Fundraiser: Please donate online to support a dynamic and loving Polynesian church - Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga of San Francisco. Their program has contributed to the community for 31 years through youth mentorship, community outreach, and even feeding the homeless. Giving money to this church is an investment because they are a living, breathing community resource. Any donation amount will be appreciated.
Just an idea: if 1,000 people - islanders and allies - each contributed $30, then the church would meet its goal.
#San Francisco #Community Support #Polynesians #Tongans #Polynesian Church #People Power
I grew up in San Francisco :) Surrounded by friends of multiple cultures, exotic food, and eclectic entertainment. San Francisco will also have a special place in my heart for empowering me to think openly and bravely.
In addition, I grew up knowing that my people are Polynesian because my father is Samoan and my mom is Tongan. As a result, I feel tethered to the South Pacific in a spiritual sense which means that I'm never lost because my identity works as a compass. Because I know who I am, and where I come from, I have the confidence to travel very far.
To no surprise, when I began painting - and I'm self-taught - a Polynesian flavor popped up despite my American upbringing.
For instance, in my "Water Window" painting, I tried to snapshot a village in the distance from a surfer's point of view. Check it out:
In another painting, I tackled the subject of Akaka Waterfalls which I enjoyed visiting when I lived on the Big Island. After growing up in San Francisco, I knew that I had to live in the Pacific in order to blossom. The journey was so worth it! Hawai'i challenged me in ways I didn't expect and didn't know I was capable of meeting head on. Here is the "Waterfall" painting:
Last but not least, below is my painting that marries my identity as a Polynesian and as an American. I call it, "San Francisco Jungle" because the title and subject captures my eclectic upbringing. Although it's a concrete jungle, the locals - like my family - keep the city exotic and fresh.
"Maka and the Impossible" is a Polynesian children's story which I wrote based on my own experience as a Polynesian American.
The message is universal in that it's a parable of Ambition. Maka is a little rock, and he decides to travel up a hill. The problem is that rocks are not mobile - no legs nor arms.
Starting with that problem, I chronicle his impossible journey up a hill.
Similarly, I know what it's like to decide to travel up the career ladder in California. After spending many years working and going to school, I've made progress in a field that I don't see too many of my peers: Law. That's right, I'm in law school :-) I know for sure that I'm standing on the shoulders of giants - my family - who empowered me to move forward. So I am grateful.
Like Maka, my journey towards becoming an attorney was not easy. Many would say that my dream was Impossible because I did not have the financial resources to pay for law school nor the mentors from whom to model myself.
Yet, all it took was Initiative. By continuing to believe in myself and putting in the work towards higher education, I gravitated towards the right people who answered my questions. Although I didn't have Samoan or Tongan attorneys from whom to follow, I reached out of our community and asked Latino attorney mentors for assistance - who were happy to answer my questions, and direct me towards scholarships.
My children's story character - Maka - has traveled much further than I. But I look forward to catching up with his greatness in my near future.
To read my Polynesian children's story, "Maka and the Impossible", you can purchase a hard copy on Amazon.com.
For the ebook version, go to Lulu.com.
Wish me luck! The journey continues.