Creative Resistance: Artist and Activist Terisa Siagatonu

Art and well-being aligned in this workshop and performance with viral poet and community mental health leader Terisa Siagatonu. Known across the nation for her poetry videos, creative mental health workshops, and advocacy work, Terisa graced the Claremont Colleges with her presence on Tuesday, March 12, for an afternoon workshop, evening dinner, and open mic night with other student performers. The workshop focused on the power of healing from trauma with the unique perspective offered by Terisa’s experience as an Oceania artist and mental health clinician. After welcoming everyone into a relaxed space with a mindfulness body scan exercise, Terisa discussed the definition of trauma, who experiences it, and who we are afterward. “No one is exempt from experiencing trauma, but we do all experience it differently.” She described how trauma changes our physical makeup and how “the body is the one place that remembers trauma the most and the longest…connecting to our bodies is important for healing.” Attendees were also welcomed to participate in a free-writing activity where they wrote for a few minutes about a time they went through a fight, flight, or freeze experience. The open mic night later on featured some of Terisa’s riveting poetry, but students were also welcomed to perform their own works. This event was sponsored by the Berger Institute, CMC Asian Pacific American Mentoring Program, Pomona Asian American Resource Center, CARE, SCORE, Pacific Basin Institute, Ad Board, OID, Scripps Diversity and Inclusivity Chair, Motley Coffee House, IDAAS, Scripps Intercollegiate Feminist Center for Teaching, Research, and Engagement, and Scripps Humanities Institute.