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

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