Penina Ava Taesali
Samoan writer, poet, educator, and cultural arts activist Penina Ava Taesali is the author of Sourcing Siapo (2016). For nine years, she worked as artistic director for the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (OACC), where she founded the Asian Pacific Islander Youth Promoting Advocacy and Leadership, Talking Roots Art Collective, a youth arts education organization. During her time at OACC, Taesali also cofounded the Pacific Islander Kie Association, the first and only Pacific Island nonprofit in Oakland, which serves 70 families yearly. She was the cohost for Ohana Open Mike at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland in the mid- to late-1990s and has been a featured poet for the KPFA FM Best Spoken Word Millennium Series. Taesali earned an MFA in writing from Mills College and currently lives in Salem, Oregon.