Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and Portland State University (PSU) School of Public Health

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Building the Boat While On It: Navigating Our Lives as a Practice of Liberation

January 19 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Building the Boat While On It: Navigating Our Lives as a Practice of Liberation

  • Wed, Jan 19, 5-7pm, Register: https://bit.ly/terisa2022
  • EVENT DESCRIPTION: Ancestors of those from the Pacific are often referred to as the pioneers of navigation: our ancestors read the stars, wind, and sea to guide them on their journeys. As first-generation students of color today, the journey through higher education with the pressures of family, expectations, and future goals isn’t easy, but the tools to navigate through it are inherent in all of us. Led by award-winning Samoan poet, educator, and organizer Terisa Siagatonu, this generative skill-building event will use the transformative power of storytelling and poetry to journey through the obstacles and possibilities that Pacific Islander students face both inside of the classroom and outside of it.
  • SPEAKER BIO: Terisa Siagatonu is an award-winning touring poet, speaker, educator, and community organizer born and rooted in the Bay Area. Her voice in the poetry world as a queer Sāmoan woman has granted her opportunities to perform in places such as the White House (Obama administration), the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, the Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane, Australia, and the 2019 SF Women’s March. A President Obama’s Champion of Change Award recipient for her activism as a poet/organizer in her Pacific Islander community and with numerous viral poetry videos garnering over millions of views collectively, Terisa’s writing/teaching blends the personal, cultural, and political in a way that calls for healing, courage, justice, and truth. A 2019 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100 List Honoree, Terisa’s work has been published in Poetry Magazine and has been featured on Button Poetry, CNN, NBCNews, NPR, KQED, Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, The Guardian, and


This event is part of the speaker series for the ARSPH funded grant to establish a Pacific Islander and Asian American Studies Program at PSU.

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January 19
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Portland, OR United States