Episode 219: Love & Letters with Ashley Asti

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On Episode 219 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie sit down with Ashley Asti, a woman who is using her Mama Bear to form relationships with men and women incarcerated in our country. Ashley became a pen-pal to over 30 prisoners and extends her spirit and care as someone who teaches and encourages women in prison to put pen to paper and express themselves through writing. The women discuss mass incarceration, Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, the lost art of letter writing, and poetry as activism. Ashley is a powerhouse of love and compassion and her intentionality and thoughtfulness extends into her skincare line as well, which is also discussed on the podcast.

Get to know Ashley and explore her books and products on her website: AshleyAst.com

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Episode 217: Learning Cultural Competency with Huda Essa

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On Episode 217 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie sit down with Huda Essa, an extraordinary woman who uses her training and experience to educate and influence communities across the nation as a Cultural Competency Consultant. Huda is a TEDx speaker and the author of a motivational children's book, Teach Us Your Name, which is focused on empowering children to take pride in their many identities while showing respect for themselves and others. Throughout the conversation, the three women discuss the importance of recognizing personal biases, understanding the influence of our culture, and the small yet profound steps all of us can take in order to promote a more accepting and inclusive world.

Find Huda online: TEDx TALK | Website | Book | Facebook | Instagram

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Episode 215: A Response to Floods & Fear

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On Episode 215 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Tesi and Leslie devote their Mama Bear Mini to talking about terrorism, what it is, who is committing acts of terror, and how the media, politicians, and our culture contribute to how we view the topic. It’s an interesting discussion that’s less about actual acts of terrorism and more about the way this modern threat shapes the way we think and the way we live our lives. Leslie also reports on the flooding in the Midwest. This episode is a bit intense, but as always, the sisters do their best to educate and inspire.

Links: Charles Grassley | Article

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Episode 214: Rachel Held Evans, 1981-2019

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On Episode 213 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie and Tesi re-release an episode that aired last summer with the late Rachel Held Evans. The two struggle to say goodbye to this thinker, writer, and modern-day prophet. Rachel was someone both women looked up to immensely and the sisters grieve at her passing. During this conversation, Tesi and Rachel talk about the faith, justice, and a Mama Bear's response to the world we live in. They specifically dive into Rachel's book, Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again, and wade through new answers to age-old questions like: How do you love your neighbor when you vehemently disagree with their beliefs? How do you overcome personal insecurities and be an advocate for truth and justice? What can we learn from the bible about satire, resistance, peace, and cultural disruption? Leslie and Tesi will spend the week mourning the loss of this sister and fellow Mama Bear. They hope listeners will continue to read Rachel’s books and blogs and be challenged to think about how faith and culture drive their perspective and how their response can bend toward justice, liberation, and love.

Also discussed on this episode:

  • The historical and modern-day challenge of struggling with a powerful and oppressive empire

  • New ways to find comfort in ancient texts

  • How can a collection of books be used for both oppression and love?

  • Reading the bible through a lens of liberation

  • The story of Esther (spoiler: this tale might sound familiar in its depiction of racism, narcissism, and the spoils of power)

  • How to overcome deep insecurities and speak your truth

  • How to be an ally and an advocate

  • How motherhood shapes faith

LINKS:

Support the GoFundMe Page for Rachel’s Family | Rachel’s obituary | Buy her books! (And then read the BIBLIOGRAPHY for more reading!) | This post is referenced in the podcast | Also mentioned in the podcast was this book, Womanist Midrash, by Wilda Gafney.

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Episode 213: (S)Heroes: Sudan & She the People

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On Episode 213 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie discuss a few headlines that have their attention lately. They spend the hour looking at politics around the globe and the ways in which women are insisting upon and leading major change. They discuss the female-led protests in Sudan where women have shown up and watched their dictator, Omar Al Bashir, step down from decades of horrific leadership, and the power that women, particularly women of color, have in the upcoming caucus and election here in the States. They encourage listeners to watch for the women around them who are leading us to more love and more compassion and do what they can to lift their sisters up and encourage positive change in all corners of the world.

