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American Samoa Hosts Nonviolence Symposium and holds Rally!

Posted by Ryan Hall
09.25.14

American Samoa, Campaign Nonviolence Week 2014 Video

CNV American Samoa Slideshow

On Tuesday September 23, Campaign Nonviolence organizers held a symposium at their local community college to teach nonviolent methods to address poverty, war and the climate crisis. They received great press coverage in their local Samoa News. Read it here!

In the slides above you can see the Monsr. Etuale Lealofa, of the diocese of Samoa, Pago Pago, American Samoa, saying an opening prayer and explaining the meaning and symbol of the Pace e Bene “Francis and the Wolf” picture. Monsignor had taught in the past at Catholic University, Washington, D.C. on “Peace and Justice.”

Mrs. Mona Uli, Co-Chair of the Conference is also shown explaining Campaign Nonviolence and introducing the video clip she has produced on Campaign Nonviolence in American Samoa.

Mrs. Agnes Vargo, Co-Chair of Conference, is shown leading the reading of the Campaign Nonviolence pledge, and explaining practicing nonviolence towards oneself and one’s family, through the adoption of healthy living practices. (6 Childhood Healthy Living practices: Proper Nutrition, Enough Physical Activity, Getting enough Sleep, Decreasing or eliminating sugar sweetened beverages; Reducing Media/Screen time; drinking enough water.

Other speakers included
– Naomi Mulieaina, from “American Samoa Family Alliance against Sexual and Domestic Violence”
– Officer High Chief Va’a Sunia who spoke on the firearm situation in American Samoa
– Ms. Okenisa Fauola Chair of Samoan Studies at American Samoa Community College whospoke on nonviolence methods in Samoan traditional culture.
– Mrs. Flo Ainu’u Department of American Samoa Human and Social Services who spoke on how to report Child abuse as well as the emotional, long term physiological, and other health consequences of childhood abuse.
– Mrs. Vaimalu Vaiau- American Samoa student who witnessed on peer pressure, role of alcohol and violence, and the dangers and challenges of island youth/students when they go to college in the United States.
– Mrs. Leasiolagi Siemsen of Samoa who spoke as a survivor of violence and the role of prayer in forgiveness and recovery. Spoke on the power of the Divine Mercy prayer and the “United Hearts of Jesus and Mary” Movement.

Saturday Sept 27, organizer Mona Uli-Lopez arranged a “Conflict Resolution Training” with Eta McCutchin, the Clinical Psychologist with the American Samoa Department of Human Social Services, for a Youth group, “Flowers of tomorrow”, and a “Celebration Recovery” group. Eta explained the workings of the brain, explained the model of the horse and rider, especially important in”conflict coaching,” working with children and youth under the age of 25, finding the common ground between conflicting parties. We learned about the “Happiness project,” restorative justice, empathy, and anger management. One of the woman elders, explained that Samoans are a proud people.” In a conflict you have to be the “better person” and come down to the level of the other person. There you have common ground. Always strive to find common ground. You must be humble.

Afterwards, we attended the Tsunami Memorial Service honoring the families and victims of 2009 Tsunami in American Samoa, hosted by the Rotary Club, President, Utu Abe Malae; with talks by Hawaiian Airlines, Assistant Manager Theresa “Sia” Burgos; the Human and Social Services Director, Taeaoafua Meki Solomona; Honorable Lemanu Peleti Mauga Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa; Community Outreach Coordinator Advocate, “Alliance for Strengthening Families”, Tina Ta’aga recited the Tsunami Victims names, Ana Atoa, Project Coordinator “One Global Family Foundation” and Governor’s wife gave out a special scholarship and monetary awards. The event was held in “Lions Park” with support from the American Samoa Department of Parks and Recreation. The importance of environmental preservation was emphasized and acknowledged as an important traditional value, where families were responsible for their lands from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the sea off shore.

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These photos above include posters of 6 (Childhood Healthy Living)Behaviors which we at the American Samoa Community College (Community and Natural Resource (CNR) Childhood Healthy Living (CHL) Department) used to complement the CNV pledge-“Practicing non-violence toward oneself and one’s family.”

Also, because of economic disparities, not all American Samoa residents have easy access or resources to purchase sufficient fruits and vegetables. The local American Samoa Department of Agriculture and the American Samoa Community College ASCC/CNR programs help farmers by providing seedlings of fruit trees and vegetables to help face this situation.

Press:

FijiOne News, 9/24/14, “Mau seen as example for American Samoa youth
Samoa News,9/22/14 “Campaign Nonviolence Symposium at ASCC Tomorrow

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