Lynette Cruz, was born in Hilo, but raised in Honolulu in the small neighborhood of Kapāhulu in Kona, Oʻahu. She graduated from Kaimukī High School and went on to attend Hawaiʻi Pacific University – Hawaiʻi Loa. She completed her BA in Pacific Island Studies in 1987. Soon after, she enrolled in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Anthropology and completed her Master’s in 1990, then her PhD in 2003.
Aunty Lynette taught at various campuses, including Hawaiʻi Pacific University and Kapiʻolani Community College. During her time teaching, she served on a number of boards, social justice organizing efforts, and kept active in her community. She served as the Oʻahu Island educational coordinator in the Sovereignty Education program for Hui Naʻauao for 3 years, as Fund Coordinator in Ahupuaʻa Action Alliance for the Earth Justice organization, as Board Member and Chair for Hawaiʻi People’s Fund, and so many more in between.
Needless to say, Aunty Lynette has always been a beacon of strength and action to all. Her many affiliations and projects speak volumes to the tireless work she does for the betterment of the lāhui. Even after retirement, Aunty Lynette continued to serve many other organizations, such as Mālama Mākua and Hui Aloha ʻĀina o Ka Lei Maile Aliʻi (an organization dedicated to honoring the life and work of Queen Liliʻuokalani through education and cultural programs).
From education, to activism, to organizing, to storytelling, she has and still is an example of resilience, intelligence, and strength.