SAMOA FLAG DAY CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE THIS WEEK IN CA
For the 28th year now, the Samoan Federation of America with the support of the City of Carson, California is organizing the Samoa Flag Day celebrations which kicked off this past weekend.
The annual week-long event draws tens of thousands of Samoans from the territory, the independent state of Samoa, and those residing in the United States to Victoria Park for a celebration dedicated to bringing Samoans from all parts of the globe together, if __only for a few days.
This year, American Samoa is being represented at the event by Secretary of the Office of Samoan Affairs, Satele Galu Satele and his wife Joyita.
Other dignitaries who are on the VIP guest list include Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin and Aliioaiga F. Elisaia, who is Samoa’s Ambassador to the US.
Samoa Flag Day usually includes entertainment similar to that featured during local Flag Day festivities. There are cultural performances in music and dance, as well as tournaments for rugby, cricket, and volleyball - all of which are popular local sports.
Of course, Flag Day just wouldn’t be complete without a beauty pageant (two are planned for this year’s event) and a talent show.
Samoa News received an email from a Samoan woman who has resided in Carson, California for more than two decades. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she met most of the people in her extended family during previous Samoa Flag Day celebrations.
“The annual Samoa Flag Day celebrations have basically enabled me to meet relatives I only heard about, but never actually met in person,” she wrote. “Every year, during Samoa’s Flag Day, I always meet a new family member and I think— this is what it’s all about. Being able to unite all Samoans - whether from Tutuila, Aunu’u, Manu’a, or Savai’i, Upolu and those living here in the mainland, bringing us together as one people. It is such a privilege and blessing to be part of Samoa Flag Day every year and I hope the tradition continues for many more years, so our kids can have a place to meet other Samoans as well as long lost loved ones.”
RECORD NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS IN THIS YEAR’S SYEP PROGRAM
Last Friday was the last day of work for the majority of the over 500 local students and youth who were hired to work during the summer months under the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) which was administered by the Department of Human Resources.
Different government agencies and departments, as well as businesses from the private sector who employed the youth held special farewell luncheons to thank the SYEP participants for their services as well as to say goodbye, and wish them well.
This year’s program was a smash hit, shattering the record books with the high number of students who participated.
While most of the SYEP participants will be back in the classroom next week for the new school year, some 120 of them — between the ages of 18 and 21 — have been selected to continue working throughout the remainder of this month, thanks to additional funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
During the SYEP, youngsters from around the territory had the chance to gain on-the-job training and learn new skills, in addition to experiencing what it’s like to work and earn money.
“This is such a great program,” said one parent. “My daughter has learned how to be more organized and manage her time, doing administrative work and learning what it’s like to be part of the working world. Hopefully, the program will continue to be available for our local kids, as it is very beneficial for them, as well as for us parents.”
LOLO PROCLAIMS AUGUST: BUSINESS APPRECIATION MONTH
Aims to recognize their “resiliency, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit”
Governor Lolo M. Moliga has proclaimed the month of August as Business Appreciation Month, citing the local business community in American Samoa is crucial to the territory’s economic health.
The Governor openly stated during the most recent cabinet meeting that he and Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga will be dedicating next year’s Flag Day to the business community — “to thank them for being a part of a growing economy and for helping us get to where we are today.”
According to Lolo, most of the money we see today, like corporate taxes, taxes imposed at the wharf, as well as individual taxes, “are all a part of the business community.” He added, “we have to nurture and develop the business community to ensure that they continue to grow, be prosperous, and make money — and in turn, develop more jobs for our people.”
He said the revenue and jobs generated by the private sector allows services to be provided in the territory that have a positive effect on the quality of life for residents.
In addition, Lolo said, the business community also provides valuable support to the American Samoa Government and encourages public-private partnerships through organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce.
The Governor noted that ever since the late 1800s, businesses started to develop the territory, “from early business families until now, there was never a time that we recognized their contribution to our island.”
Lolo said ASG recognizes the resiliency, dedication and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by local businesses, particularly in recent years with difficult economic hardships, and the government values our existing business community and commits to working together with businesses in order to build a better future for all.
Business Appreciation Month will feature different activities and will conclude with the Chamber Business Awards Night scheduled to take place on August 31 at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium (Fale Laumei) in Utulei.