Throwback Thursday: Rising Up with Paola Mendoza

Throwback Thursday: Rising Up with Paola Mendoza

 

 

In the wake of the reversal of Roe v Wade, 49 years since women finally received the constitutional right to abortion, women across the country are rising up to have our voices heard. I knew this moment called for bringing back this powerful 2017 conversation with mother, filmmaker, author, and activist Paola Mendoza.

This interview occurred just over five years ago, months after the first Women’s March, which Paola helped create as their Artistic Director, and days before the Day Without a Woman Strike. As this episode reaches you, women are preparing to gather in Washington D.C. again in another mass protest. Whether or not we go to a protest, I hope this conversation reinspires us to get active again, participate and lead the political charge. Because as Paola tells us “we need to remember we have the power to create the world that we want but we all have to be engaged.”

You can listen to Paola’s abortion story here which she tells in a video series from The Meteor, a collective of writers, filmmakers, organizers, and artists who are committed to moving the world forward against injustice.

Just before the 2020 election, I had the honor of interviewing Paola again with the co-author Abby Sher, of her thought-provoking novel Sanctuary. You can listen to that powerful episode next here.

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The profound impact her mother had on Paola’s life, and what it was like to tell her mother’s courageous story as an immigrant to the U.S., in her film Entre Nos
  • Paola’s way of connecting with her son through “Adventure Fridays”
  • The role of art and activism in growing compassion in other people
  • The importance of emphasizing both what you stand for and also what you stand against
  • With privilege comes responsibility, and how Paola hopes to teach her son to sacrifice his privilege to help other people
  • Ultimately, it’s not about falling or failing, it’s about how you rise up and how Paola’s metaphor of “running a relay” sustains her activism
  • Paola’s challenge to us to “participate”…to get involved in a local issue and attend a town hall meeting during the next congressional recess.

Full Episode Show Notes

Check out the full shownotes from the original episode here: Ep 16: Rising Up with Paola Mendoza

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/ 

Throwback Thursday: A Call for Kinetic Partnership with While Black’s Darius Hicks

Throwback Thursday: A Call for Kinetic Partnership with While Black’s Darius Hicks

 

 

For this Throwback Thursday, just after Father’s Day, I knew I wanted to bring you this episode with my friend, an incredible father and podcaster at the While Black Podcast, Darius Hicks.

This past week in the United States, in addition to Father’s Day, we also acknowledged Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) an annual commemoration of the effective end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War. It came when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to ensure all those enslaved were freed, a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. It’s considered the longest-running African American holiday and last year in 2021 became a federal holiday.

For those of us who are not Black, Juneteenth is an opportunity to learn more about the history of slavery, to reflect on how much more is needed for Black people to be truly free in this country, and to recommit to antiracism.

Just over a month since a white gunman killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent U.S. history, this conversation with Darius is a necessary call to action to learn more and identify how we can be part of the change that is needed.

Darius gifted us with exceptional insight, perspective, and vulnerability in this conversation. I’m honored to share it with you again.

So join us in this episode as we celebrate amazing fathers all over the world!

About Darius:

Darius has always displayed an entrepreneurial and activist spirit. Since his youth, he has dedicated his time to those around him in hopes of bettering them while he better himself. It began by volunteering as a camp counselor from middle school through high school, and grew via mentorship and tutoring in college all the way to his membership role in the 100 Black Men and as an advocate for African Americans through his work on the While Black Podcast. Vince wholeheartedly believes James Baldwin’s quote “To be Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be a rage almost all the time”. However, he chooses to channel that rage into a place that allows him to change the narrative on black folks while he helps to empower those same black folks

Earning his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Southern University A&M in Baton Rouge LA (1999) and his MBA from Queens University in Charlotte NC (2005), Vince has gained valuable experience in multiple industries

He has excelled in multiple industries and enjoyed a career spanning 20+ years with opportunities in Engineering, Consumer packaged goods, Corporate retail giants, and now the Social/tech industry

In addition, he is a successful entrepreneur and founder of Aveo Big and Tall Golf Apparel which rose to become the #1 big and tall golf apparel offering in Golfsmith stores and was distributed nationally and internationally via various outlets including but not limited to Dicks Sporting Good, GolfSmith, and Golf Galaxy. He has since sold the rights to the Aveo name and divested from the company.

