January of 2022 will mark the 33rd anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday in Hawaii and the Celebration has grown dramatically through the years. The holiday was officially proclaimed by the state legislature to be “the 3rd Monday of January”. Governor John Waihee proclaimed the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day on January 16, 1989.

     During the heady days of the 1980s when the state had a large surplus of money, the state created the Martin Luther King Commission. This interim group functioned from July 1, 1989 to June 30 1990 when an official commission was formed. The State of Hawaii Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, with commissioners from many different ethnic groups, won National awards for its scope and depth of the holiday celebrations. In 1995 as the commission was sunset, the remaining money was transferred to the Hawaii State Civil Rights Commission.

     A week-long celebration took place with participation from the public and private sectors — diverse ethnic and cultural groups dedicated to keeping Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream alive. The success of the first commemoration was the result of much planning and hard work by the MLK, Jr. Holiday Committee, then chaired by Dr. Donnis Thompson.

     The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition of Hawaii was incorporated in 1995 by a group of dedicated African-American residents of Honolulu. The coalition is a non-profit organization which performs many community service events that carry on Dr. King’s principles of peace for all mankind.

   In 1998, Mayor Jeremy Harris and The City & County of Honolulu became the Co-Sponsor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. Since then, the Coalition has coordinated the holiday and other community events and has grown larger every year.

     The Coalition is organized to:

  • promote the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday as a day of national and community service and one to reflect upon the principles of interracial cooperation and equality, social change through the nonviolent resolution of conflict, dedication to global peace, social justice, economic security, and the eradication of poverty as espoused by Dr. King;

  • encourage and facilitate meetings, rallies, classes, films, and any other meaningful activities during, but not limited to, the week preceding the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday;

  • involve business, government, labor, religious, ethnic, educational, community service groups, and all segments of the civilian and military population in the planning and execution of activities; and

  • to promote all three elements of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, remember, celebrate and act, as an integral part of every observance program and activity.

President – Patricia Anthony Rushing

Vice President – Magdalene Thomas

Secretary – Patricia Anthony Rushing

Treasurer – Magdalene Thomas



Chair – Patricia Anthony Rushing
Organizing Committee Chair – Patricia Anthony Rushing


Entertainment Chair – Patricia Anthony Rushing
Vendor Coordinator – Patricia Anthony Rushing