The CSULB Pacific Islanders Association’s 3rd Annual Pasifika Voice sponsored by Pac Biz and One Global Family Foundation marked an evening filled with scholarships, poetry, art, music, activism, inspiration, and above all, love! Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote: “The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate…Love is the key to the solution of the problems of the world,” the event was appropriately titled “Rise Against The Tide” and dealt with a variety of topics ranging from education, politics, social issues, relationships, and cultural identity, but most importantly served as a call to action for Pacific Islanders to stand together and rise above the many challenges of today’s changing world and realize their full potential.
The evening featured an all-star spoken word and poetry line-up of artists including Sila Tu’itupou, Will Giles, Devotion, Seine Enesi, Brian Lima, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Ben Falealili, Andrew Vai, and Terisa Siagatonu. Each used their own experiences, passions, and style to paint beautiful and graphic images with carefully scripted masterpieces.
To accompany the poetic artists, Pasifika Voice also featured an array of musical talent including DayVid Thomas, Erica Nalani, Vayden, and Zhen. Even though the musicians had their own unique sound and feel, all of them had the entire audience captivated and inspired.
In an attempt to stimulate all the senses, Pasifika Voice also featured the art of J.P. Pacific Originals, Hagoth Aiono, Lilo Tauvao, Trisha Pereria, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Chuck Feesago, Ralph Misa, Tino Fauatea, Jeremiah Montanona, Genesis Leuta, Joshua Huaembukie, and Arnie Saiki.
Three scholarships were given to winners of an essay writing contest and each recipient had the opportunity to read their essay. The first recipient, from Orange County, wrote about learning to take pride in her Chamorro heritage. The second, from Carson, described how the Pacific connects all peoples of Oceania to each other and to their ancestors. Finally, the third, from San Bernardino, the only college student recipient, talked about the importance of Pacific Islanders receiving higher education in order to make their voice heard. Leadership awards were given to Noeleen Meni and Genesis Leuta for their role in planning the event. And lastly, a special award of $1,000 was given to Arnie Saiki for his participation in organizing the Moana Nui conference, uniting peoples of the Pacific to take a stand against the rising tides of injustice.
Laura Ava-Tesimale of One Global Family Foundation says she feels inspired and hopeful about the rising generation of Pacific Islanders. She says, “They are the Tautua o le lumana’i which is the future leaders. These are the ones that are going to affect the change that we need here and back home in our homelands- The Pacific Islands of Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Our kids are feeling empowered and allowing their voices to be heard in so many different ways of expressing their art.”
Ralph Misa of Pac Biz shared, “I think with the kids, they’re already in place, so it’s not a question of what they are going to do; they’re already doing it!”
The 3rd Annual Pasifika Voice brought heavy hitters in the Pacific Island artist community together for a night of inspiration, love, and education that is sure to have a lasting impact on all who were in attendance. And that’s WhatItDo!
-Article Written by: G_Writer
*photos courtesy of Ralph Misa
*YouTube video courtesy of MistahRalphLauren