Maui Initiative signature collectors stood in front of stores, worked community events, and canvassed their neighbors on a quest for registered Maui County voters to support the ballot initiative for a temporary moratorium on GMO growing until a study is done showing they are safe.
Organizers counted up the notarized petitions and announced that they had gathered the necessary 8,500 signatures. However when each signature is verified some may be thrown out as invalid, so petitions will continue circulating for another week.
Photo by Deb Mader Creagh showing the Babes Against Biotech banner.
All this hard work culminated in a march and rally where signature-gatherers lined up for 30 minutes or more to get their petitions notarized and turned in.
Click to enlarge this photo by Napua Hueu
Groups such as GMO Free Hawai'i, Babes Against Biotech and the Mom Hui marched along side an estimated 1000 to 2000 Maui residents.
Photo by Faith Ewbank showing a Mom Hui member with
Maui County Councilmember, Elle Cochran and
Kaua'i Councilmember Gary Hooser.
Maui County makes it extremely difficult to get an initiative on the ballot - in fact no initiative has ever collected the requisite 20% of registered voters voting in the last election -- until this one, that is.
Maui and Kaua'i are ground zero for Monsanto, Syngenta et al GMO experimentation which involves almost daily spraying of pesticides on the experimental pesticide-resistant crops. The GMO corporations are primarily chemical companies which explains their mission to genetically modify pesticide-resistant food plants. Reports of increased birth defects and cancer rates have communities in an uproar over being used as guinea pigs.
Maui presents unique challenges as one stands on the street asking for GMO Moratorium signatures. Everyone wants to sign -- that's not the problem.
But many of them are tourists. And many Maui County residents (kamaʻāina) refuse to register to vote either because they feel it won't make a difference or they are Hawaiians (kānaka maoli) who refuse to participate in the U.S. overthrow of the Hawaiian nation.
Petition gatherers had the difficult task of convincing willing signers to register to vote. The mission became both collecting signatures and persuading residents to register to vote.
Photo by J John Jr shows the Hawai'i flag upside down, a common signal of distress
used by the Hawaiian community, which has come out in force against GMOs destroying their land.
If the Initiative successfully passes, Maui can look forward to being sued by the GMO-Chemical companies who have sued Kaua'i and Big Island over their disclosure ordinances.
Earth Justice who has offered to defend against these giant corporations seems to feel the GMO-Chem company lawsuits are without merit. As the Garden Isle Newspaper reports:
Paul Achitoff, managing attorney for Earthjustice, said he is also looking forward to defending Kauai and is “confident justice will prevail.”
“The chemical industry has been using bullying and misinformation all along to try to derail this law,” he said in a statement.