LGBTQI manager and F’INE Director Phylesha Brown-Acton was awarded the Pacific Community Leadership Award for her work with the LGBTQI community at the Sun Pix Awards on Wednesday the 15th of November.
A proud Niuean, Phylesha has been working with the LGBTQI community for over 24 years, as she stated, “this award is the first recognition of its kind for my work and Community”.
In her acceptance speech Phylesha recognised all the women who were influential in her life that inspired her to continue the work she is doing for her community.
“I am humbled and most grateful for the recognition for the work I do, but also the community I serve. It is a special award as it comes direct from our Pasifika communities.”
“Being the first trans recipient of such a prestigious award sends a positive message to other communities to embrace and recognise leadership in all its diversities, for we all contribute in our own different ways to improving quality of life for those we serve.”
“I am most thankful to Pasifika Futures Limited and Pacific Homecare for their continued support and commitment to ensuring Pasifika LGBTQI communities are supported and not left behind, also to the Sun Pix team and all involved for this and a wonderful awards night.”
“Without the Love and support of my family, community and mentors, none of this would be possible, Fakaue lahi mahaki – Thank you”
F’INE nurtures Pasifika LGBTQI peoples and their families to develop skills and tools to live well, to live meaningful lives, to be protected and included in society without discrimination, fear or barrier and to grow leadership potential.
F’INE works in partnership with Pacific LGBTQI individuals and their families, the primary role of F’INE is to support an individual to shift from being dependent to independent, with the goal to lead to interdependence for them and their family to achieve and aspire together and to honour a sense of belonging during this process.
Phylesha ended her speech on the night with a challenge to all present:
“Transgender people, get to know them, get to love them, help them grow, be alongside them, be an ally with them. I ask and plea of you to do that because it’s important for my community to fruition, to succeed, and to stand alongside with everything because we are the ones that keep our families safe, we protect our families, but we also need your support outside of our families
Stop allowing our political agendas to separate us as a Pasifika community, we need to put our political agendas aside and we need to start being visionary about the well being and success of our Pasifika people. We need to stop operating on a 3-year funded way of thinking and we need to be visionary and start to think about a 10 year plan, or 20 year plan in order to thrive where no one gets left behind”
Have a listen to Phyleshas amazing speech here