Tom Gill Scholar Winner From Hakipu'u Charter School Will Work on Legislative Issues
February 14, 2005
Honolulu - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Hawai’i announced today that Raquel "Honey-girl" Hoe-Pedro, an 11-th grader from the windward charter school Hakipu'u Learning Center, is the first recipient of its Thomas P. Gill Scholar award and will work with the ACLU during the current legislative session.
The Gill Scholar program is aimed at public high school students. The annual award is named for the legendary public servant and former lieutenant governor and congressional representative who has been an ACLU board member since 1982. Gill was among the builders of the Hawai’i Democratic Party in the 1950s and during his congressional tenure crafted Title VI, of the historic civil rights bill, which banned organizations receiving federal funds from discriminating based on race.
"We want to increase awareness about how the legislative process can affect the protection of fundamental freedoms. Youth can experience first-hand how to make a difference," said executive director Vanessa Y. Chong.
Hoe-Pedro will be presented with the award of $500 at a ceremony on February 26. She will work with the ACLU to research, draft and present testimony on a range of issues. The ACLU has been active this session on matters ranging from banning of individuals from public spaces, to DNA testing of arrested persons, to opposing the 60-plus proposals to amend the State Constitution.
At her school, Hoe-Pedro completed an extensive research project on the executive branch of government and is also working on issues affecting foster care, Native Hawaiians and charter schools. She has also been selected to attend a cultural exchange in Alaska with Alaskan Natives. In addition, she plays basketball for Castle High School and performs Tahitian and hip-hop dances for windward community groups.
Diana Dickey, a senior at Aiea High School, was chosen as an alternate and is active in speech and debate competitions, student government and We the People, a curriculum focused on the Constitution.
The Gill Scholar program is funded by non-tax-deductible contributions because of its legislative activities.
The award ceremony is scheduled for February 26 at 10:30 a.m. at the ACLU office.
The mission of the ACLU and its Hawai’i affiliate is to protect the fundamental freedoms contained in the state and federal constitutions through litigation, legislative and public education programs statewide. The ACLU is funded primarily through private donations and provides its service at no cost to the public. The ACLU does not accept any government funds. For more information, contact the ACLU at 522-5900 or at email@example.com.
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