Sources: She the People : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Sudan: 1 | 2 | 3

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Episode 212: Buy the Change with Jane Mosbacher Morris

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On Episode 212 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Leslie sits down with Jane Mobacher Morris, author of Buy the Change You Want to See and CEO of To the Market, a global company which connects consumers and businesses to ethically made products from all over the world. During the first five years of her career Jane worked in counter-terrorism at the U.S. Department of State, but after a trip to India during which she visited businesses that liberate women from the sex trade and provide a safe work environment in the artisan industry, Jane decided to make her career switch and start her own company. Leslie and Jane discuss her fascinating journey, their shared belief of the power each of us holds in our pockets books, and explore practical tips and actionable advice for becoming a more informed consumer and how to use our purchasing power for good.

Learn more about Jane Mosbacher Morris and To the Market!

Website | Instagram | Book | Twitter

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Episode 211: Mama Bears Gone Wild

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On Episode 211 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie discuss the college admissions scandal and the influence of wealth, privilege, race, and connection in accessing higher education in America. The two discuss the waste of the mama bear exhibited by the people involved in “Varsity Blues” … and ask themselves hard questions: If we had the wealth and influence, would we do the same? Are there ways in which our mama bear has gone wild in her own unique way? Has she been wasted? The women discuss ways that the mama bear can indeed go wild and how we can actively work on reigning her in when need be. They challenge listeners (and themselves!) to NOT be the ones to use our voices and our rage for those who are already at the top and who are already the benefactors of all the privilege the world offers, but rather use the mama bear on behalf of the truly vulnerable among us.

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Do your Amazon shopping here. It costs you nothing and we get a bit of change from Amazon with each purchase! Yay!

Episode 207: Pantsuit Politics with Beth Silvers & Sarah Stewart Holland

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On Episode 207 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi sits down with the fabulous women of Pantsuit Politics, Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland to talk about the importance of productive political dialogue and how we can be patient, vulnerable, and grace-filled even in the most hot-button conversations. The women discuss their new book, I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening), as well as topics that range from the Dixie Chicks to Covington Catholic High School to the importance of women talking about politics and how to do so with our kids. Listeners will love the spirited dialogue and come away better prepared to engage in the politics and policy that so crucially impact our everyday lives.

Learn more about Beth and Sarah! Website | Book | Podcast | Instagram | Twitter

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Episode 204: On Intersectionality

On Episode 204 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie go back to school to learn more about INTERSECTIONALITY. The co-hosts are earnest in their discussion and do their best to define the term, learn its history, and drive home the importance of considering interectionality in our feminism, advocacy, and march toward justice.

Check out some of the articles and resources mentioned in the podcast:

What is Intersectionality … | 5 Reasons Intersectionality Matters | YouTube Video | Amy Schumer Video | RBG Biography | Grace and Frankie | The Female Persuasion

Listen to Kimberle Crenshaw’s podcast, Intersectionality Matters. Find it HERE.

Listen to Episode 163: Let's Do Better By Black Mothers & Babies: A Look at Racism in the American Healthcare System.

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Episode 202: Can A Mama Bear Get to the Good Place?

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On Episode 202 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, co-hosts Leslie and Tesi talk about their love of Kristen Bell, Maya Rudolph, and The Good Place. Without any spoilers, the two women discuss a quandary presented in Season 3. Can any of us really get to the good place? Are the systems in place keeping us from eternal peace? Is it even possible for a modern-day Mama Bear to be a truly “good” person whose actions reflect her heart? The two women have so many questions and they explore this idea with candor and curiosity. For good measure, the sister-co-hosts end the show with a few segments that listeners are sure to relate to.

Want to learn about Leslie’s Clothing Swap? Click here. | Check out this list of sustainable clothing sources. | Crude Skincare | Argrow’s House | Patagonia | Grund America

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Episode 200: Marie Kondo is a Mama Bear!

On Episode 200 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie talk about the Marie Kondo craze that has so many of us captivated and curious. In true Mama Bear fashion, they provide commentary on Kondo’s Mama Bear methods by acknowledging her sometimes counter-cultural method and her critique of gendered social norms and the excessive consumerism so often exercised in the Western world. The women praise Marie Kondo’s emphasis on gratitude and celebrate her quiet revolution of equality. With a small analysis of the “mental load” so many women share and talk of a little xenophobia thrown in for good measure, the women have a great time discussing the KonMarie method and the layers it entails.

