(253) 478-3941      mail@utopiawa.org

Who We Are

About Us

United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance, also known as UTOPIA is a queer and trans people of color-led, grassroots organization born out of the struggles, challenges, strength, and resilience of the Queer and Trans Pacific Islander (QTPI – “Q-T-pie”) community in South King County. Since 2009, UTOPIA has worked with QTPI leaders to create a safe, welcoming, supportive, and vibrant space for members of our community to address basic needs, build pathways toward new expanded career and life opportunities, foster a sense of common purpose, and advocate for social justice, education, and overall wellness among members of the Pacific Islander LGBTQI community. We also seek to build trust and common ground as a convener and bridge-builder between the Pacific Islander community and the LGBTQI community, who often share many of the same issues and concerns.

UTOPIA is led and founded by women of color, identifying as transgender and/or fa’afafine. Fa’afafine is a cultural gender identity native to Samoa translated as “in the manner of a woman.” We approach community work through an intersectional and cultural lens. Our cultural identity plays an integral role in the way we care and fight for the liberation of queer and trans people of color.

Since its inception, UTOPIA has worked to build power and help our community members access resources, employment, stable housing, higher education, culturally competent healthcare, and more. Founder, Executive Director, and Fa’afafine Leader, Taffy Maene-Johnson saw an influx of queer and trans Pacific Islanders emigrating to the Pacific Northwest in search of opportunities and the need to address the inequities in access. These community members faced hardships in securing employment due to race and gender-based discrimination and were often pushed into sex work, low-paying hard labor jobs, and contracted out-of-state jobs where their rights as workers were violated and where there was limited access to healthcare.

Our Mission

To provide sacred spaces to strengthen the minds and bodies of QTPIs – Queer and Trans Pacific Islanders – through community organizing, community care, civic engagement and cultural stewardship.

Our Vision

Creating a world of cultural wealth, dignity healing & liberation for QTPIs that honors our ancestors and support future generations and ourselves.

 

Our Mission

Our Values

Dignity

“Ukuli’i ka pua, onaona i ka mau’u” – Hawaii
Tiny is the flower, yet it scents the grass around it
One person can make a significant impact in the universe. We at UTOPIA believe in the importance and worth of every person in a society, we aim to assist in building that leadership. We value dignity and believe that everyone is worthy of honor and respect.

Diligence

“O le ‘ala i le pule o le Tautua” –Samoa
The path to leadership is through good service
As this Samoan proverb speaks to the importance of diligence in order to achieve leadership, we at UTOPIA also value careful, consistent and intentional work. UTOPIA believes in working diligently to achieve the best outcomes for the QTPI community.

Sustainability

“E mae te tavake ki ona fulu” –Tokelau
The tavake bird treasures its red feathers
The Tokelau people treasure their language. It is so precious that it must be nurtured for its survival into the future. At UTOPIA, we value sustainability because it shows resilience and endurance. We not only hope to sustain as an organization but it is also important to us that we are able to sustain traditions and practices that identify us as indigenous and QTPI.

Teamwork

“Galulue fa’atasi e māmā ai se ‘avega” -Samoa
Working together lightens the load
UTOPIA believes in working together as a team. We believe collaboration and teamwork with a focus on a common team goal enhances the quality and effectiveness of our work and services.

Cultural Heritage

“Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria”-Maori
My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul
This is a proverb closely associated with language revitalization, a struggle which is very important in maintaining culture. We embrace cultural heritage as a part of our identities. Here at UTOPIA we aim to provide culturally sensitive solutions to address the needs of our QTPI community. We also hope to preserve the languages and traditions from our ancestors that make us indigenous people of the Pacific