Jessie Ka’ahumanu Ray Coen hails from the island of Moloka’i, Hawai’i. After spending her childhood in foster care, away from her culture and people, Jessie reconnected with her ‘ohana at the end of her high school career. Invigorated by her return to the islands, she immediately began to realign herself with her Native Hawaiian roots. Immersion in Pasifika culture is a constant journey she is happy to be on. Jessie’s deep passion for volunteering, social justice and civil rights work contributed to her being honored with the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. award in Snohomish County. Jessie is committed to the advancement of all Pasifika people through policy change, education, technology and entrepreneurship. Jessie is a talented Instructional Designer for one of America’s top healthcare systems, specializing in Anesthesia and Surgical software. Along with balancing the hat of business woman and activist, she is a proud mother to her two beautiful children Zimora Ka’ahumanu Mei and Lennox Fa’asaau Loi.
Bronwyn Talaga is currently a Drop-In Coordinator at New Horizons Ministries for homeless young adults. Started as a Shelter Counselor for 2 years at New Horizons. A former Residential Program Supervisor at REST a six bed residential program for women who are working on stabilizing their lives after being in the sex trade. Bronwyn, was the Director of Othello Youth Center for 3 years and 20 plus years of experience as a Youthworker in Seattle’s “Rainier Valley” as a mentor and advocate for At-Risk Youth with the Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission’s Youth Services Department. Enjoys time spent with family and learning new recipes of Samoan dishes her mother loved when she was back home.
Franky serves as a Exhibit Designer at Skyline Pacific Northwest. He is a former Conservation Program Officer with the Marshall Islands Conservation Society (MICS) - where he primarily focused on improving climate resiliency at the community level on the small island of Mejit, Marshall Islands. Franky is passionate about helping his Marshallese and Chuukese communities through his work on the PICA-WA board. He is a proud father to a beautiful baby girl. He is on track in securing a degree in environmental studies and is passionate about Pasifika movements to mitigate the affects of the climate crisis through Indigenous conservation practices and is committed to ending environmental racism.
Lu’isa Helemina Laulile is a first-generation Tongan / Palangi originally from Southern California. Her father is from the village of Fakakakai in the Ha'apai islands of Tonga. Soon after Lu'isa's mother was born in Seattle, Washington, their family then moved and settled in Graham, Washington where Lu'isa now resides. Lu'isa works in child advocacy and licensing of foster homes with United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, and has her own business called Ofa Atu Events as an Event Planner / Coordinator. She comes to PICA with years of community experience from faith-based programs, education, and youth programs. Lu’isa holds an Associates Degree in Sociology and Physiology and will continue her educational journey for a Masters in Social Work. She shares her love for her culture with all those around her which has guided her to where she is today.
Cal Tiweyang, hailed from the state of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia (aka FSM or Micronesia) now living in the awesome city of Federal Way in the great state of Washington. Lived on the Island of Guam from 1991 to 2000 and moved to the US mainland where he's been since. An OSU Beaver fanatic and a die hard PATRIHAWKS aka Patriots and Seahawks. Alos an avid Starbucks's Americano with Whip Cream lover. Have held various leadership positions, mostly in retail and the hospitality industry. Last worked as a Team Leader for about 10 years and have since work from home as a Freelancer. Cal champions spaces and places for Pasifika youth to come together and build strong bonds that across all of our Pasifika societies. He is well integrated in the Chuukese community and speaks it fluently.
Taffy is unapologetically Fa’afafine and a trans woman of color from Sāmoa. She is a queer & trans activist and community organizer. Taffy is the founder and Executive Director of United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (U.T.O.P.I.A. Seattle). She has worked in the movement for LGBTQ rights and equality for over 10 years. Taffy has been a resource, refuge and support to many Fa’afafine and PI individuals who are making the long trek to the Pacific Northwest in search of better opportunities. Taffy is a wonderful mother to her cat babies, Luna and Jeffry, whom she raises with her loving husband Derek Johnson. She is a part of the local Foodie Club with Joseph Seia and will travel to taste new delicious treats. When off the clock, you may also find her getting the latest nails designs at the local salon or at home catching up on a SciFi or Horror series on Netflix.
