Samoan leaders at work.


The Pacific Islanders as a community have shouldered an immense responsibility by defending the interests of the United States all over the world. This secret is very well known to those of us well versed with matters linked to the Department of Defense.

Here is San Francisco we have thousands of Samoans, Tongans, and other Pacific Islanders that avail themselves with great difficulty the services that this City and County should offer the Pacific Islanders graciously. As a people especially the Samoans are not quick to ask favors but the little they have they give generously.

Practically every school within the San Francisco Unified School District has benefited immensely from the talents of the Samoan students. I know this because over the years I have visited many schools in San Francisco and have heard very good reports about Samoan students. The same holds true for other Pacific Islander students.

About a year ago I attended a workshop conducted by a well know Asian non-profit and at this workshop I was shocked to read and listen to certain facts. Thousands of dollars that could be used specifically for the Samoan youth were not tapped.

The root cause for a lot of the confusion was the way statistics are gathered by the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Unified School District. It should be mandatory for students to be helped to state what Nationality they are and the language they speak. It is not fair to equate a Samoan with a Cambodian. Nor would it be right to equate a Samoan with the Japanese or Chinese.

When this fact is pointed out those that see the difference understand it but the confusion has been fostered by certain high agencies without discerning and giving great concern to those that work with Samoan youth and other Pacific Islanders. It is wrong to deprive rights that those deserve because of faulty statistics and a hidden agenda. Many Samoan youth can receive many benefits such as scholarships, tutorials, and other help with their studies and welfare. At some point there seems to be a disparity that creates a void and affects the psyche of the Samoan youth.

This may stem from many youth being subservient to their Elders and not taking the role of leaders or seeking opportunities which the Samoan youth mistake as begging for help. I notice this when I work with the Samoan youth - they are quick to help but slow to ask for help. Sometimes I have to step in and state the obvious. If I can help so many why should they feel so bad to ask for help especially since I am so close to them? The youth get it but not totally.

Statistics play an important role when fiscal matters come into play. Recently we were reading some statistics and it really made me feel so bad - for sure there are more then 10 Samoan students at Balboa High School. And for sure there are more then 3 Samoan students at Thurgood Marshall High School but those are the stupid statistics that are floating around. This nonsense must stop.

The San Francisco Unified School District should make an effort to capture the correct and true statistics in the various fields on the many forms from which data is collected. Today the way it is collect is primitive and those in charge better pay heed.

There are lots of other students that avail themselves of extra help but this is NOT afforded to the Samoan students. Cultural dances and other cultural beneficial programs attended by the students should merit the youth credits. This could be easily done at Balboa High School and Thurgood Marshall High School but is not.

Other incentives and programs should be created to encourage family values that are lacking in most small non Pacific Islander American families where it is encouraged for those that are of age to leave the home and live independently. Not so with the Pacific Islanders community. This DNA engrained linked to family and the extended family is of immense value and should be nurtured at all cost. It pains me that many learning institutions do not encourage the Pacific Islanders to seek higher learning. I am inter changing between Samoans and Pacific Islanders because we have a higher population of Samoans in San Francisco. Pacific Islanders are coaxed to become Security Guards and apply for others such jobs but not the once that pay higher wages.

The State University in San Francisco has a Pacific Islanders Club and Audrey Nauer who is my trusted friend invited me to witness the graduation ceremony. It was impressive to listen to the graduates and learn that many were the first graduates in their families. Samoan and other Pacific Islander families are large and for some to be the first among thousands of their relatives is very impressive. Kudos to Audrey, Cummings and her mother for doing so much and fostering much love among the graduate students before and after their graduation.

I sat down with some Pacific Islanders graduates and heard them tell me their personal stories and it was awe inspiring. One graduate worked two jobs and was late for the graduation ceremony because she did not want to miss her schedule at work. Now that says it all. Given the opportunity and the love which is important Samoan youth will give their very best. I know this for a fact that is why I go beyond my call of duty to stand by my Samoan youth.

It is up to the parents too to shoulder come responsibility and ask for help when filling out the forms with correct information. The Samoan language and music is great - I listen to it every single day. Especially when I want to create something beautiful or write some difficult stuff - I tap into the Island harmony. My Samoan friends and Pacific Islander friends the cultural benefits you have at your disposal is great and known the world over as an asset to this universe.

I wish the Pacific Islanders Community group the very best and encourage the leaders Fia Carlos-Valentino, John Nauer, Seali'imalietoa Sam Ripley, Patsi Tito, Makerita Fatlua, and others including Sululagi Palega, Reverend Vaovasa to share the goodness of a great warrior nation and the beauty of island humanity. Talofa.

Meeting of the minds.

Samoans working for our youth.

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