The value of putting yourself in someone else’s perspective, with compassion, is something that this week’s guest, filmmaker and activist Paola Mendoza, consciously creates through her storytelling.
And, boldly moving forward through difficult times is something Paola talks passionately about– as she reflects on how she moved from feelings of failure after the election and rose up, channelling those emotions into a passionate co-creation of the Women’s March–what became the largest world-wide gathering in history.
In addition to being a key organizer and the Artistic Director of the Women’s March on Washington, Paola is an acclaimed actress, director, screenwriter, and author.
She was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces of Independent Film for her body of work which includes Refinery 29, BROKEN TAIL LIGHT, FREE LIKE THE BIRDS, and Z for ZENDAYA. She made her narrative directorial debut with the film she wrote, starred in and co-directed about her mother, Entre Nos, which had its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Honorable Mention.
Entre Nos told the deeply personal story of Paola, her brother, and her mother’s journey as immigrants to the United States from Colombia and the challenges they experienced. It went on to win over twenty awards at film festivals from around the world and ultimately became the novel, The Ones Who Don’t Stay.
Paola shares about the impact her mother had on her, what it was like to tell her mother’s story, the role of art in building compassion, and what it means to step into activism from a place of love, and the things you stand for, but also for what you boldly stand against.
We spent time talking about moving past fear, sacrificing your privilege, and teaching your children to do the same in order to help others.
These were things Paola powerfully demonstrated just two days after we recorded this interview, when she was arrested for civil disobedience at the Day Without a Woman strike in New York City.
Paola is a strong force but also has a softness about her, which comes through as she talks about her relationship with her four year old son, Mateo, how time with him is part of her self-care, and how they spend what they call “Adventure Fridays” together. I heard about her solid partnership with fellow activist, entrepreneur and storyteller Michael Skolnik and about the E.P.I.C. snapshot moment Michael captured of Paola taking in all she created the day of the Women’s March in D.C.
Looking back, I’m amazed that Paola was so present during her conversation with me given what she was in the midst of organizing just days later. I could tell she did so because she wanted me and those listening to know how important it is to take action based on our beliefs, that activism takes many shades and forms, and that with privilege comes tremendous responsibility to participate in our political system and stand for social justice.
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.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Entre Nos, Paola stars in this film (which she also wrote and directed) based on her family’s experiences of coming to the United States from Colombia
The Ones Who Don’t Stay, Paola’s novel which came from the film Entre Nos
This article where Paola talks about the Women’s March being about what we are for
Ep 06: Healthy and Happy with Dr. Elisa Song where we talk about “special time” with our children
A Quote by Audre Lorde: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” More About Audre Lorde & Audre Lorde’s Work
Indivisible, a website by former Congressional staffers who reveal best practices for making Congress listen
Focus on our Goodness: A Framework for my Activism Inspired by my Four-year Old
My recent solocast where I talk about wanting to step more into activism and why I reached out to Paola here
If you haven’t yet visited the website, I want to invite you to head over to mothersquest.com to explore some of the ways you can get more connected. At the site, you can sign up for our email list to have show notes delivered to your inbox, click the link to join the Facebook group and press record to leave a voice message for me.
Help me Create the Finale!! – I would love to hear which are your favorite moments from the podcast and how what you are hearing and learning is impacting your E.P.I.C. life. I plan to highlight those moments from the different episodes, and your voices, in the season finale coming in early April. So do head over to mothersquest.com and use the voice message tool to tell me who you are, your favorite moment, and the impact it has had on you.
Finally, I invite you to schedule a free 15 minute planning session where I can help you bring more intention to your life using the Live Your E.P.I.C. Life Planning and Reflection Sheets which you can download for FREE at www.mothersquest.com/reflectionsheets. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set a time.
A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial support:
- Divya Silbermann who dedicated this week’s episode
- Rachel Winter
- Caren and Debbie Lieberman
- Cameron Miranda
- Fran and David Lieberman
- Debbie and Alan Goore
- Jenise and Marianne of the Sustainable Living Podcast
Want to join the patrons above and help support more meaningful conversations such as these? Visit the Mother’s Quest Patreon Page to become a regular patron or visit this link www.mothersquest.com/be-a-supporter to make a one-time donation.
If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at email@example.com
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/
Subscribe to the Podcast! We are available in these channels: