Jessica Lau

Born in Wailuku, Maui, Hawai‘i, Jessica paddled outrigger canoes for 13 years. An avid fisherwoman, you can find this Mother, sister, and daughter of Hawaiian descent in the water when she is not working or supporting others in distress.

After graduating from Maui High School, she moved to California “to get a better education for my kid and escape domestic violence situation.” She received a two-year accreditation for ITT in computer science and Fashion and Sales at the Regional Occupational Program.

Jessica has dealt with the judicial system on multiple levels. Incarcerated in California, this experience taught her; “I wanted something different. The judicial system can sometimes help a person. I decided I wanted to get into Hawaiian homelands and live in my culture.” While incarcerated, she read the Bible and the Penal Code book front and back. I was able to file my own divorce papers. 

Returning to Maui in 1992, straight from the penitentiary she lived in Kula on family property. Housing insecure, she ended up in a tent and eventually living in her car. 

Working multiple jobs and loving her work as a tour operator, she teamed up with the nonprofit Share Your Mana and became an Advisory Committee member. She was deemed “a resource” by the Maui Council Affordable Housing Chair to give expert testimony on changing County codes to support a safe parking program.

Thanks to the leadership of the ACLU HI legal team, she was one of two plaintiffs to challenge the Maui County Administration on Sweeping Encampments and violating residents’ Civil Rights. In March 2024, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court rendered a favorable verdict acknowledging the County did violate our right to own property, to have a contested case hearing, and to have accurate communication offered on the process.