Guam – Lawmakers discussed changing Tommy Morrison’s Guam History and Chamorro Heritage Day to Chamorro Culture and Civil Rights Day while eliminating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Guam History and Chamorro Heritage Day was observed this year via an executive order from the Governor but Senator Morrison is hoping to have the holiday set in law.
Senator Mike San Nicolas proposed some amendments that would’ve significantly changed Senator Tommy Morrison’s bill to create a Guam History and Chamorro Heritage Day. He proposed making it a paid holiday which would cost GovGuam $500 thousand dollars. To offset this cost Senator San Nicolas offered an amendment to eliminate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and rename Guam History and Chamorro Heritage Day to Chamorro Culture and Civil Rights Day. “
And there was a time in our own history when we stood for our civil rights as a people and this time actually came before Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Senator San Nicolas adding, “And it began Madame Speaker on March 5th of 1949 with the walkout of the Guam Congress.”
The walkout of the Guam Congress lead to the organic act, U.S. citizenship, and a civil government for the island of Guam. “It is reflective not only as an amazing point in our history as a people but in the very civil rights movement that Dr. Martin Luther King embodies that was a movement that our own leaders took,” said Senator San Nicolas.
Senator Aline Yamashita was opposed to this amendment “Madame Speaker I object and I object because as the previous speaker eloquently stated it was Dr. King’s voice that led way to hearing the voices of others. It was his courage and his movement that strengthened America to what it is and it’s what encouraged your dad and others to move forward for us. I do not think we should take away this time of honor for Dr. King,” said Senator Yamashita.
The bill’s author Senator Tommy Morrison was also opposed to the bill. “I also, Madame Speaker object to changing the name to Chamorro culture and civil rights day madame speaker during the public hearing madame speaker it’s very real that the testimony that was provided by us by our people were clear that they support Guam History and Chamorro Heritage day and the reason why madame speaker this name madame speaker was vetted through feedback from our community,” said Senator Morrison.
Ultimately Senator San Nicolas’ amendments failed and the bill was moved to the voting file. Lawmakers recessed early this afternoon. Session will resume tomorrow at 9a.m.