PACIFIC ISLANDERS ESTABLISH CULTURAL CENTER IN CALIFORNIA

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By Mele Laumanu Petelo

HONOLULU, Hawaii (September 8, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---Pacific Islanders in East Palo Alto, California, near San Francisco, recently established a new community cultural center open to all ethnic groups.

Named "Anamatangi," or Windy Place, by Tonga's King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, the center is operated by Pacific Islander Outreach, a non-profit advocacy group.

The founder of the cultural center is Dee ‘Uhila, wife of Tongan born Senita ‘Uhila. She had long dreamed of establishing a special meeting place for Pacific Islander young people to meet, learn about their own and other cultures, and participate in projects to help the Palo Alto community.

‘Uhila says having a convenient place for young people to come together promotes cultural understanding, and allows youth to participate in the advocacy for needed human services.

They bring representatives of many different ethnic groups to the center, she adds, which helps them all learn about their cultural differences, foster understanding, and interact in a positive way.

"Anamatangi" not only serves the young population, it also provides meeting opportunities for adults and hosts reading and other programs for primary school children.

Traditional Pacific Island dances and music also are taught, as a means of preserving Island arts and other cultural traditions.

Every Thursday night , the center hosts kava drinking for Pacific Islanders as well as members of other ethnic groups, including Americans of African, Asian, and Hispanic heritage.

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