FA'SAMOA ALL THE WAY (8/6/06)
My relationship with warrior Samoans goes many years back when I worked for Sixth Army and Presidio of San Francisco. Men and women served the Army well and in my inter actions with Samoans over the years - I held a high respect for them as they held for me.
Over the years this relationship has grown stronger and made all the more stable and stronger with my connection as a facilitator with All Islanders Gathering As One. We are a small group but a very powerful group that has stepped up and serve the Polynesian Community and others to the best of our ability. We inform and perform - we walk the walk.
We embrace all organizations and are ready to work with those that have standards, accountability, and transparency. I had the pleasure to attend the 10 Year Anniversary Celebration of the Samoan Community Development Center held at Burton High School.
It was great to see so many students young ones, middle school and high school graduates display their talents and be proud of their culture. Kudos to Patsy M. Tito and her efforts to bring the Samoan Community together and teach our children in six weeks what it takes in twenty to put up a cultural show that touched the soul and opened the way for more in the years to come.
Aunoa Uiagalollei was honored to speak on behalf of her son who had just passed away. Her personality personifies the goodness of the Samoan people - even in death she praised the goodness of all people that came forward to offer the bone marrow match that could not save her son. Today he is in heaven but in the pursuit to save her son - all races came together in unity and that is what life is all about.
One hundred and sixteen students took part at this graduation and each of them showed us all what it takes to transcend to embrace an ancient indigenous tradition that offers America a lot and the world more. Our Armed Services have had more Samoans shed their blood and pay the ultimate sacrifice then any other one single community. Peter Vaovasa performed his role as a Matai and made us all feel proud. It was good to see Robert Tago as usual keep us all happy and bring laughter to so many. Our associates at All Islanders Gathering As One McManus Tago, Amataga Talanoa, Andrew Vai, Mapesone Galuega, Afa Galuega, Robert Tago, Blessing Nauer, Timoteo Failauga, Max Nauer, Sao Iakopo, Sao Iopu, and others too many to mention did us all proud.
The Samoan Community in San Francisco has reached a cross road and even as it is right to honor the motherland and save the traditions going back thousands of years - the time has come to save the community as a whole and protect quality of life issues.
In our schools our Polynesian students should be proud of their culture and that should be reflected in the data that the colleges and schools record. They should be proud to say that they are Samoan and that they speak the Samoan language. It matters when it comes to scholarships and other benefits. After all they all pay their taxes.
It is a known fact that many Samoans make their home in Public Housing that is now in peril. The City and County of San Francisco should be put on notice that Samoans and other Polynesians will not go anywhere. Up on Kiska Road the Mayor and his cronies have failed the Samoan community. They have shut the only recreation center the youth could go and use as a safe haven. It is even worse at Visitation Valley where Samoan youth having no place to go and practice the dances and music of their fore fathers and mothers.
In the years to come I wish those that will work hard to carry on the Fa'Samoan Culture the very best. I have added a link that should serve as a reminder to those that want to mess with the Samoan Community.
Herb Caen's Samoan Waterloo
The Participants - Class of 2006.
Burton High School and the City.