BLAKE OSHIRO Blake Oshiro is Executive Vice President – Public Policy at Capitol Consultants of Hawaii where he focuses on state and local government relations, business development opportunities, and political and campaign advising. From 2011 – 2014 he was Deputy Chief of Staff for Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, during which time he was instrumental in helping pass Hawaii’s civil unions and marriage equality laws. Blake was a member of the Hawaii State House of Representatives from 2000-2011 and an attorney with Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing from 2005-2011. Click here to read a recent profile of Blake, “Passionate Civil Rights Advocate: Blake Oshiro” in USC Dornsife.
PUAKEA NOGELMEIER Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier is a Professor of Hawaiian language at U.H. Manoa, where he has taught for over 30 years. He is also the founder and director of UH’s Institute of Hawaiian Language Research and Translation. His degrees in Hawaiian language, Pacific Islands Studies and Anthropology were all completed at UH, while beyond the university he trained in Hawaiian language, traditional dance, chant and literature. Dr. Nogelmeier mentors and trains translators and works extensively with the many Hawaiian-language archives, rearticulating historical Hawaiian knowledge into fields of study today through research, translations, new presentations and reprintings of archival materials for publication and dissemination.
WILLIAM CHAR Born and raised in Honolulu, William Char is highly respected in the Hawaiian community as an expert lei maker, cultural resource and educator. His work has garnered numerous awards and has been exhibited internationally at festivals including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC and the South Pacific Arts Festival, Western Australia, among many others. William has taught workshops and classes at dozens of educational, cultural and botanical centers including Kamehameha Schools, Punahou, the Bishop Museum, University of Hawaii at Manoa and Lyons Arboretum. He has been the subject of books, articles and television programs exploring Hawaiian cultural practices, and has judged prestigious competitions including the World Hula Competition, Imperial Hula Competition, and E Hula Mau. William is also a long time activist on behalf Hawaii’s LGBTQ+ community, supporting scholarships, fundraisers, service agencies and social events.
KALEO TEVAITEA RAMOS Kaleo Ramos is an educator and transgender activist who has been on the forefront of Hawaii’s movement toward transgender equality. In the last two years alone he has advocated for key legislation allowing transgender people to more easily change their gender markers on official documentation, and prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against transgender individuals. Kaleo has also been on the boards of several LGBTQ groups including the Hawaii LGBT Legacy Foundation and the Imperial Court of Hawaii, a service and social organization, where he was named Emperor in 2009. A father, teacher and activist, Kaleo seeks to educate and empower everyone he encounters to achieve dignity and equality.