Renowned musical artists The Katinas joined forces with the local Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) to present an event with the goal of empowering American Samoa’s youth to break the cycle of violence in our community. The program took place on Tuesday, June 25th, in the ASCC Multi-Purpose Center auditorium, and featured motivational talks by several community leaders before the Katinas took the stage to share their message of hope and joy through their music.
Speakers included Executive Director Jennifer Tofaeono and Program Specialist Judy Mata’utia of the Alliance, Representative Sam Meleisea, and Pastor Terry Tofaeono of the Word of Life Church, all of whom addressed the topics of domestic and sexual violence through their individual perspectives and reminded the young adults in the audience that when it comes to stemming the tide of abuse, the source of power everyone possesses is their ability to speak out if they see it, and if they are being victimized, to not remain silent about it.
The speakers also touched on aspects of human relationships especially relevant to the college-age audience. Both Mata’utia and Pastor Tofaeono examined the concept of consent, and explained how it represents a way of treating others that needs to be respected. ASCC counselor Sigalu Tinitali spoke of how the Division of Student Services (DOSS) makes counseling available for students going through challenging situations, however personal the nature, and encouraged the audience to learn about and use this resource.
Following the guest speakers, the Katinas treated the audience to a four-song set that showcased their unique vocal blend and easy-going command of the stage. The five brothers functioned like the five fingers of a hand – each of them highly individual yet in perfect sync with the others. Establishing an instant rapport with the crowd of mostly ASCC students, the Katinas soon had much of the auditorium singing and clapping along. One listener became so visibly moved by the spirit of things that at the end of the song being performed the Katinas spontaneously invited the young man on stage to sing an extra verse and chorus with them, which he did in perfect voice, much to the surprise of the band and the delight of the audience.
The event concluded with Alliance Executive Director Tofaeono providing a brief recap of the message being shared, and acknowledging the support of the ASCC Division of Student Services and Health and Human Services Department in the Alliance’s efforts to reach out to youth in the community. To show appreciation for their guests, the ASCC Student Government Association and Fresh Print Club, who helped organize the event, presented the Katinas and other speakers with ASCC souvenir gifts. After a closing prayer from Pastor Tofaeono, the Katinas graciously took the time to greet and take photos with students and other well-wishers before departing with the extended family group accompanying them on their visit to American Samoa.
For more information on the activities of the Alliance, call 699-0272. To find out more about ASCC, visit the College’s website at: www.amsamoa.edu.