a podcast by and about women
a podcast by and about women
Tes is a long-time blogger and foodie. For the past 10 years, she’s focused her blog and work around women’s issues. This is her long-form interview podcast. She’s lined up women activists and volunteers from around the world to tell their stories and the stories of the women they work with.
This week marks r(E)volutionary Woman’s 1 year anniversary. Since airing this podcast a year ago, many of my guests have gone on to create incredible initiatives that are benefiting their communities. With that in mind, I thought I would invite my very first guest from a year ago, Cynthia Changyit Levin, to talk about what she’s been up to since she was on my show. Cynthia is a mother, advocate, writer, and speaker. A rare breed of non-partisan activist who works across a variety of issues, she coaches volunteers of all ages to build productive relationships with members of Congress. She advocated side-by-side with her two children from their toddler to teen years and crafted a new approach to advocacy based upon her strengths as a mother. Cynthia’s writing and work has appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, the Washington Post, and many other national and regional publications. She received the 2021 Cameron Duncan Media Award from RESULTS Educational Fund for her citizen journalism on poverty issues. When she’s not changing the world, Cynthia is usually curled up reading sci-fi/fantasy novels or comic books in which someone else is saving the world.
To learn more about Cynthia Changyit Levin:
Author of forthcoming book “From Changing Diapers to Changing the World: Why Moms Make Great Advocates and How to Get Started” launching February 2022!
Ginger Leopoldo – Founding Member of Pintig Cultural Group & Artistic Director of CIRCA (Center for Immigrant Resources & Community Arts)
Today, Tes talks with Ginger Leopoldo. Ginger is an educator, actor, director, and community organizer. She is a proud founding member of Pintig Cultural Group and the founding Artistic Director of the Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts (CIRCA). Her work includes performing, directing, producing, and facilitating theatre productions and workshops of all ages. Ginger has helped to create a youth heritage curriculum with techniques that utilize a basic integrated theatre arts workshop methodology, as well as a facilitator of Activism & Art workshops for college students. She received her B.A. and M.A. in theater from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ginger has collaborated with other theatre organizations around Chicago such as Old World Theatre Company and A-Squared Theatre Workshop. With over 20 years of experience as an educator and literacy coach for public school teachers through a nonprofit that engages at-risk youth with arts-based literacy programs, she has also been the Program Director for America’s Children’s Museum on Wheels: StoryBus, delivering an interactive hands-on literacy experience for young learners throughout Chicago. Most recently she has taught ESL to students in China and is an adjunct lecturer with the ESL program at the University of the Potomac. In 2020, she led CIRCA Pintig to adjust to global virtual events and productions for the community. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organizational and educational leadership.
To learn more about Ginger Leopoldo:
The Center for Immigrant Resources and Community Arts – Pintig, or CIRCA-Pintig (CP) for short, is a 30-year Chicago-based organization whose mission is to engage community members in addressing critical needs of immigrant communities in creative, participatory, and empowering ways. As its name underscores, CP’s mission is two-pronged. The Immigrant Resources (IR) focus is on providing much-needed resources and services as well as access to these through grassroots activities and campaigns primarily for, from, and by immigrant communities. The Community Arts (CA) focus is on developing, nurturing, and popularizing community arts aesthetic and pedagogy that speaks of the immigrant experience within the changing multicultural American landscape as well as celebrating the histories and artistic legacies of America’s diverse cultural terrain through participatory art creation. Pintig is a Filipino term for “heartbeat” or “pulse”. CP’s almost three-decade practice and tradition were borne out of and honed through Pintig’s active cultural work since 1991. CP’s work may be summed up in three foundational principles – educate-organize-mobilize (E-O-M).
Vision: We believe in the power of the arts for engaging community members in building and nurturing thriving communities that are fully empowered to determine their collective destinies. Our vision of a just and humane society rests upon our core belief that our communities can play a significant role and can contribute meaningfully towards upholding human rights for all and uplifting the human ideals that value life, freedom, justice and nurture individual human potentials to the fullest.
Mission: In the light of our vision, we will educate, mobilize, and organize community members, primarily immigrants and their families, through community arts-based and community-centered intergenerational programs and services.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/circapintigtheatre
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnFfHeOUDlePtzh9Yb8p98Q
Today, Tes talks with Rita Dave. Rita is a first generation immigrant who arrived from India at the age of 7 years old. After graduating from Queens College with a Psychology undergraduate degree, she attended New York Law School and began practicing law in 1992. Having always worked for lawyers since the age of 14, she’s participated in large tort and products liability litigation, and as a lawyer, her practice includes real estate, estate and immigration. She received an honor in the United States Congress and this tribute was read into the record on the floors of Congress. Rita’s dedication to justice resulted in her practice focusing on actual innocence work, and she strives to help those who are innocent, falsely accused and wrongfully convicted to regain their freedom. Her mission is to see that there is in fact true justice and that “presumption of innocence” is not just a premise but a reality.
