Paola Mendoza: Using Art to Spark Social Change


“No matter where they were born, no matter what borders they cross, they are still children. And because they are children, their human right is to remain with their parents.”

Sandy Santana, Executive Director of Children’s Rights, spoke with artist and activist Paola Mendoza about her work advocating on behalf of immigrants in the US. Paola, who immigrated to the country at the age of 3 with her family, responded to Trump’s new policy separating immigrant children from their parents with her “I Am a Child” photo series, which draws inspiration from the iconic 1968 photo “I Am a Man.”

With immigrant children forcefully separated from their families every day, Sandy and Paola touch on the urgency of creating political change. Like artists of the Civil Rights era, Paola says that artists can change the world by changing hearts and minds.

Listen to the conversation here.

Paola Mendoza is a film director, activist and author. She was a co-founder of the Women’s March and served as the Artistic Director of the march. Paola is a critically acclaimed film director. Her films have continually tackled the effects of poverty and immigration on women and children in the United States. Her award-winning movies have premiered at the most prestigious film festivals around the world. She was named one of Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces of Independent Film and she is a Tribeca All Access, Film Independent and Independent Film Week fellow. She is a co-founder of The Soze Agency and has been the creative director for campaigns fighting for immigration reform, criminal justice reform, incarcerated mother’s and women’s rights. She is a co-founder and a member of the critically acclaimed, Resistance Revival Chorus. Most recently she co-authored the New York Times best seller, Together We Rise. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.