However, he has altered his focus by aligning his passions with his promise and ensuring his time is invested accordingly as he focuses on improving the black world and the global community through and with black people. His latest endeavor is laser-focused on impacting and improving the people around him. Specifically, he is the creator and co-host of the While Black Podcast a podcast focused on empowering, educating, and inspiring African Americans to go and grow. While Black tells stories by, from, and for African Americans and pairs those stories with expert and credible guests who can communicate wisdom and success strategies helping us to achieve, accomplish, and overcome.

Connect with Darius:

 

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The universal language and common connection among mothers of all races and how Darius and I both believe mothers will be critical to making change 
  • Darius’ quest to be authentically who he is as a 6’4, 300-pound dark-skinned Black man. How he has struggled to stand tall and shine while also consciously shrinking because people’s first reaction to him is fear  
  • The question about fatherhood Darius asks himself all the time…” How do I raise fearless children when I am a fearful parent?” 
  • A heartbreaking but powerful “epic snapshot moment” with his son made Darius realize his words were getting through to him and that his son would be part of making change
  • How those committed to anti-racism and new to this can begin and the reason why Darius seeks “partnership” over saviorism or “help”
  • The three-fold challenge Darius gave us, including the specific movies that Darius thinks we should all watch to shift our understanding and perspective
  • How we all need each other to get free

 

Resources Mentioned

 

This Episode’s Challenge:

Darius gave us a threefold challenge:

  1. There is bias inside all of us. We all have it. Try our very best to recognize when our unconscious bias fires. Try to pay attention every time we see or meet a Black person…if our initial intent is to walk in the other direction, stop for a moment and ask yourself why? 
  2. Meet someone new and be the first one to say hello and to really see the humanity in them.
  3. Be more intentional in our actions and in whatever media we digest so that we are aware of what’s really happening and what others are really going through. Specifically, watch the movies American Son, 13th, and When They See Us

 

This Episode is dedicated by: Herve Clermont

Herve Clermont is an actor, voice-over artist, and Host, and was a National brand ambassador for Remy Martin for over 8 years. He discovered his passion for acting at Georgetown University, where he was in school as a pre-med major, and needed to fulfill electives. 

He is the son of a proud Haitian Doctor and nurse, he always joked he “could play one.” He began his professional acting career in 2000 with a contract Role on One Life To Live, and has co-starred and guest-starred on various prime-time shows: Law & Order, CSI Miami, Cane, 24, Criminal Minds, Scandal, Guys with Kids, New Girl, The Mick, NCIS, NCIS LA, Dice, Veronica Mars, Mr. Iglesias, and many others. 

Herve has been recurring on John Singleton’s Snowfall for the last 3 seasons, before landing a series cast member on Tyler Perry’s Ruthless. His voice-over career includes announcing at celebrity fund-raisers, branding and promotional videos, industrials, and promotional TV and radio commercials, including ones for Beyonce, an international Jazz festival, and currently is the voice behind Cintas and on camera. 

Herve’s hosting experience includes live events with BMW, VH-l, Harmon/ Kardon, and Remy Martin. He has also worked on a pilot in front of the camera as a Studio host in the entertainment industry, interviewing celebrities and keeping the audience up-to-date with the latest entertainment news.

Visit The J.E. Clermont Foundation Hope for the Children of Haiti for more about the Foundation that furthers Herve’s father’s legacy

Instagram @Plantinghopela – to learn about Herve’s wife’s venture that creates beautiful plants with contributions supporting the Foundation in Haiti and charitable efforts in LA.

Full Episode Show Notes

Check out the full shownotes from the original episode here: Ep 75: A Call for Kinetic Partnership with While Black’s Darius Hicks

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/ 

Different is not Deficient with Normal Sucks Author Jonathan Mooney

Different is not Deficient with Normal Sucks Author Jonathan Mooney

 

 

Welcome to this year’s special Father’s Day episode with Jonathan Mooney, an amazing father who is also a dyslexic writer, speaker, activist, and self-described “do-gooder.” Jonathan didn’t learn to read until he was 12-years-old, was told he would be a high school dropout, and end up in jail. But, instead, he forged a path to Brown University where he co-founded an organization and co-wrote a book to help neurodivergent students like himself succeed in college, all on the way to graduating with an honors degree in English.

He’s since become a champion for neurological and physical diversity for more than two decades, and his award-winning advocacy projects have been featured in major media outlets including the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, HBO, NPR, Fast company, and many others.

