Alyshia Macaysa

Alyshia Macaysa
Location: Portland, Oregon Cohort Start Year: 2019 Project Topics: Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Communications, Community/Civic Engagement, Economic Stability, Education, Employment, Health Care Quality, Immigrants and Refugees, Leadership Development, LGBTQ+ Health, Public Policy, Public, Population and Community Health, Racial Justice, Social Sector/Non-Profit Populations Served: Adults (21-64 years), Immigrants and Refugees, LGBTQ+ Communities, Low-Income Communities, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), Rural Communities, Urban Communities
Executive Director
Oregon Pacific Islander Coalition

Alyshia Alohalani Macaysa is a community organizer and systems change strategist based in Portland, OR. The heart of her work is building life-affirming justice and indigenous systems of health through a decolonized public health practice. Her body of work includes government<>community partnerships that have placed the wisdom and experiences of front line communities at the center of decision-making. This includes the City of Portland’s Smart City PDX Community Leads cohort, Oregon Public Health Division’s Pacific Islander Data Modernization project, Oregon Health Authority’s Tobacco Tax Allocation advisory group, and the Orchards of 82nd’s Affordable Housing Community Partnership. Her specific interests include research and data justice, upstream technology & health equity policy making, and community-led strategic initiatives.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Transforming the Oregon Pacific Islander Coalition (OPIC) for Organizing & Technical Assistance
Post-colonial racism, inequitable access to the social determinants of health, and the rampant prevalence of chronic illness left Pacific Islanders extremely vulnerable in the pandemic. Out of this devastating loss, new partnerships have emerged with local government and research institutions. Such a rapid growth of power and partnerships calls for the time and capacity to develop processes rooted in Pasifika self-determination. “A Common Cause” aims to transform OPIC into an organizing hub and technical assistance center to wield that power. My initiative organizes OPIC’s growing membership of Pacific Islander organizations, convening leaders to set the Coalition’s priorities, identify two-way learning workshops needed to increase organizational capacity, develop minimum standards of engagement, and maintain the Coalition’s existing data sovereignty protocol. The protocol assesses values alignment of research institutions interested in partnering with OPIC and explicitly names the Coalition as a co-owner of resulting data sets and reports.

Alyshia’s work, consciousness, and power is rooted in her lineage as a queer Native Hawaiian Filipina and her journey in understanding the continued physical and spiritual displacement of her people. She believes that a culture of health cannot exist without indigenous self actualization and indigenous systems. Two processes that require healing, community, and culture.


Click here to watch Alyshia’s Legacy Project video.