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Celebrating Civil Liberties & Constitution Day: Honoring Ernie Lau

Posted on Jan 3, 2024 in Featured News, News & Reports, Press Releases
Image of Ernie Lau

Ernie Lau

This Civil Liberties & the Constitution Day, we honor Ernest “Ernie” Lau, Kiaʻi Wai (water protector) and Manager and Chief Engineer of Honolulu’s Board of Water Supply.

Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Place: Aliʻiōlani Hale, 417 S. King St., Honolulu 96813

For years, Ernie Lau and his colleague Erwin Kawata felt largely ignored when they warned about their concerns relating to the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility at Pearl Harbor. Why didn’t anyone pay attention earlier? Was it inevitable that nothing would be done until toxins were released and people got sick? What lessons have we learned? 

Ernie Lau will share his story as a courageous public servant who refused to stay silent. Ernie will suggest why it is imperative for every person to be mindful that we each have an individual and collective kuleana to stand up to institutional indifference, with courage and civic responsibility. Hawai’i youth, families, workers, and lawmakers of all backgrounds are encouraged to attend, with a goal to bring caring community members together. There is much all of us can learn about how to improve the legal system that requires proactive consideration of potential impacts on stakeholders, fragile precious resources, and essential community values

Register here.

On June 7, 2013, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed Act 94, designated every January 30th as “Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day.” The day is meant to celebrate, honor, and encourage public education and awareness of the commitment of individuals to preserving civil liberties for Americans of Japanese ancestry and actions to promote equal rights for all citizens.

Mahalo to our program partner, the Hawaii State Bar Association Civic Education Committee.

While the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary provides a venue for diverse discussion, the speaker’s remarks do not necessarily represent opinions of the Judiciary.

AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES ACT NOTICE: If you need an accommodation for a disability when participating in a court program, service or activity, please contact the ADA Coordinator at the Judiciary Office on Equality and Access to the Courts at 808-539-4860 as far in advance as possible to allow time to provide an accommodation. You are also welcome to send an email to or complete the Disability Accommodations Request Form. The Disability Accommodations Coordinator will try to provide, but cannot guarantee, the requested auxiliary aid and service, or accommodation.

For more information, contact the Communications and Community Relations Office at 808-539-4909 or via email at

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