Tyson Johnston attended the University of Washington studying American Indian Studies and Political Science. He held several elected and appointed leadership positions while at university including elections to the student body board of directors and student senate. Tyson has been an elected member of the Quinault Indian Nation for the past eight years. Serving four years as an elected councilperson and is currently serving in his fourth year as the Quinault Indian Nation’s Vice President. Tyson has held several leadership positions on behalf of the Quinault Business Committee, which currently include, Chairperson of the Natural Resources and Community Development sub-committee and policy lead on state legislative affairs. Tyson currently resides on the Quinault Reservation in the Village of Taholah, which houses the headquarters of the Quinault Indian Nation’s Government.
Commissioner Faitalia is a first-generation Tongan-Samoan, born and raised in California. She recently settled in Covington, WA from Los Angeles, CA. She is the owner of Modern Blueprint Construction LLC and works for United Indians of All Tribes Foundation as the Ina Maka On Track Program Manager. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, Ms. Faitalia served her Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Community in various capacities including working for the UCLA Center for Community College Partnership and Tribal Learning Community & Educational Exchange Program (TLCEE). Commissioner Faitalia joins CAPAA Commission with fifteen years of community service and advocacy experience. She completed both her Undergraduate and Graduate education from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Puakailehua was born in England raised in Washington but have been residing in Hawaii for the past fifteen years. She currently works as an Administrative Assistant for the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in the Madigan Army Medical Center. She served in the Army active duty for 8 years and did a tour in Iraq becoming a Veteran. She continues to serve in the Army Reserves as a Medical Logistician on Fort Shafter Hawaii. Pua has a BA in Business Management Administration and is currently studying for another BA in Health and Wellness. “I have always volunteered within the communities I have lived in, including the Puerto Rican and Guamanian communities. Being given the opportunity to help in diverse cultures creates an opportunity of knowledge and understanding that even though there are cultural differences, our needs as Island people remain the same.”
Va'eomatoka "Toka" Valu was born and raised in the South Pacific Islands of Tonga and migrated to the United States with his late mother in 1997. His work reproduces visual motifs, symbols, and patterns from oceania, arranging them into redefined stories that honor the deep roots of the Pacific but are firmly entrenched in re-imagined brilliant futures. Toka heavily references his own cultural upbringing to explore the varying spaces (va) between all things where relationships are forged, negotiated, tested, and nurtured. Rather than settle for simply retelling the folklore of Oceania, Toka aims to encapsulate a future that Pacific Islanders deserve while keeping his past firmly in mind to guide the way through the confusion. Toka is a proud Pacific Islander, youth advocate, community organizer, Oceanic artist and Pacific Arts enthusiast who lives in Seatac with his partner, Maile, and their daughter, Loleto.
Suni Tolton has worked in the human services field for over 20 years providing youth and family counseling, youth program management, and contract administration. She is currently the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Shoreline. Suni studied sociology and criminology at the University of Utah and received a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington. She has volunteered with many community-based Pacific Islander organizing efforts, including the Pacific Islander Community Association (PICA), and is interested in acculturation, health, and immigrant/refugee issues. Born in New Zealand, Suni was raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and is mother to two boys. Suni is Samoan and Chinese and holds the matai title Tiumalu from the village of Satapuala of the A'ana district on the island of Upolu.
KaLehua was born and raised in the Greater Seattle area. She has spent most of her life in the Burien/White Center which is Duwamish Territory. Growing up I was privileged to have a mother who was a Kumu Hula. She is the reason why Kalehua has the passion to serve her community as her Kuleana. Kumu Hula Moodette Ka’apana moved to Seattle in 1972 to attend college at Seattle University. She ended up staying and becoming a pillar of the local Hawaiian community. She taught hula to so many and became a mentor to many, including her younger sister Jaydeen Robinson. PICA's mission of bringing communities together was something near to her mother’s heart and her as well. KaLehua serves as an educator for high school youth in White Center. Working in education gives her the space to empower our Pasifika youth who are our next generation of leaders to live fuller into the purposes for their lives.
Paula served at The Mockingbird Society in 2014 as their Youth Network Coordinator before being promoted to Youth Programs Director in 2016. In addition to that role, she also initiated and chaired the agency’s Race Equity Committee. Paula was awarded Mockingbird Society’s ACE award, which celebrated individuals who have made a significant impact on the lives of young people and families. Paula worked at the YMCA of Greater Seattle focusing on youth transitioning out of foster care. With over a decade working in this field, Paula continues to elevate the voices of young people at decision making tables. Paula earned a master’s degree in Teaching from Seattle University, where she was also the first graduate of its Fostering Scholars program. She is now a Program Officer with the Raikes Foundation.