Tavae Samuelu (she/her/hers) is the daughter of a pastor from Leulumoega and a nurse from Saleimoa. Rooted in fa’a Samoa, she is a storyteller who empowers people to own their narratives, articulate their healing, and resource our movements.
Tavae was born and raised on Tongva Territory, in what is presently known as Long Beach. She left home to attend UC Berkeley where she majored in Ethnic Studies. After college, Tavae took a job as the District 5 Field Organizer for Jean Quan’s Oakland Mayoral Campaign which allowed her to grow her movement building skills and learn how to impact local institutions. When the campaign concluded, Tavae took her organizing abilities to various Bay Area nonprofits and eventually made her political home at the RYSE Youth Center. She credits her time on unceded Ohlone land for her political consciousness.
In 2017, Tavae returned home to Long Beach to serve as the Executive Director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), where she advocated passionately for Pacific Islanders locally in LA, statewide in CA, and nationally. During her five-year tenure, she saw the importance of sustainable leadership and the ways that anchored care can bolster an organization during and after crises.
Tavae recently joined the Asian Pacific Fund as the Director of Community Initiatives & Grantmaking. In addition to that, she serves as a board member for Pacific Islanders In Communications. During the pandemic, she learned that her most important title is Aunty Vae.