An evening of Pacific Islander Poetry in honour of Samoan poet Albert Wendt
The faculty and students from UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, invites you and your family to an evening of Pacific Islander poetry, storytelling and song to honour the important work of the renowned Samoan poet, novelist, and playwright, Albert Wendt.
The program, "Our Moana Nui; We are Pacific Islander Studies" is sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library and organized by Bay Area Pacific Islander leaders and activists who were supported by Kim Shuck, the San Francisco Poet laureate (the first Native American poet to receive this honour).
This program, Our Moana Nui: We are Pacific Islander Studies is part of a series of programs advocating for Pacific Islander communities through petitioning the California Department of Education to reinstate Pacific Islander Studies and Arab American Studies in the Ethnic Studies curriculum so that Pacific Islander histories and important contributions are represented in the curriculum that is taught in the US public schools. These systemic changes can create hope and empower the minds and spirits of Pasifika youth.
These series of programs are also in response to the growing hopelessness and depression that many Pacific Islander and Indigenous youth have expressed during this time of crisis in the world.
Coordinator of the event, Tongan scholar, poet and community organiser Dr. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu says of the program "it is our humble offering to express our love and support for our young Pacific Islander and Indigenous scholars and youths. We hope that it can help bring hope and faith to your hearts and to your homes during these difficult times. This has always been the role of poetry. Lastly, we thank our friends at the San Francisco Public Library for sponsoring this program and we express our deepest gratitude to our Indigenous relative and renowned San Francisco Poet Laureate, Kim Shuck for her love and support for our Pacific Islander communities"
Dr Niumeitolu will be hosting alongside poet activist Lisiate Vuna and are excited that The Honorable Professor Albert Wendt will also be taking part in the program.
The event will take place on Thursday the 17th December (US time) / Friday 18th December (NZ time) at 6 - 8 PM PST (USA) / 12 - 2pm NZ time.
Please Register to join the Zoom here: https://bit.ly/3klODjT or watch the Youtube Live above.
Event program below -
Offerings are presented by young scholars and faculty representing the Pacific Islander Initiative at the University of California in Berkeley, Critical Pacific Islands/Oceania Studies at San Francisco State University, and City College of San Francisco.
Land Acknowledgement by Corrina Gould, Lisjan Ohlone Tribal Spokesperson, co-founder of Sogorea Te Land Trust, renowned speaker, leader and protector of Indigenous Sacred sites.
Closing Ceremony Offerings are presented by Hui ‘O Mauna Kea, Ohlone Territory.
Poets, Storytellers and leaders ...
Tribal Chair and traditional Spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone, the original peoples and stewards of the land that is now known as the East Bay, California.
Dr. Caroline Sinavaiana Gabbard
Samoan poet and scholar and one of the foremothers of Pacific Islander literature and Pacific Islander studies. She is a retired professor of English at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa and currently serves as Regional Liaison for the Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Program and as a Member of the Society of Senior Ford Fellows
Writer and performer of Marshall Islander ancestry.
She co-founded Jo-Jikum,a non-profit dedicated to Marshallese youth and environmentalism, and currently serves as Climate Envoy for the Marshall Islands Ministry of Environment.
Dr. Craig Santos Perez
Chamoru poet from Mongmong, Guåhan. He is the author of five books of poetry and the co-editor of five anthologies. He is a Professor in the English department and an affiliate faculty in the Center of Pacific Islands Studies and the Indigenous Politics Program, at the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa.
West Papuan Human Rights leader who represents indigenous West Papuans at the United Nations under his organization, West Papuan National Authority. He is a former political prisoner banned from his beloved homeland and is currently living in the United States.
Dr. Ngahuia te Awekotuku
Maori and a writer, curator, and foremother of Maori and Pacific Islander feminisms, as well as a fearless advocate for lesbian rights.
Samoan queer poet and mental health advocate. She has performed her poetry in the White House and at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris. She is a Kundiman Fellow in 2019 and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100 List Honoree.
Dr. Lee Kava
Tongan scholar and founder of the Pacific Verse project, a community-based workshop series based in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga. She is currently Assistant Professor in
Critical Pacific Islander Studies at San Francisco State University.
Niuean, New Zealand elder, a musician and an original member of the revolutionary movement, The Polynesian Panthers. In 2009 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Pacific Music Awards in New Zealand.
Dr. No’u Revilla
Hawaiian and Tahitian scholar and poet. She is assistant professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hawai’I and is a founding member of Nolu ‘Ehu: A queer Nesian Creative Collective.
Commissioner Fa'au'uga Moliga
Samoan and a member of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. A passionate advocate for Pacific Islanders and other marginalized students in the Bay Area, he founded the successful high school seniors support program Take Out Until Completely Healed (TOUCH).
Tongan Poet, Painter and Educator. She was born in Nuku’alofa, Tonga; raised in Hawai'i and Utah and is based in New York City + Utah. She is a co-creator of Mahina Movement, a music and poetry group. She has completed 24 community murals in Australia, Kenya, Jordan, New Zealand, Palestine, South Africa and in the United States: California, New York (Brooklyn and the Bronx), Utah and the Smithsonian Arts and Industries building in Washington D.C.
Commissioner Manufou Liaiga-Anoa’i
Samoan and serves on San Mateo County’s Commission on the Status of Women. A dedicated social justice advocate, she founded Pacific Islander Community Partnership as well as Camp Unity, a free Pacific Islander Summer Enrichment program for low-income families.
Dr. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu, Tongan scholar, poet and community organizer.
Kevin Henderson, Samoan youth poet, Climate Justice activist.
Lisiate Vuna, Tongan youth poet, community activist.
Samara Julia Jackson Tobey, Mashpee Wampanoag, youth leader, scholar
Miriam Hurula, Samoan youth poet, scholar
Carolyn Aflague Arroyo, Chamorro community leader, scholar
Alaina Aflague Arroyo, Chamorro youth leader, scholar,
Kerri Ann Borja, Chamorro community leader, educator
Cover artwork by Jean Melesaine