Listen to some of our favorite Mama Bear Minis if you’re looking for cultural commentary on the teens in MAGA hats at the Indigenous Peoples March:

Make America Kind Again | Make America Kind Again, Part II | Boys Will NOT Be Boys | Cultural Appropriation

Watch Kondo work her magic here and check out some our favorite articles responding to the Marie Kondo craze:

Vice | Vice 2 | McSweeneys | NBC | The Atlantic | The Lily | The Huffington Post

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Episode 199: Toxic Masculinity...Again

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On Episode 199 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie celebrate the writers (we see you, Mama Bear marketers!) behind the Gillette Razor commercial and discuss how to talk to those in our lives who disagree or take issue with the message behind the ad. They dive into the cultural waters of toxic masculinity, once again breaking it down and analyzing the rub. How did we get here? How do we do better? How do we talk to people we love about being a woman in this world? The two women share their ideas about the commercial, discuss the government shutdown, and then tackle two listener questions, ultimately leaving listeners with a new dare for a new day.

Want more episodes where the Mama Bears discuss toxic masculinity and how we can do better? Try these!

 Episode 183: Boys will NOT be boys | EPISODE 142: PEACE OUT, PATRIARCHY! (AKA THE HOLIDAY EPISODE!)

EPISODE 134: THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND BEYOND (#METOO) | Episode 67: Rape Culture and Why We Can’t Not Talk About It

Watch the commercial here and read more here.

Listener questions (send yours to mamabeardares@gmail.com!):

  1. I honestly feel continuously stressed. Your podcast helps in that I feel part of a community of people who are all feeling this. But it also brings up even more issues I Didn’t know! It turns out the more you know, the heavier the head. All this to say, I’m so glad I know more about what everyone around me is going through but some days it just feels really overwhelming. How do you stop from feeling that all the time?

  2. How do you balance lifting up the women around you and also holding other women accountable to our highest potential?

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Episode 194: The Criminalization of the Poor (AKA The Holiday Episode!)

On Episode 194 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie discuss the alarming facts pointing to the criminalization and additional hardships on America’s marginalized communities. After exploring the fees that our justice system places on the marginalized, the high cost (and inconvenience) of poverty, the additional scrutiny on the Earned Income Tax Credit by the IRS, and the outright criminalization of our country’s poor, the sisters ask listeners to think about news and the perspectives they encounter critically and to always challenge themselves to spread love and compassion out into the world … during the holiday season and beyond.

You’ll find the links discussed in the podcast here:

Episode 173: The High Cost of Poverty | Jazmine Headley and the Danger of Mothering While Black | Increasing Court Fees Punish the Poor (NPR) | Propublica Article | Jazmine Headley Video

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Episode 193: Food Activism & Climate Change with Helen Defossez

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On Episode 193 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie sit down with Helene Defossez, an an author and activist who leads a group of Mama Bears (les mamans ours!) in her home country of France. The three women jump into a delightful and fierce conversation about food as activism and why eating more veggies and less (or no!) meat is an act of resistance in terms of climate change. The women discuss veganism and the treatment of animals, veganism as an environmental and political practice, and vegetables as a means of improved health. Also discussed is culture and relationship to food and farming practices, compassionate living, and Tesi’s discovery of the garlic press. :-)



Learn more about Helene and find her books on her website. Visit the French Mama Bears on Instagram!

Additional links mentioned in the episode: Cowspiracy | Forks Over Knives | Tesi’s Vegan Pins | The Vegan Matriarch

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Provide Clean Water!

Shop with the Mama Bears this holiday season and 100% of your purchase will go to clean water in rural Tanzania through Empower Tanzania! Shop HERE!

Episode 192: Human Tafficking with Shontell Brewer

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On Episode 192 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie sit down with Shontell Brewer, an incredible woman who is a teacher and mother and a fierce Mama Bear advocate for the growing number of those trafficked in the United States and beyond. Shontell shares stories from the frontlines, provides an education into the issue of sex-ploitation and human trafficking, and offers insight and advice on how to safely navigate technology in the face of predators. The women discuss Shontell’s work as a preventionist for trafficked individuals across the nation, how her skill and passion have aligned to make the world a better place, and the truth that each of us — and all the children we encounter — have worth and that an understanding of that worth could be life-saving.

