The Pacific Islander Community Association (PICA-WA) is an organization that seeks to live out the indigenous values of the Pasifika communities here in Washington State through community organizing, and speaking our truth fiercely to systems of power while providing social supports and cultural spaces for the community to gather and center our values. Our mission is threefold: establish a cultural home, center community power, and further the wellness of our communities physically, culturally, socially and spiritually. Pasifika communities of Washington are a resilient community and while it has had to endure struggles in combating systematic erasure, Pasifika people will continue to rise!
Tropicbird Motif: The Red-tailed Tropicbird is native to Oceania. It’s feathers are often used in ceremonial regalia throughout the Pacific. The Tropicbird is known to always return home no matter how far it travels. The Pasifika Diaspora, while far away from home, like the tropicbird, we are tethered to our cultural homelands.
Moon Motif: The moon is seen as the Goddess of Beauty and Clarity in many island traditions. It is the divine feminine energy, that brings clarity and wholeness of thought. The moon represents our Pasifika wisdom traditions that keep up grounded. It is our commitment to always center the wisdom of our ancestors.
Star Motif: Pasifika Navigators, when wayfinding, have to “see the island”, through the storms and through the vastness of the Ocean to stay the course. The star represents the “island destiny” we are journeying towards together with our canoes side by side traveling in unison. The star also represents our familial ties to the cosmic bodies as our relatives in our creation stories.
In solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples and Tribes in Washington State, and all Indigenous people of the Americas, we will continue to perpetuate our sacred cultures and traditions. We remember the purpose handed to us from our tupuna, our ancestors, to resist, build and thrive alongside our earth and ocean and our fellow neighbors. We are Samoan, Tongan, Mashallese, Palauan, Kosraean, Maori, Chamorro/CHamoru, I-Kiribati, Fijian (I-Taukei), Niuean, Tokelauan, Yapese, Ponhpeian, Pingelapese, Chuukese, Tahitian, Tokelauan, Maori, Solomon Islanders, Papua New Guineans, Uvean, Rotuman, Tuvaluan, Refaluwasch, Kanaka and the many other colorful Pasifika nations that make up our family.
Kotahitanga or unity and collective action drives our body of work. We work across the diversity of our Pacific Islander communities to build collaboration while addressing specific concerns and needs of each Pasifika community. We believe in one Oceania, where our peoples are not divided along lines of Polynesia, Micronesia, or Melanesia, but we instead build, strategize, struggle and celebrate together. Our collective advocacy is stronger than our individual silos. We work against settler colonialism frameworks that erases Oceanian sovereignty and history and lift up Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Autonomy as a collective network of leaders working together to build our civic voice and power while co-designing the Beloved Community that we want our children to live in. We will traverse together, canoe by canoe towards our liberated future.
PICA-WA is guided by the belief that our Pasifika communities are fully capable of healing ourselves. Only through equitable integration of our leadership and voices at critical decision-making tables nationally and locally can we ensure that systems and institutions are more responsive to our communities while establishing our own expansive tables to model what it means to move together with accountability and transparency. Our tongue is where our blessing is birthed from. We will speak our cultural wealth into existence. We are committed to expanding leadership spaces that sharpens and strengthens the voices of our youth.
is video series produced by the Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington highlighting the stories of resilience and cultural brilliance of our Pacific Islander communities in the U.S. diaspora, specifically Washington State. We believe that our liberation is dependent on us lifting up our voices.