In this episode, Jonathan goes deep and wide about the pervasive impact of institutionalized and cultural ableism and his quest to help himself and others with differences understand they are not deficient. We hear the powerful story of Jonathan’s own mother and how she inspired him to reframe his language and his thinking about his differences. And Jonathan walks us through how systemic change can not only make our world more inclusive for people with differences, but through universal design, make things better for everyone.

You’ll want to listen to this episode with a pen and paper, prepare to rewind and listen again, and then get ready for a part two with Jonathan and my neurodivergent son Ryan. He’s off to college in the fall and eager to learn from Jonathan, not only about how he can thrive but also about how he can use his voice for advocacy and help make his university more inclusive for all.

I hope you enjoy this first of two with Jonathan Mooney and have a wonderful Father’s Day!

About Rob:

Jonathan Mooney is a dyslexic writer and activist who did not learn to read until he was 12 years old. He is a graduate of Brown University and holds an honors degree in English Literature. At Brown, he became the co-founder of Project Eye-To-Eye, a widely duplicated mentoring program for disabled students. He is also a winner of the prestigious Truman Scholarship for graduate studies in creative writing and education and was a national finalist for the Rhodes scholarship.

Jonathan Mooney’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, HBO, NPR, ABC News, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. A nationally recognized advocate for neurological and physical diversity, he’s been speaking across the nation about neurological and physical diversity for two decades, inspiring those who live with differences and calling for change. He has published three books: The Short Bus, Learning Outside the Lines, and Normal Sucks.

Connect with Rob:

 

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • Gratitude for past podcast guest Julie Lythcott-Haims who introduced me and my neurodivergent son Ryan to Jonathan’s latest book and inspired this episode. 
  • Jonathan’s mission to help youth who are different not to feel deficient.
  • How a response from Jonathan’s mother the day he was diagnosed inspired his book’s title Normal Sucks.
  • Jonathan’s square peg in a round hole experience as a child, struggling with dyslexia and ADD, and how he changed his paradigm.
  • The question Jonathan asks himself every day that helps him challenge the myth of human sameness as he parents his three boys.
  • The heroic work of trying to extricate ourselves from our society’s embedded institutionalized and cultural ableism.
  • The problem with accommodation for some models and the power of accommodations for all approaches through universal design.
  • Moving the onus of change from the individual to the system around us
  • A story about Dave Cole, a fellow transfer student at Brown University, who taught Jonathan the power of being authentic. 
  • Jonathan’s commitment to building community pride for people who are neurodivergent and the organization Eye to Eye he co-created with Dave Cole in college with this mission.
  • The letter Jonathan writes to his boys in his book that had me in tears as we closed the episode

Stay tuned for a special Part Two conversation with Jonathan and Ryan, who is headed to university in the fall, about how to support neurodivergent students in college.

 

Resources Mentioned

 

This Episode’s Challenge:

​​The judges of normality are present everywhere Jonathan says. Jonathan’s journey of thriving came because somebody, Dave Cole, wouldn’t fake being normal. Jonathan’s challenge to us is to stop faking normal. Celebrate every day and in every person the power of different.

This Episode is dedicated by: Briar Harvey

As a storyteller and systems witch for more than a decade, Briar has helped so many people figure out what their next step is, and how to take life as it comes. With her first book underway, she still continues to write about business, productivity, feminism, trauma, and mental health in her own little corner of the internet.

Connect with Briar:

 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/ 

Throwback Thursday: A Family Legacy of Service and Leadership with California Assemblymember Rob Bonta

Throwback Thursday: A Family Legacy of Service and Leadership with California Assemblymember Rob Bonta

 

 

Hello, and welcome to the second special episode this month of the mother’s quest podcast in honor of Father’s Day! With someone I’ve known and admired for over a decade through our connection as alternatives and action, California Assemblymember Rob Bonta. This month of June has been a time to focus on the amazing fathers in our lives, it’s also been primary election month in many communities. 

When I thought about who I could interview who was both an amazing father and committed to a life of public service, Rob immediately came to mind when we pressed record on this interview. Rob has just been elected for a fourth term to the California state assemblies 18th district, where he represents the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro and in 2012 became the first Filipino American legislator in the 165-year history of California.

So join us in this episode as we celebrate amazing fathers all over the world!

