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2021 Washington Leadership Program Session VI: What is your Experience with America?: Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders

July 14, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

This session will address the journey and experience of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S., acknowledging pivotal moments, challenges, and ongoing developments across generations, cultures, and communities. Key topics will include the effects of colonization, generational trauma, identity-building, and methods of advocacy and empowerment in today’s landscape.

Note: All WLP Sessions will be recorded live.


Michelle Pedro is a Marshallese American that was born and raised in Orange County, California. She has lived in Oregon for 7 years and moved to Springdale, AR. Currently, She is the Policy Director and Communications Specialist for the Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese (ACOM). When she is not working, she loves to listen to people and their migration/voyage of life stories. She enjoys learning about different cultures and people. Michelle’s main purpose is to serve and love on people, especially from the Marshallese community. Follow Michelle at Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese






Amelia Vakalutukali, born in Fiji and migrated to the United States in 1998. Currently residing in Everett, Washington and contracting as a Program Director for the PICA-WA (Pacific Islander Community of Washington) Western Washington Region. Graduated from Lynnwood High School class of 2001. Certified First Aid & CPR Instructor, attended Everett Community College, WA and then onto American River College, CA. Academic endeavors include completing her Bachelors in Science and Nursing. Former Youth Director at Metro Church in Windsor, CA. Married to Ro Vakalutukali for 10years in October 2021 and blessed with two wonderful boys Joseph and Samuel. Follow Amelia at Pacific Islander Community Association-





He kupa no ka ʻāina kaulana ʻo Waialua. Maka Kasson-Fisher is a native Hawaiian leader and active community member of Oʻahu’s North Shore. He is a Program Specialist for the Hawaiian Cultural Affairs & Natural Resources division at the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. He is a member of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs and the current President of the Waialua Hawaiian Civic Club. He is a cultural practitioner in hula, lua (Hawaiian martial arts), and ho`oponopono (family conflict resolution). He graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo with degrees in Cultural Anthropology & Hawaiian Language and strives to ensure the preservation and perpetuation of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and culture. Ka ʻike a ka mākua he hei na ke keiki. Maka is married to Nāpua and together they have 2 young children. As parents they continue to share traditional knowledge and practices to the keiki (children) to ensure that their moʻokūʻauhau (genealogy) and kuleana (responsibilities) are passed on and protected.





Javan Santos is a proud CHamoru and a CAPAL ’17 S&I alum. Born and raised in Guam, he has been working in policy research work for six years, since he was a youth leader in high school. Javan earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Guam, where he furthered his understanding of the politics of a Pacific island and a U.S. territory. Javan has used his policy and research experience in a variety of projects, most notable was his work as a research assistant in a project contracted by Guam’s Commission on Decolonization. There, he contributed to an over 400 page long research report analyzing policy futures for a decolonized Guam. Today, Javan continues his policy work in two ways. He is the policy manager for the Kennebunkport Climate Initiative, where he works to mobilize youth for climate advocacy, an issue that disproportionately harms Pacific islands. He is also an editor for the Yappie, a youth-led newsletter, where he writes articles analyzing policies affecting Pacific Islanders and the AAPI community. Follow Javan at @I_am_javan on IG @TheYappie on IG Also, and subscribe to


Representative Patrick Pihana Branco is proud to serve as the State Representative for District 50 (Kailua and Kāneʻohe Bay). He is Vice Chair of the Water & Land Committee and is also a member of the Finance as well as the Corrections, Military & Veterans Committees. Drawn to public service, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service as a Diplomat in 2012, serving tours in Colombia, Pakistan, the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Secretary of State’s Operations Center, and Venezuela. Rep. Branco is a fourth-generation Kailua resident. He is also a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, and Johns Hopkins University.


July 14, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
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