Meet the Commissioners

Linda Hamilton Krieger

Chairperson (term 2011-2015)

Photo of Chairperson Professor KriegerLinda Hamilton Krieger grew up in Hawai‘i and returned home in 2007 to join the faculty at the William S. Richardson School of Law as a Professor of Law and Director of the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program. Professor Krieger received a BA degree from Stanford University and is a graduate of New York University Law School. Prior to teaching, Professor Krieger worked for 13 years as a civil rights lawyer. From 1980-1986 she was a Staff Attorney and Director of Clinical Programs at the Employment Law Center of the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco, and from 1985-1991 she was a Senior Staff Attorney for the EEOC, San Francisco Regional Office. During that period, she litigated a number of significant state and federal sex and race discrimination cases in the areas of pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. She also played a significant role in drafting state and federal legislation in these subject matter areas. Professor Krieger has also published numerous articles on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, disability discrimination, affirmative action, international comparative equality law and policy, and theories of law and social change.

Liann Ebesugawa

Commissioner, (term 2017-2020)


Ms. Ebesugawa is Assistant General Counsel for Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. Previously she served as an Associate General Counsel for Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. where she provided legal support to personnel and management and advice in obtaining regulatory approvals for various projects. She also served as Executive Director of the Hawaii State Board of Education, where she provided legal and administrative services for matters before or involving the Board of Education.


Ms. Ebesugawa is currently the Second Vice President of the Honolulu Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League’s Board of Directors. During her tenure as the JACL’s past Board President, she addressed issues related to marriage equality, homelessness, Native Hawaiian self-determination, and other civil rights issues that face the community. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and has coauthored several academic publications and presentations regarding privacy in the workplace, Japanese American redress, and racial discrimination.


Joan Lewis

Commissioner, (term 2017-2020)


Joan Lewis is a 27 year Hawai’i public school teaching veteran and a long time education advocate.  Ms. Lewis has been a part of the teaching staffs of Nānākuli High and Intermediate School and Kapolei High School where her work with Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island students shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Ms. Lewis is one of the founders of the Hō’ola Leadership Academy, a 9-12th grade academy within Kapolei High School that provides a safe learning space for students who face obstacles that can undermine their success.  Graduation rates for students in this program have been in the upper 90 percentile.


Ms. Lewis has also served as a school, district and state leader for the Hawai’i State Teachers Association.  Her work as part of the HSTA includes providing culturally sensitive training and support for teachers in the Leeward District of the DOE, the development and delivery of courses to support students of diverse economic backgrounds, and the expansion of the teacher voice in support of Hawai’i’s students.


Ms. Lewis’ other experiences include service as a foster parent for Hale Kipa Inc.; an educational staff member for Palama Settlement’s In-Community Treatment Program;  a house parent for Child and Family Services Ila Humphrey home for girls recovering from sexual assault; and as a trustee for the Hawai’i Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund.  These activities have been instrumental in developing Ms. Lewis’ belief that we must work together to provide the Aloha that all citizens, but especially the most vulnerable among us, need to survive and thrive.


Ms. Lewis earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education at Drake University and her Master’s degree from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.


Joakim (Jojo) Peter

Commissioner (term 2017 – 2021)


Joakim “Jojo” Peter is a doctoral student in the Special Education program at the College of Education, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) and community advocate for COFA Community Advocacy Network (COFACAN), Micronesian Health Advisory Coalition (MHAC), and We Are Oceania (WAO). He is from Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia and attended Xavier High School. He has two Master degrees UHM, in Pacific Islands Studies and History. He served as director and faculty member at the College of Micronesia-FSM Chuuk Campus for 15 years before returning to UHM to pursue his doctorate, which focuses on immigrant families of children with special needs in Hawaiʻi.


In 2011, Jojo and fellow community advocates founded COFA CAN, a community advocacy network that provides awareness and support for crucial legislative and legal initiatives that affect the lives of the Freely Associated States citizens living in Hawaiʻi and the United States. Jojo has lectured at UHM and Kapiʻolani Community College. In 2012 and 2014, Jojo worked with the Department of Ethnic Studies and the Center for Pacific Islands Studies to organize two symposia – “Micronesian Connections” and “Oceanic Connections” – that sought to bring together community members, educators, and students to develop strategies for empowerment and sharing among Oceanic peoples. Recently, the Micronesian groups have been conducting outreach to collect stories of healthcare issues and challenges among the COFA populations in Hawaiʻi,