Love, solidarity & mutual aid with Kalaya'an Mendoza (62 mins)


A Good Refugee pod welcomes a new co-host: Tenzin Choeyang!

In this episode, we speak with Kalaya’an Mendoza about his work as an election defender (8:20); mutual aid and community justice in the time of COVID and state violence (12:20); how Kalaya’an got involved with the Tibetan freedom movement (30:20); weaponization of non-violence (44:00); and much more.

Bio: Kalaya’an Mendoza [He/Him/Siya] resides on occupied Lenape territory. He is a Queer, Hard of Hearing Filipino American organizer and human rights activist who has been engaged in nonviolent civil resistance for the past two decades. His work is currently focused on voter protection, community defense and tactical safety and security training in the lead up and aftermath of the 2020 election. He is the co-founder of Across Frontlines, an organization that works alongside frontline human rights defenders to keep their communities safe from state and non state actor violence.


Episode notes

  • Tenzin Choeyang intro. [00:30]

  • Kalaya’an Mendoza intro. [03:10]

  • Kala’s work during the U.S. elections. [05:50]

  • Self-care as an election defender. [08:20]

  • How is mutual aid operating during this time? [12:20]

  • How to separate electoral work from the work of decolonization, police abolition, etc. [17:30]

  • Organizing from a space of abundance vs scarcity. [22:10]

  • Naruto runs and Avatar bending as resistance. [28:40]

  • What drew Kala to the Tibetan cause. [30:20]

  • How to resist the unrelenting rise of neoliberal power as an organizer. [38:30]

  • Is non-violence civil resistance the best path forward? [44:00]

  • Kala’s action during Beijing Olympics 2018. [47:15]

  • Kala’s current projects. [54:05]

  • How Kala developed practice of self-care and community care. [55:55]


Across Frontlines