November first this month was the first event for USC’s cleverly acronymed “PULE” Pacific Islander student group. I know that pule in the Hawaiian language means to pray. I think also Sāmoans and Tongans use the same or a similar word. Anyhow the group name stands for Promoting Unity, Liberation, and Education. The groups mission is to focus on Pacific Islander community-building and cross-cultural engagement.
The event was a panel discussion with Pacific Islander leaders from various fields. Including architect Faleomavaego Falanai Ala, a medical researcher Dr. Ray Samoa, mentor and educator David Ga’oupu Palaita. Also to my surprise there was another hapa kanaka woman filmmaker there as well named Jennifer Akana Sturla. I have just watched her film Kamea on Vimeo http://vimeo.com/13382244 and it is amazing.
David Palaita is doing awesome work in the Bay Area starting the first ever Pacific Islander studies program. Which is a totally historic and ground breaking accomplishment. Right now it is just starting up, but you can track the progress at their blog: http://www.ccsfpacificstudies.org/
It was a really cool night and I was glad that I went.