Young Americans for Liberty in Hawai’i and Students for Liberty worked together this semester to spread awareness about the US government’s intrusive surveillance of the people, and to educate students on how to protect their civil liberties.
We held activism events on four college campuses in Hawai’i, Honolulu Community College, the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Leeward Community College, and the University of Hawai’i at West O’ahu, and each event shared the same central theme, whistle-blowing.
Now, the word ‘whistle-blower’ may conjure up different thoughts for different people, but the the purpose of the word is to describe someone who is looking out for the interests of the public, and the difference between a whistle-blower, and a snitch, informant, or traitor, essentially depends on which side of the whistle you stand.
The first whistle-blowers were policemen, walking the streets of England with their shiny whistles hanging from their side pockets, twirling their billy clubs as they strolled down cobble stone sidewalks protecting the public from criminal elements. They used their whistles to call for backup and alert the public of nearby danger, and eventually the sound of the whistle, and even the whistle itself, became synonymous with something on the side of public interest, and therefore deserves public attention.
The greatest thing about the whistle is that it was specifically engineered not work for criminals, or anyone going against the interests of the public. This was proven in 1789 in Manchester England when a thief accosted a policeman while robbing a liquor store. The thief put on the policeman’s hat and took his whistle, mocking the wounded policeman as he pointed at him and blew on the whistle as some stupid attempt to impersonate a role reversal. To the thief’s surprise he was stopped by three nearby citizens and one off duty policeman who heard the whistle and came into the liquor store to investigate.
Today we have much more advanced whistles, whistles that can be heard from space, whistles that sound alarms across countries and continents, better whistles to expose bigger and worse misconduct, and best of all, nearly half of the world has access to these whistles. I am talking about the internet, digital information, and a global network of people concerned with protecting public interest. The whistle blowers of today may not use actual whistles, but we thought shiny metal whistles would work as a good symbol to advocate whistle blowing and spread awareness about the US Government’s unconstitutional spying of the American people.
During our four activism events we gave out almost 300 shiny metal whistles on necklaces, and told students to use the whistle if they ever find the government not following the Constitution. The response on each campus was great, students from all kinds of political ideologies related to the message and agreed with our cause.
For each activism event we hosted a table with a variety of information materials, and we utilized the “Tech Freedom” activism materials we received from Students for Liberty.
The first activism event was at the Honolulu Community College and we spent hours on campus talking to students and giving out whistles. We told the students to blow their whistles if they saw an NSA spy on campus, and during that same time I was roaming around campus trying my best to look like an NSA spy. If a student found me spying on people and blew their whistle at me, I would give them some Halloween candy.
The campus security didn’t really appreciate all the whistle blowing, and eventually told us to cut it out with the whistles, but by the time they shut us down it was the end of the school day and we had already given out tons of whistles.
The second activism event was at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where we hosted a table for almost eight hours. The table started at 9am at the Campus Center of the University, and around 4 p.m. that day we went to the Homecoming Fair and continued tabling until around 7 p.m.
We gave out over 200 hundred whistles, talked to hundreds of students about civil liberties, and recruited students that were excited about what we were doing. We also put up a free speech wall that day and prompted students to respond to the question “When is it okay for the NSA to listen to your phone conversations?” the most popular response was “never!”
At the Leeward Community College we did basically the same event as Honolulu Community College, but instead of having students search for the NSA agent, we ran a fake NSA recruitment table right next to our Young Americans for Liberty table. If students wanted a whistle they had to go up to the NSA recruitment table and blow the whistle at them. After the tabling event we held a meeting in a grassy area on campus where we put up a Bill of Rights graveyard to commemorate our lost rights. The next day we did the same thing at the University of Hawai’i at West O’ahu, and to cap off the week of activism we had a Liberty Potluck in Waikiki that following Saturday.
Overall the activism events went great, we reached hundreds of students, recruited many new members to our clubs, and strengthened our presence on each campus. To make sure we can continue to reach students regarding this issue we put together a video which you can find below:Published in