To learn more about Rita Dave:
Today, Tes talks with Melissa DuPrey. Melissa is a multidisciplinary artist with roots from Humboldt Park, Chicago. After earning double Bachelor degrees from the University of Houston, she returned to Chicago to join the all-Latina theatre company, Teatro Luna. Her one-woman show, SEXomedy (2012), was developed during their monthly series for women of color in the arts and received a Chicago Reader Recommendation, a Member’s Pick, and had a successful debut Off-Broadway in New York. The popular show spurred a progressive sequel, SEXomedy 2.0, which debuted at Steppenwolf Theater in April 2019. Her second solo show, SUSHI-frito, has also been critically acclaimed as part of MPAACT’s Signature Series for solo artists. In 2014, she was selected as a new talent in the ABC Diversity Showcase in New York City. DuPrey is also a community organizer and spiritualist who also launched The Good Grief Project- an extension of the social justice component from her play GOOD GRIEF, where communities of color are connected to local, accessible and multidisciplinary mental and spiritual wellness practitioners of color. Her full-length play BRUJAJA was selected as part of 16th Street’s New Play Pop Up Reading Series for 2019 and is slated for a world premiere in 2021 with UrbanTheater Company. She has performed stand-up comedy in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. She is a featured actor in the Emmy-nominated web-series Brown Girls and has many regional and non regional theater credits in Chicago. She can currently be seen as DR. SARA ORTIZ on “Grey’s Anatomy” (Season 17 and 18). Other TV credits include a recurring appearance on “Empire” (FOX), and guest appearances on “The Resident” (FOX), “Chicago PD” (NBC), and “The Chi” (Showtime). Film credits include: Relative (2022), Long Division (2022), Cherry (2020), Two in the Bush (2017), The Way We Speak (2014) and Bromance (2014). As a musician and active member of her community, she is dedicated to the preservation of Puerto Rican culture by way of the folkloric music, Bomba y Plena, with Africaribe and Las BomPleneras. She is currently an Ensemble Member at UrbanTheater Company and Artistic Associate at Sideshow Theater.
To learn more about Melissa DuPrey:
Twitter & IG: @BoomBoomDuPrey
Chicago Sun Times coverage for Grey’s Anatomy
Review of Good Grief- A healing experience
Please and Resistance in the face of Patriarchy
Coverage of The Chicago Women’s March and critique of lack of inclusivity
Centering Black and Brown Narratives in Chicago as ED of Social Justice Theater
Khem Khoeun – Skokie Village Trustee; President of the National Cambodian Heritage Museum & Killing Fields Memorial
Today, Tes talks with Khem Khoeun. Trustee Khoeun has lived in Skokie since 2005 and was elected to the Village Board in 2021. When initially elected to the Skokie Park District Board in 2017, she became the first Cambodian-American woman elected to public office in the United States. Trustee Khoeun holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work with a minor in Political Science from Loyola University, Chicago. She is a Certified SAFe Product Owner/Manager and, in 2018, received a Courage & Leadership Award from the Devata Giving Circle. In addition to serving as a Commissioner and Vice-President on the Skokie Park District Board from 2017 to 2021, her numerous civic involvements include serving as a member of the Fairview Parent Equity Group and a volunteer with the Asian American Caucus. Trustee Khoeun also serves on the Board of Directors for the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic.
Having been born in a refugee camp to Cambodian refugee parents, she currently serves as the President of the National Cambodian Heritage Museum & Killing Fields Memorial. She and her husband chose to live in Skokie to raise their children, now ages 9 and 11.
Trustee Khoeun enjoys Skokie’s ease of access to the expressway and public transit, the excellent schools, beautiful parks, affordable homes and the great diversity that all make Skokie a welcoming, safe place to live.
To learn more about Khem Khoeun:
Twitter & IG: @friendsofkhem
Today, Tes talks with Patricia Pastor. Patricia is a human rights attorney focused on immigration law and sexual assault law. Her work includes representing unaccompanied youth immigrants fleeing their countries due to gang violence, poverty, injustice, political and religious persecution. She pursues the release of detained migrants and works with families seeking permanent residency based on marriage and family relationships.
Patricia pursues justice for survivors of sexual assault and harassment. She has a long-
standing commitment to combating violence against women. Her work is informed by
her prior experience investigating child sexual and physical abuse allegations for the
NYPD and her history as a general counsel overseeing employment investigations.
As Legislative Lead for NOW NYS and President of Nassau NOW, Patricia has been
instrumental in promoting the election of women who demonstrate the values of equity
for all and ethical leadership. She petitions for legislation on issues critical to women and marginalized communities. Possessing a deep sense of justice for these communities, Patricia regularly contributes pro bono legal services in immigration, at U.S. borders, and to victims of domestic violence.
To learn more about Patricia Pastor:
Twitter: @2020TimesUp and @NowNassau