:

“Aloha 100,” he called out, “For the next 100 days, reach out to your legislator, senator, Lt. governor, governor and DOH every day by phone. Your freedom is not free. If you want to see change in this state, this is how it happens. … Say no to the impositions being put into place. If you have kids, you have a responsibility to walk in the liberty that has been given you, but you can’t squander it thinking
someone else will do it.”

Also in attendance and contributing intrinsically to the inspirational tone were Pastor Eric Hurd leading the opening prayer, MC Dawn O’Brien personifying the spirit of aloha, Yvette Moore leading the group in singing the National Anthem and Hawaii Pono’i, and Da Braddahs, bringing welcome and abundant laughter to the afternoon. Meanwhile, our guardians in blue kept a watch over the proceedings from a respectful distance.

Weeks of planning by numerous volunteers, who donated both monetarily and in hundreds of hours of manpower saw the fruits of their labor arrive at a satisfying close, but with the solemn understanding that how the future plays out is dependent on this moment, right now. And that the stakes have never been higher.

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