THROUGH THE YEARS
Anamatangi Polynesian Voices (APV)
Since the early 90’s, Anamatangi Polynesian Voices (APV) (formerly known as Pacific Island Outreach), has been a grassroots nonprofit strengthening and celebrating the Pacific Islander’s in the East Palo Alto, Bellehaven, and North Fair Oaks communities.
Over time it has helped Islanders to engage in cultural strategies to strengthen advocacy, influence policy and advance equity to ensure that small community groups are valued for their contributions.
San Mateo County has one of the largest concentrations of Pacific Islanders in any American cities or towns outside Hawaii. They are livinging in 6,940 households in 2010 with medium household incomes of $48,734 and an average per capita income of $17,942, leaving 16.6%, or 4,562, people in poverty.
We were founded by Mama Dee Uhila, one of the city’s core elders who began in 1984 as a city employee focused on Community Service.
With her generous spirit and astute advocacy, she and her staff directed Pacific Islanders and other groups to the resources of the County system, navigate its legal structure, and help them to understand and influence EPA’s political functions. In turn she raised these entities’ awareness of Islanders’ needs and challenges.
She has participated in numberless inter-community efforts to raise consciousness of the value of diversity, collaboration, and conflict mediation. Mama Dee was an awardee for San Mateo’s County’s David Lewis Award, was also a Juvenile Justice Commissioner for 15+ years, a founding board member of ONE EPA and was honored in 1998 by Nordstrom and the Asian Pacific Islander Association as a Bay Area Woman Leader, was a Channel 7 News awardee, and more!
Throughout our work we have drawn on the lived experience of our people, learned from the solutions they have developed and helped apply these to the public policies, local laws and ordinances that affect daily lives and values of families in East Palo, Bellehaven, North Fair Oaks communities. We stand on the shoulders of County agencies, and the collective wisdom of our elders and community members.
It has been through the truly powerful energy of our community that we have learned to defer to their competencies, honor their wisdom, and trust their processes. Our families infuse our organization with awe for the courage that brings them to us in times of trauma. We know we are honored to be of service. Over the years we have seen that today’s despair is the turned soil we use to empower and change lives. Finally, we continuously witness the power of love to transform the old into healthier ways of being families. It has been this intentional life force, called “Mana” in the ancient Polynesian cultures, that has enabled us all these years to work alone without money. We are independent and are widely trusted all the more because of that.