About Rob:

From a young age, Rob saw and experienced firsthand how those with limited power and wealth were so frequently cheated and taken advantage of by those who hold both. With his parents teaching him that harm against one is a crime to all, Rob made the decision to become a public servant– serving justice for those that hailed from his circumstances.

Growing up and becoming a legislator, Rob rose to become a national leader on criminal justice issues and is the first Filipino-American to serve as California’s Attorney General.

Connect with Rob:

 

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The activist and public service seeds were planted in Rob and his siblings from his parents and Rob’s E.P.I.C. snapshop childhood memories in the presence of César Chávez and organizing for Mexican American Farmworkers’ rights.
  • How Rob’s parents fled the Philippines for the security of the family before the Martial Law era of Ferdinand Marcos
  • The way that Rob and his wife, Mialisa, make time for each child and share with their kids what they love and care
  • The many causes Rob is championing in his role as Assemblymember.
  • Rob’s position on the gravity of solving the problem of police violence in our country, an exploration of two new California bills aimed at reducing police violence, and the requests I made of Rob to go further in his commitment.
  • How being in his home community restores and fulfills Rob and how his love of soccer, since the days that he served as captain of Yale’s Soccer team,  continues to be a way that Rob invests in his own well-being.
  • Rob and Mialisa’s love story, how they continue staying together, and the extended family that supports them
  • Rob’s awareness that this interview provided an opportunity to “Get off of the dance floor and onto the balcony” to survey the big picture and reflect
  • What Rob really thinks is the enemy of democracy and his challenge for all of us

 

Full Episode Show Notes

Check out the full shownotes from the original episode here: Ep 44: A Family Legacy of Service and Leadership with California Assemblymember Rob Bonta

 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/ 

Throwback Thursday: From Grief to Advocacy and a Circle of Mothers with Trayvon Martin’s Mother Sybrina Fulton

Throwback Thursday: From Grief to Advocacy and a Circle of Mothers with Trayvon Martin’s Mother Sybrina Fulton

 

 

This Throwback Thursday, in the wake of the recent horrific gun violence in Buffalo, Uvalde, and countless other cities across the country, I knew I needed to bring forward this special episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast with mother, activist, and co-founder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, Sybrina Fulton.

The tragic news has felt all the more real because I recently returned from Sybrina Fulton’s Circle of Mothers Healing Retreat in Florida. I volunteered as an Ambassador for the second time since the original recording of this episode, alongside my sister Caren Lettiere, bringing Democracy Clothing jeans for each of the 70 mothers who came to find solidarity and empowerment among others who also lost a child to gun violence.

Together, we witnessed their tears and heard their stories. There are no words to describe the heartache that stays with them. But what brought Caren and I hope is that we also witnessed their resilience and their power. So many like Sybrina, have found ways to turn pain into purpose. They shouldn’t need to do this. Or be expected to do this. But they do anyway.

In honor of Circle of Mothers, Caren and the Democracy team have been inviting customers to add on donations to any purchase to the Trayvon Martin Foundation at their website to support the event. I also had the opportunity to write a blog post featuring Sybrina’s story of the impact on the Democracy blog, linked here.

I’m deeply committed to continuing to raise awareness and funds through a GoFundMe I set up years ago here. As we’re all feeling helpless in the wake of continued violence, I encourage you to join me in listening to Sybrina’s story, reading the post linked above, and investing in the mothers impacted most by grief. They are also closest to forging a solution.

 

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • What Sybrina wishes everyone would know about approaching a conversation with a mother who has lost a child.
  • My then 14-year-old son’s question to Sybrina about what it feels like when your calling and the powerful work you’re doing is sparked by a tremendous loss.
  • Why we need systemic and cultural change, and more awareness-raising conversations, to keep young people of color safe from racial profiling.
  • The tragic death of Chinedu Okobi, an unarmed young black man who was tasered to death by San Mateo County deputies, just 20 minutes from my own home.
  • The importance for grieving mothers to remember the things that they used to love and what Sybrina’s joyful outlet is
  • The Circle of Mothers and how the idea to create it came to Sybrina in a dream.
  • Sybrina’s challenge for all of us is to open our hearts and to reach out to mothers, across differences, who have lost their children to let them know we care.
  • Why investing in mothers is the most powerful lever to impact gun control.

 

Full Episode Show Notes

Check out the full shownotes from the original episode here: Ep 55: From Grief to Advocacy and a Circle of Mothers with Trayvon Martin’s Mother Sybrina Fulton

 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/