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Keiva Lei Cadena

Keiva Lei Cadena is an advocate, activist, health and wellness service provider, and a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner living in Pahoa, Hawaii. Keiva was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area into a large Hawaiian family with strong ties to her native culture. She experienced many challenges growing up as a transgender person during a time when the Trans experience was not widely spoken of. Despite the challenges of homelessness, addiction, domestic violence and being diagnosed with HIV in 2004, Keiva pushed through a difficult life and turned those troubling experiences into strength and wisdom. In 2011, she began her work in HIV outreach and education at the Life Foundation in Honolulu, Hawaii. She worked her way through the organization, first as an HIV HCV Testing Specialist, then a Linkage to Care Specialist and finally a Community Engagement Coordinator. Her focus was to provide educational and empowerment opportunities to people living with HIV. In 2015, recognizing that there was a lack of HIV positive representation meaningfully involved in addressing HIV and other social injustice issues in Hawaii, she developed the POP Ohana, a leadership network of people living with the virus across the state. The goal? To build new emerging advocates and service providers in every part of the islands. Since then, she has traveled the country to bring a Native Hawaiian face in the fight to eliminate HIV stigma and transphobia and to build equitable rights and opportunities for all marginalized communities. She has worked as a consultant for many organizations across the United States helping develop programs and services based in harm reduction and inclusion of people with what some would consider social disparities. She is currently the Harm Reduction Services & Community Engagement Manager at the Hawaii Island HIV AIDS Foundation. She stays deeply connected to her Hawaiian roots and fights for Native Hawaiian land and cultural protections, including the protection of sacred spaces for all indigenous populations. Keiva is also an award winning hula dancer and continues her journey to accomplish her studies in dancing, chanting, and Hawaiian language.

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