6:00 - 7:15
Distinguished Pacific Islander poets, storytellers and leaders present an evening of poetry, storytelling and song in honor of the renowned Samoan poet, novelist and playwright Albert Wendt. Tongan scholar and poet Dr. Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu, with assistance from poet activists Kevin Aipopo Henderson and Lisiate Vuna, host this celebration of Pacific Islander communities and their unremitting struggles for self-determination. Our Moana Nui; We are Pacific Islander Studies is part of a series of programs advocating for the California Department of Education to reinstate Pacific Islander Studies and Arab American Studies in the Ethnic Studies curriculum.
Opening Ceremony 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.
Dr. Caroline Sinavaiana Gabbard is a 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 and senior advisor to the Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship Program.
Dr. Craig Santos Perez is a Chamoru poet from Guam. He won the American Book Award in 2015 and the Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship in 2016. He is an Associate Professor in the English department at the University of Hawai’i.
Herman Wainggai is a 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.
Kathy Jentil-Kijiner is a 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. Ngahuia te Awekotuku is Maori and a writer, curator and foremother of Maori and Pacific Islander feminisms, as well as a fearless advocate for lesbian rights.
Terisa Siagatonu is a 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 is a 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.
Dr. No’u Revilla is a 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.
Tigilau Ness is a 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.
Commissioner Faauunga Molinga is 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).
Commissioner Manufou Liaiga-Anoa’I is 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 Aipopo Henderson, Samoan youth poet, Climate Justice activist.
Lisiate Vuna, Tongan youth poet, community activist.