"Bradley Manning: Way OUT for Justice" in the Honolulu Pride Parade

Free Bradley Manning at Hawaii Pride
Hawaii Protest for Bradley Manning
From the Hawai'i Chapter of World Can't Wait

Our contingent to support Bradley Manning in the Honolulu Pride Parade on June 4 was a great success! Our brilliant banner, glittered photos of Bradley Manning, Bradley Manning masks, chants and drumming made us impossible to miss and we had tremendous support along the route.

As our truck rolled out of Ala Moana Park and into the Pride celebration we wondered whether people would know who Bradley Manning is, and whether there would be support, opposition, or merely puzzled faces. As we reached the first crowds of people the questions disappeared. A group of soldiers along the route pumped their fists in the air. Japanese tourists read the signs and clapped in approval. People turned to each other asking: "Who's Bradley Manning" and others in the group would explain. All along the route hundreds of cameras and cell phones snapped pictures, flashed us their shakas, and gave us the thumbs-up. We're sure more than a few headed to google to find out more.

World Can't Wait-Hawai`i has organized numerous small events to support Bradley Manning, but this was by far the best. Until now we've been disappointed by how few people know about his case so we were surprised to see how many people showed quick recognition and support. It was especially heartening to see the response of many Japanese tourists who lined the parade route. We suspect that even if they didn't immediately recognize Bradley Manning's name, they supported Wikileaks and are aware of the case.

In addition to having a big presence in the parade itself, our contingent was also seen on TV coverage of the celebration that evening.

To many of us Bradley Manning is a hero - a courageous whistleblower who followed his conscience and laid bare the horrendous crimes and machinations of a criminal regime. The U.S. media, however, has attempted to portray him as a disturbed and angry gay man, who betrayed his country as the result of a romantic break-up. This crowd clearly didn't buy the lie. One group of celebrants along the parade route began dancing and singing "Bradley Manning: Waaayyy OUT for Justice!"

Honolulu's Pride Parade is the first of many that will be held across the country during the month of June (and beyond). World Can't Wait Hawai`i urges Bradley's supporters in other cities to build their own contingents in their parades to spread the slogan and build support for his case at these parades and celebrations, and have a lot of fun as well. Based on our experience, we expect they'll receive an enthusiastic response.