Our Islands, Our Future

Black History Month honors the achievements, triumphs, and contributions of African- Americans to U.S. history and culture. As we recognize and reflect on influential voices, past and present, and also enter Women in History month in March, Maui Economic Development Board celebrates Maui resident Judge Bevanne J. Bowers. Appointed Per Diem Judge in the District and Family Courts of Hawaii’s Second Judicial District on December 20, 2021, Bowers became the first African-American female appointed judge in Maui County. She is also a member of the Maui County Bar Association, the African American Law Association of Hawaii, Maui County Nonprofit Association, and much more.

Additionally, Bowers was appointed Executive Director of Maui Mediation Services in May 2015. Formed in 1982, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization provides alternative dispute resolution, facilitation, and training to residents of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. The nonprofit was selected as Maui United Way’s Partner Agency of the Year for 2019-20. Upon moving to Maui from Tennessee in 2011 to start her own law practice, Bowers took the basic mediation training and became a volunteer to help serve the community. “It’s the best decision I ever made,” she explained. “Mediation is a voluntary process that offers an effective and inexpensive way to resolve a dispute quickly and provides an alternative to court proceedings.”

Bower’s dedication to helping others was honored in 2020 with a distinguished O’o Award as Maui County’s Outstanding Nonprofit Executive Director. “Our mediators are all professionally trained volunteers who have undergone extensive training, “she said. “We provide creative ways of resolving all types of disputes, from family matters and landlord/tenant conflicts to consumer/merchant and employment issues. We help people find their own best solutions, and also teach conflict resolution skills in our Youth Program for ages 8-18.”

Bowers added, “Everyone should take this training! Even if you don’t want to become a mediator, these important skills can be used in any context, anytime, in all types of situations. It’s an opportunity to make a difference. My judgeship is a privilege I don’t take lightly. My joy has always come from helping others. There’s no greater gift you can give than to be of service.” 

Never give up! You can accomplish what you set out to do if only you believe in yourself. Judge Bevanne Bowers, Per Diem Judge, District and Family Courts of Hawaii’s Second Judicial District