Terisa Siagatonu is an award winning poet, arts educator, and community organizer born and rooted in the Bay Area.
Her presence in the spoken word world as a queer Samoan womyn and activist has granted her opportunities to perform in places ranging from the White House to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France. The most memorable moment in her career was receiving President Obama’s Champion of Change Award (2012) for her activism as a spoken word poet/organizer in her Pacific Islander community.
Terisa's writing blends the personal with the political in a way that calls for healing, courage, justice, and truth. Her work has been featured on CNN, NBCNews, NPR, Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, The Guardian, BuzzFeed and Upworthy.
An alumnus of the University of California- Santa Cruz, she is a former UCSC Grand Slam Champion (2011), as well as a former member of the UCSC Poetry Slam Team (2010; 2011), helping her team place 2nd in the nation at the 10th annual College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (2010). She is a 3-time member of the Da Poetry Lounge/Hollywood Slam team (2012; 2013; 2014), helping her team place 2nd in the nation at the National Poetry Slam (2013). When she's not competing, she is coaching college poetry slam teams and mentoring young writers in writing workshops.
Off stage, Terisa is involved in community organizing work revolving around issues such as youth advocacy, educational attainment, Pacific Islander/Indigenous rights, LGBTQQIA rights, gender-based violence, and other causes she is passionate about. She recently received her Masters in Marriage/Family Therapy from USC and aims to merge art and therapy in her career as a therapist/educator.