Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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August 23, 2006 - MidWeek
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Legal breasts

The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) is the state agency responsible for enforcing our state laws against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and state-funded services.

Rick Hamada’s column on “Real Boobs: Breast-feeding Foes” takes a common sense approach to the controversy over the depiction of a breast-feeding baby as much ado about nothing. Near the end of the column, though, there is a misstatement that state law prohibits breastfeeding in public. Actually, the Legislature in 2000 passed a law to protect breast-feeding mothers from discrimination in places of public accommodations, such as shopping centers, restaurants and other public establishments. The law created a private right of action to challenge instances of discrimination; and it was not intended to prevent mothers from breast-feeding in public.

As quoted in the column, former HCRC Chair Harry Yee testified to the Legislature in support of the bill, describing breastfeeding as natural, not lewd. The quotation is accurate - but neither the testimony nor the legislation were in opposition to breast-feeding in public, as that paragraph implies.

Mr. Hamada’s article makes a strong statement in support of breast-feeding as natural rather than lewd. His position is consistent with, and supported by, our state law prohibiting discrimination against breast-feeding mothers and the HCRC testimony offered in support of that legislation.

We feel it is important to correct the record, to let the public know that the law protects women from discrimination in places of public accommodations when they breast-feed their children, and the HCRC supports their right to do so.

Bill Hoshijo, Executive Director

John Ishihara, Chief Counsel Hawaii Civil Rights Commission

Community health

Don Chapman’s column on community health centers (Aug. 2) provides a valuable glimpse at what Federally Qualified Community Health Centers are doing to meet the primary health care needs of the uninsured and medically underserved residents of our state. The need for health care services among the community served by Kalihi-Palama Health Centers (KPHC) is accurately portrayed as great and growing, and we will need the assistance of the whole community to meet the health care needs of uninsured and underserved residents.

There was, however, one inaccurate statement that must be corrected. The Queen’s Medical Center in not cutting one of its clinics that served the Native Hawaiian population. Instead, KPHC is partnering with Queen’s to improve access to quality specialty care for our patients. Queen’s is an invaluable partner who provides culturally sensitive specialty care to a large number of our uninsured patients.

Emmanuel Kintu Executive Director Kalihi-Palama Health

Centers Editor’s note: The column in question was based on accurate information that subsequently changed.

The grand wizard

After reading Steve Murray’s column on the NCAA’s sanctions against the state of South Carolina because it continues to honor the Confederate flag on its statehouse grounds, I have to ask: Is Mr Murray just insane or is he really a grand wizard in the Ku Klux Klan?

The ideas that flag reinforces go far beyond “state’s rights.”

I just returned from the Mainland, where I was asked to leave my sister’s residence and barred from seeing my baby niece because I finally spoke up against her South Carolinian boyfriend’s “humor” that centered on racial stereotypes. And I’d do it again because ignorance and xenophobia only grow when left unchallenged,

Yes, NCAA, boycott South Carolina!

Beverly Ho


Incompetence pays

Rick Hamada’s call for Rumsfeld’s resignation makes too much sense for the Bush Administration to consider. As General Shinseki and others have learned, the only cause for a Bush firing is competence. Since Rumsfeld has never displayed competence in any aspect of his duties, he is in line for a presidential citation, not removal from office.

C.W. Griffin


Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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