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2024: Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The National Women’s History Alliance established this theme to recognize women who understand that bias and discrimination must be eliminated for a positive future.

All events are free and open to the public, and will be held in Akoakoa 101.

Sabrina S. McKenna: Associate Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court

Thursday March 7, 10:00am – 11:15am

Associate Justice Sabrina Shizue McKenna has served on the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court since March 2011. She is the first openly LGBTQ+ Asian American justice to serve on a state court of last resort.

Sabrina grew up in Japan before graduating from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and its William S. Richardson School of Law (“WSRSL”), where she served as law review editor-in-chief. She was a civil litigator, general counsel to a Japan-based group of companies, and a WSRSL faculty member before serving as a Hawaiʻi state trial court judge from 1993 to 2011, presiding over civil, criminal, and family matters.

She has been involved in various Hawaiʻi initiatives as well as domestic and international lectures on women’s and civil rights issues. She serves on the board of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges and co-chairs the American Judicature Society’s Judicial Diversity Committee. Her awards include the ABA’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement (2023) and Stonewall (2021) awards and NAPABA’s Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award (2015).

Vera Zambonelli, PhD, Founder and Executive Director, Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking

Tuesday March 12, 10:00am – 11:15am

During this event filmmaker Vera Zambonelli will show some of the stories highlighted in the Reel Wahine of Hawaii film series. There will be time for Q&A with the audience after/during the viewing.

Dr. Vera Zambonelli is an Emmy™ award winning filmmaker, educator, and researcher based in Hawaiʻi. She founded Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking in 2011 to promote gender equity in the film industry, and launched initiatives like the Wāhine in Film Lab and Making Media That Matters.

Through these initiatives, Vera has provided support for thousands of women and genderqueer individuals in Hawaiʻi with funding in part from the National Endowment for the Arts, Gerbode Foundation, Advancing Girls Fund at Tides Foundation, and Hawai‘i People’s Fund.

Vera produces and co-directs Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi series, and teaches at the University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu Academy for Creative Media. She is part of the Indie Media Arts Group Advisory Committee, a member of the Creative Resurgence Collective, and has recently spearheaded the Hawaiʻi Film and Media Arts Coalition.

Panel discussion with audience Q&A on gender and media, especially the connections with Hawaii and the Pacific.

Thursday March 14, 10:00am – 11:15am

The panel will include: 

Vera Zambonelli
Founder and Executive Director, Hawaii Women in Filmmaking

Noe Tupou
A Native Hawaiian Educator empowering Student Native Voices through Education

Jenn Boneza
Graduate of WCC, and local journalist for over 20 years, the last 7 of them with KHON2.

The events are Women’s History Month events are sponsored by Sociology Professor Kathleen French. Please contact her at for more information.