Episode 144: On Immigration, Compassion, & Complexity with Cynthia Vanderpool Desalegn

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On this throwback episode of Mama Bear Dares, Leslie and Tesi talk to Cynthia Vanderpool Desalegn about immigration, advocacy, and neighborliness. Cynthia, mom to two children and an immigration lawyer, explains what it's like to be on the front lines of immigration in America. Together, the three dig into the immigration process, compassion fatigue, and the complexities of the system of immigration. Cynthia offers a look into a fascinating world, gently educating us and encouraging us to live our lives well.

Other points discussed:

  • Her journey and the draw to immigration law
  • The very real perils of compassion fatigue
  • The necessity of Mama Bear boundaries
  • Immigration in the current political landscape
  • A breakdown of immigration and a simplified answer to the question, How does it work?
  • Are community and connection antidotes to fear and rhetoric?
  • How do you begin to know your neighbor?


The novel Americannah, written by the fabulous Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a fantastic depiction of an immigration experience in our current culture. Read it! :-)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies has a few great Ted Talks. Click here to view a favorite!

Episode 17 | Episode 3

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Cynthia mentions reading The Enchantress of Florence. You can find it HERE.

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Thanks to Wunderkind for the fabulous beats!