Pat Luce-Aoelua

Photo Credit: SAI Awards Gala 2010

Pat Luce-Aoelua

Fagatogo, American Samoa

Luce-Aoelua was an advocate of Civil Rights for Samoan and Pacific Islanders in the United Sates of America.

Luce-Aoelua graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University at Sacramento and her Master of Science in Counseling from the University of California at Davis.

She was responsible for the milestone of the 1984 California Assembly bill AB3366, which allowed for the first time, print of the word ‘Samoan’ on state documents such as employment and academic applications which required identification of ones race.
Luce-Aoelua is largely responsible for the stature and effectiveness of the 35-year old National Office of Samoan Affairs, the nation’s principal advocate of Civil Rights for Samoan and Pacific Islanders in the U.S
She fought to make the system responsive to the needs of the Pacific Islanders, particularly the disenfranchised. From the beginning, Luce understood how important ‘identification’ was in ensuring that the powers that be address the Samoan population.
Luce-Aoelua was the force behind the inclusion of American Samoans into the Native American Administration for Native American Funding in the 1980s. She served on the 1990 U.S. Census Pacific Islander Panel, and, when the Census Bureau wanted to downsize its application by removing the Pacific Islander identifiers, she ensured it was preserved.

In 1997, Luce advocated for the separation of Pacific Islander from the ‘Asian/Pacific Islander category’, and as of 2011 this still remains to be instituted.

Highlights and Awards:
Responsible for the 1984 California Assembly bill AB3366
Founder and Director of the federally recognized National Office of Samoan Affairs.
Recipient of the SAI ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for her role in advocacy of civil rights for Samoan and Pacific Islanders in the US.

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