Find more of Shontell online! Book | Twitter | Website

5 Myths of Human Trafficking

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Buy Jewelry for Clean Water!

Buy beaded jewelry made in Tanzania and support a clean water project that will impact thousands! (Made in Tanzania at a fair wage!)

MAMA BEARS, WE’RE ONLINE! HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN FIND US:

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Do your Amazon shopping here. It costs you nothing and we get a bit of change from Amazon with each purchase! Yay!

Episode 189: Raising Politically Active Kids (and a Midterm Election Re-Cap)

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On Episode 189, Leslie and Tesi talk about the midterm election and their quest to raise politically active kids. They celebrate the nation’s small victories, reiterate their belief that the #babiesgonnasaveus, and leave listeners with a re-cap of the Water Party, an annual event that this year raised nearly $60,000 for clean water solutions in rural Tanzania. This episode is a reminder to listeners that progress is made at a pace that is almost always slow and steady, and encourage all the Fur/Plant/People mama and papas bears out there to keep doing the hard work in the direction of love and compassion.

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Buy Water Party Jewelry HERE!

Help us reach our goal! 100% of your donation goes to a clean water solution in the village of Nadaruru. Learn more about the Mama Bear’s travels to Africa HERE and the Water Party HERE.

MAMA BEARS, WE’RE ONLINE! HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN FIND US:

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Episode 188: Story Telling for Social Change with Jessica Blank

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On Episode 188 of the Mama Bear Dares, Tesi and Leslie sit down with Jessica Blank, a creator, activist, entrepreneur, and mom. As a filmmaker, playwright, director, and actor Jessica has worked Off-Broadway, on network television, and in Hollywood and her groundbreaking, multi-award-winning documentary theater work has helped shape the genre. As an activist and change-maker, she works with progressive candidates and nonprofit leaders to help them use the power of empathy and narrative to radically expand their reach. powerfully uplevel their creativity, and make radically impactful work. Listeners will love Jessica’s mama-bear passion and the stories she tells to inspire us all to use narrative for social change.

Find more of Jessica and her soul-enriching work here on Instagram and her website.

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Episode 186: Feminist Awakening with Libby Babbott-Klein

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On Episode 186 of the Mama Bear Dares podcast, Tesi and Leslie sit down with Libby Babbott-Klein, a producer, author, and creative director with a focus on activist and political content. Libby ran the video department for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection, and launched a feminist jewelry line (Libby B.K.), and for over a decade, she has been creating content that is rooted in social change and entertainment. The women sit and talk about feminism in 2018 and explore the idea of teaching even our youngest children about gender equality.

Follow Libby on Instagram | Buy the book Baby Feminists

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Episode 185: Make America Kind Again, Part II

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On Episode 185 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie re-visit the topic of kindness in America in 2018. Not only do they reiterate the importance of modeling kindness and teaching kindness to the next generation, but they also discuss how to live a healthy life of kindness. Thanks to a listener suggestion, they take a look at Brene Brown’s theory that the most compassionate people are the most boundaried and they discuss how to incorporate healthy boundaries in the Mama Bear life. Also discussed is the very real and very sobering fact that America has historically not ever been kind to certain groups of people. They acknolwedge this blindspot and vow to work even harder to steer the ship away from an undeniably sullied past and toward a kinder, gentler future for ALL people.

LINKS:

Go back and listen to MBD Podcast Episode 181: Make American Kind Again, Part I.

Read Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | A summary of Harvard Study mentioned in the podcast can be found HERE | Greater Good in Action findings can be found HERE

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Episode 183: Boys will NOT be boys

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On Episode 183 of the Mama Bear Dares Podcast, Tesi and Leslie discuss rape culture, toxic masculinity, the Brett Kavanaugh appointment to the Supreme Court, and why they, as fierce Mama Bears, MUST act as cultural disruptors in this moment in time. In other words, they discuss why and how the dangerous old adage “boys will be boys” and everything it stands for must be stopped. The women lament the current state of our culture, but ultimately offer tangible tips on how to talk to the kids in your life about sex, consent, and responsibility, and raise up a new generation that honors the humanity of all.

Links for further study: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Recommended reading: Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein

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