Talofa Lava dear friends,
Earlier this month Pacific Peoples’ Partnership (PPP) released a Black Lives Matter solidarity message that we firmly stand behind and we invite you to join us:
We support the fight for equality, liberation, and justice. Our struggles for Black rights, Indigenous rights, and human rights are interconnected and come from the lived experiences within our PPP Board and our wider PPP community. Equality, liberation, and justice are integral to the work we do in partnership with Indigenous peoples, nations, and communities in Canada and throughout the South Pacific, and we are dedicated to upholding those values and practices.
All of us here at PPP hope that you and yours are well, as we weather COVID-19 realities as a global community. It is in the face of adversity and challenges like this that our traditional teachings hold most important, and the fact that this knowledge continues to live on is a testament to the resilience of Pacific Islanders and Indigenous peoples. Amidst the coronavirus, climate change and economic uncertainties, we acknowledge the unique challenges facing us at all levels and the interconnected nature of the crises and compounding impacts. As research professor Cynthia Enloe has said of this pandemic: “We aren’t all in this together. We’re all on the same rough seas together, but we’re in very different boats.”
In French Polynesia, some residents have expressed disgust that their borders have now reopened to tourists, many who may come from the worst infected parts of the world. Understandably, balancing economies and health are tough choices for nations who have worked so hard to develop their tourism sector. We have also been inspired by Pacific Islander youth who have been forced to return to home villages following COVID-19 shutdowns, such as Tuvalu’s youth who have ignited a renewed interest in their Indigenous knowledge.
This is a time when the global community must increase official development assistance to ensure no one is left behind. Indeed, donor countries should go a step further and forgive development loans that encumber and trap small island developing states. PPP recently signed on to a letter to encourage our country to do just that! You can do your part by asking your Government to do more, and you can also give directly to our community-based partners through our Pacific Resilience Fund.
Included in this edition of Pasifik Currents we are proud to share our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, program updates and much more. We are also thrilled to welcome our newest Team members Zachary, Tana and Peter, who will be working with us through the next few months on our COVID-19 protocol compliant One Wave Gathering amongst other projects.
Yours in solidarity,
Muavae (Mua) Va’a and April Ingham