Lawyer, Alex Su’a, is the new President of the Samoa Fa’afafine Association.
He takes on the role that was held by S.F.A. founder and President, the late So’oalo Roger Stanley.
Su’a is among the founding members of S.F.A. who is also the Legal Counsel.
This was confirmed by S.F.A’s Communications and Public Relations Executive, Kevin Schuster, during an interview with the Sunday Samoan.
Schuster said the Vice President nominated was Vaialia Iosua.
Vanilla Ice Heather is the Faafatama representative on the Executive Council.
The announcement of the new officers was made during the Samoa Faafafine Association Special General Meeting on Friday.
“The new leaders are no strangers to the association, given their long-term involvement and contribution towards S.F.A. since its establishment.”
“It was our first meeting since the passing of So’oalo who left behind a legacy and some big shoes to be filled particularly her drive, leadership and advocacy work both nationally and regionally for the faafafine and fa’afatama community,” said Schuster.
“Since his passing, there have been numerous speculations on who will be next in line to continue the great work and leadership which was done by So’oalo for S.F.A. and especially for its partners.”
Schuster says S.F.A. Members, Executive Council together with the Advisory Council, gathered to announce the new leaders for the association.
“The S.F.A. Members and Executive had a standing ovation to welcome the new leaders,” said Schuster.
The newly announced president told the Sunday Samoan the Executive Council’s decision was unanimous.
“I refused it more than once while nominating other capable members, but there was a very strong vote and nomination for me.”
“Eventually I accepted it, conscious it is probably my calling for the fa’afafine, fa’afatama and the L.G.B.T.I.Q. community.
“I’m humbled not necessarily of the position, but of the confidence and the trust of the Executive Council who are also made of true leaders in their own respect.”
“The S.F.A. will continue to address and advocate for the inclusiveness of fa’afafine and fa’afatama in all and every aspects of decision making in Samoa, at the same time be the voice for the L.G.B.T.I.Q. community, their families and allies.”
A lawyer by profession for more than a decade, Su’a is a Senior Associates at the Summit lawyers.
“It is already a significant undertaking but one that I will have to ensure I give my best to, in order to continue to drive S.F.A. forward.”
“I sincerely thank the Executive for their trust in me, I thank the Lord for this calling because it really is a call I can’t object to,” said Su’a.
He concluded that team work is paramount in his new role.
“There is no such thing as ‘my plans’ for S.F.A, rather it’s ‘our plan’ for S.F.A.”
“The Executive Council of which I’m its President is the operating body; the Advisory Council guides but it’s our members and our stakeholder partners and us as Executive that plans for S.F.A. moving forward.”
“There are already work and strategic plans in place. It is now putting those in actions that are the focus now. I have always been in this Executive for some time.”
“It’s gonna be the same drive, same passion and same objectives,” said Su’a.
According to Schuster, Vice President Vaialia has been a strong pillar of the Association from the start and had since returned to the Executive as the Vice President.
“Vaialia is currently the Sector Coordinator for the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, a job she secured following the completion of her Masters in Human Rights out of the Philippines.”
“It has always been my passion to actively participate and be involved with S.F.A, this has been the commitment from the beginning and I gladly accept the decision by the Executive to get back in as the Vice President,” said Schuster.
“The new leaders’ priorities remain focused on the development of S.F.A. and its advocacy work for fa’afafines and fa’afatamas as well as their close collaborations with the partners both locally and internationally.”