COFA Alliance National Network (CANN)

Point of Contact

  • David Anitok; Co-Founder and Community Organizer
  • Contact Information: danitok@cann.us (preferred), 503-428-2611
  • Location: CANN’s headquarters are in Salem, OR. David works in Seattle, WA, and is starting a CANN-WA chapter in Seattle.

Website: cann.us

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COFA Alliance National Network (CANN) was formed in 2014, and is dedicated to advocating for the people of three Pacific Island nations (The Republic of Palau, The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Federated States of Micronesia). These countries have a unique agreement with the United States called the Compact of Free Association (COFA). The primary goal of the organization is to seek social and economic justice under the law for all COFA residents in Oregon and throughout the 50 states and its territories.  

The Compact of Free Association is an agreement in which the United States provides financial assistance to COFA countries (The Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia) in exchange for US defense rights to the air, land, and seas surrounding the three nations as well as substantial recruitment of COFA community members into the US Armed Force. It also allows COFA residents to live and work in the United States. However, COFA community members lack basic support and resources such as Medicaid and food stamps.

David Kona Anitok was born in Minnesota and raised in Majuro, Marshall Islands. He has been a community organizer with the Marshallese community since 2010. David was president of the Oregon Marshallese Community from 2010-2016, is a co-founder of CANN, and previously served as a consultant to the RMI National Nuclear Commission. 

Successes

  • In 2013, David organized COFA communities in Oregon and passed the first COFA legislation to restore COFA drivers licenses from 1 year to 8 years.
  • Since 2014, David Co-Founded the COFA Alliance National Network , passed 6 COFA legislations without any negative votes in Oregon State, and helped start COFA Alliance chapters in Texas and Washington.
  • In 2017, David led the successful campaign with COFA communities to pass legislation in Washington State to promote access to health care for islanders and ensure that Marshall Islanders have the same access to health care as United States citizens residing in WA.  This was followed by passing the first COFA Dental Care program in the State of Washington in 2018.

Current Projects

  • David is currently working to implement the health and dental care bills that passed in WA and OR, to ensure that COFA Islanders in these states can meet their health care needs.
  • David serves as a COFA Trusted Advisor with Asian Pacific Islands American Health Forum (APIAHF.org) to introduce federal legislation to ensure that Freely Associated States communities across the United States have access to adequate health care: S.2218, Covering our FAS Allies Act and H.R 4821 COFA Act.
  • Work on local projects to promote and preserve Marshallese culture in Washington, in partnership with 4Culture, Burke Museum, White Valley River Museum, Marshallese grassroots and faith based organizations, and other institutions such as City of Auburn Mayor’s office.

Opportunities for Collaboration

  • Supporting advocacy efforts for S.2218 and H.R 4821 in Congress.
  • Helping to raise awareness and educate the public about the Marshallese community and their nuclear legacy. 
  • Contact David via email at danitok@cann.us to support local COFA Projects in Washington, Oregon, Texas, and other states.
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