Terisa Siagatonu

Terisa Siagatonu is an award winning poet, arts educator, community organizer, and therapist 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. With over 10 years of experience in writing, performing, competing, and teaching poetry, 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 Button Poetry, CNN, NBCNews, NPR, Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, Button Poetry, The Guardian, BuzzFeed and Upworthy. An alumnus of the University of California- Santa Cruz, Terisa is a former UCSC Grand Slam Champion (2011) and a College Union Poetry Slam Invitational Finalist. She is a 2-time National Poetry Slam finalist and 3-time member of the Da Poetry Lounge/Hollywood Slam Team (2012-2014). When she’s not competing, she is coaching college and youth poetry slam teams and mentoring young writers in writing workshops. Terisa is also involved in community organizing and is the co-creator of The Root Slam, an open mic/poetry slam venue based in Oakland, CA. Aside from being a full-time artist, Terisa is also a mental health clinician, holding a Masters in Marriage/Family Therapy from USC. She aspires to merge art and therapy throughout her healing work both on and off-stage.

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