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    Sea Dragons pay homage to the spirit of Aloha

    Sea Dragons pay homage to the spirit of Aloha

    Photo By Kimberly Menzies | Brian Woo, the foreign policy advisor to the commander of the United States Pacific...... read more read more

    JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S Army Pacific, hosted an Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Observance ceremony, May 11, 2015, at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

    With the theme, Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion, attendees from throughout USARPAC were treated to a culmination of the Asian-Pacific Islander culture via ethnic food, traditional hula dance and an inspirational account of the affects of equal opportunity for those of an Asian American Pacific Islander heritage from the guest speaker of the event.

    “On the third 54-mile march on March 21, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, and other civil rights leaders, wore Hawaiian flower leis,” explains Brian Woo, the event’s guest speaker and the foreign policy advisor to the commander of the United States Pacific Air Forces.

    “Yes, in the back drop of racial hatred, violence and even death, King and his lieutenants accepted the leis; which symbolize the spirit of Aloha, the Hawaiian word meaning compassion, peace and love.”

    “The Rev. Abraham Akaka sent the white leis to be worn by King and his fellow marchers,” continued Woo. “For Dr. King, this was a meaningful gesture of Hawaii’s solidarity and support for the civil rights movement and the people of Hawaii; the Asian and Pacific Islanders, who brought the leis, stayed on to march with him.”

    “Still as a young boy in the 1960s, watching the news on the family’s black and white TV, I was utterly shocked by the events on the mainland but I was also deeply inspired by Dr. King’s words on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial - ‘I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,’” shares Woo.

    Woo a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, shared memories of discrimination when local children were denied education opportunities and described the motivations of equal opportunity pioneers who pushed the boundaries, helping clear a path for future Americans such as himself.

    “We have solidarity for what Dr. King stands for because we are no strangers to discrimination,” stated Woo.

    Before becoming the PACAF foreign policy advisor, Woo was a lead member of the United Nations team of counterterrorism experts evaluating implementation of Security Council Resolution 1373, a U.N. resolution that condemned the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and laid out a global plan to combat terrorism. After retiring in 2005, Woo served as the senior advisor to the mayor of Honolulu for international, military and homeland security affairs.

    During his extensive Foreign Service career, Woo also was the head of the action against terrorism unit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He served as the director of State Department Counterterrorism- Policy, Programs, and Public Diplomacy and as U.S. Consul General to Chengdu, China.

    This event was not only an opportunity to enjoy cultural dances and cuisine but it was also an important pause to recognize and pay homage to those of the Asian American Pacific Islander heritage and their achievements.

    “This observance is important because it identifies the impact the Asian Pacific Islanders have had on the United States both in the past and present,” said Master Sgt. Raymond Peredo, the force management noncommissioned officer in charge with 94th AAMDC. “It also identifies that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are just as important as everyone else who calls the United States home.”



    Date Taken: 05.11.2015
    Date Posted: 05.15.2015 20:37
    Story ID: 163524
    Location: HI, US
    Hometown: GUAM, GU
    Hometown: HONOLULU, HI, US

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