Paola Fuentes Gleghorn is a former immigration and women and girls campaign coordinator at Sojourners. Paola is originally from Costa Rica but grew up in Nicaragua, where her family was missionaries working alongside local churches in the areas of pastoral training, youth leadership development, and addressing injustices in accessing medical care. She graduated from Calvin University with a degree in international development and a minor in business. Before coming to Sojourners, she worked in advocacy, church mobilization, and communications for the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Social Justice. Paola is passionate about equipping and encouraging people of faith to pursue God’s heart for justice through advocacy and systemic change, and working alongside marginalized communities to remove the systemic barriers that keep individuals, communities, the church, and societies at large from flourishing and prevent us from being in just relationships with each other and creation.

In her free time, Paola enjoys riding her bike on park and mountain trails with her spouse Jeff, spoiling her cat Valentina, making and eating delicious food, and playing board games with friends.

Posts By This Author

Jesus Offers Abundant Life to All. The U.S. Asylum Process Doesn't

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 01-12-2023
A line of people wearing hats and sweatshirts lean against a low fence next to the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Mountains are in the distance.

Migrants from Venezuela, who are subject to Title 42 and unsure of whether to turn themselves in, wait next to people from other nationalities who are in line to be processed by United States Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas on Jan. 4, 2023. REUTERS/Paul Ratje

During his recent visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, President Joe Biden announced changes to border enforcement and the asylum process — the legal process that allows people fleeing danger to seek safety in the U.S. One of the most concerning changes was an expansion of Title 42, a public health policy invoked by former President Donald Trump that weaponized the pandemic to turn away many Black and brown migrants looking for asylum.

Sexist Pockets and Sackcloth: How Do We Clothe Ourselves in Glory?

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 03-17-2022
Activists perform an artistic intervention against a fast fashion retailer to raise awareness and make visible about the damage generated by the textile industry. Photo: Alejo Manuel Avila / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Activists perform an artistic intervention against a fast fashion retailer to raise awareness and make visible about the damage generated by the textile industry. Photo: Alejo Manuel Avila / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about clothes — their power both to oppress people but also advance justice. If this sounds far-fetched, I invite you to reach deep into the pockets of the clothes you are currently wearing. Go ahead, try it.

Immigration Justice Is Part of Black History

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 02-17-2022
Crowds gather for a “Day Without Immigrants” demonstration in front of the White House, Feb. 14, 2022

Crowds gather for a “Day Without Immigrants” demonstration in front of the White House, Feb. 14, 2022. Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA

While white evangelical support has decreased, Black Protestant support for a pathway to citizenship increased from 70 percent in 2013 to 75 percent in 2021. Advocates are still working to pass a pathway to citizenship this spring. Immigration justice work is now widely recognized as anti-racism work — work to dismantle the systems of white supremacy that oppress us all. Our theology of the imago dei, of the image of God in every person, fuels both our voter protection advocacy and our work to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrant people. We are working to honor the God-given dignity and full personhood of every person by securing the legal right to vote and a legal status for undocumented immigrant people.

Will the Equal Rights Amendment Threaten Religious Liberty?

Greater support for women and LGBTQ rights aligns with greater religious freedom protections. A study by Brian J. Grim at the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation found that “the average level of religious freedom is 36% higher in the countries with higher levels of support for LGBT rights than in countries with low levels of support for LGBT rights.” The expansion of human rights is good for religious freedom. This shouldn’t surprise us: A culture that values human rights for women and LGBTQ people will also value human rights for religious people.

This Mother's Day, Let's Work To Change the Constitution

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 05-06-2021

The voices of mothers, of women, and all who have mothered us have long been essential in movements for justice. That work continues, as we are closer than ever to winning the 100-year battle to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would protect women and LGBTQ people from discrimination on the basis of sex and gender-based violence. But until the Senate acts, the amendment will not move forward.

One Year into This Pandemic, Women Still Bear the Brunt

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 03-11-2021

Today marks one year since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. As we enter year two of this pandemic in the middle of Women's History Month, we must reckon with the fact that women have disproportionately felt the negative impacts; the fallout of this inequity will be felt for years to come.

11 Christian Women Shaping the Church in 2021

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 03-08-2021

Collectively, this group envisions and works toward a wide and bold church community that cares for creation, centers those who the church has historically marginalized, and holds both political and faith leaders accountable.

No Matter Who Is in the White House, We Will Continue to Fight

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 03-03-2021

Demonstrators at the White House protest President Donald Trump's decision to phase out DACA, Sept. 9, 2017. Photo by bakdc / Shutterstock

This year is the best chance we have had in nearly a decade to change our broken immigration system.

It’s Time to Be the Conscience of American Politics

President Joe Biden addresses the nation after his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Pool/File Photo

I believe fervently in the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that “the church is not called to be the master or servant of the state, but to be the conscience of the state.” In that vein, we will be neither chaplain nor sycophant to our new political leaders. Instead, we seek to be a faithful conscience, serving as a bridge-builder and offering prophetic critique (and pressure) when necessary.

Will the U.S. Finally Approve the ERA?

God loves and creates us all equally. Equal treatment under the law flows from these truths.
An illustration of a woman pushing a giant boulder up a hill.

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

THE UNITED STATES is one of only 28 countries without a provision in its Constitution that provides equality under the law regardless of sex.

The Equal Rights Amendment was proposed in this country nearly a century ago. Congress passed the amendment in 1972 with bipartisan support in both houses and then set a time limit for ratification by the states. In January 2020, when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, the amendment met the requirements to be added to the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, the deadline for ratification passed more than three decades ago.

The amendment’s language is simple: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” The ERA would add what the Founding Fathers intentionally left out: constitutional rights and protections for everyone regardless of “sex.” Isn’t it time?

Equal Respect, Equal Opportunity: Ginsburg's Legacy Inspires the Work Ahead

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 09-24-2020

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

I think one of the biggest impacts of Ginsburg’s life is that her arguments didn’t just change legal frameworks, they also helped change cultural frameworks. In my life, I’ve moved through multiple cultural frameworks where there were remnants of the idea that men were the strong providers and protectors of women, and women were the dependents and nurturing centers of home and family life. The saddest part for me is that some those frameworks resided in my faith communities. The Bible was used to support the idea that men and women were locked into God-ordained, sex-based roles. Those “roles” made me feel I could not, or should not, make use of some of the opportunities I had.

The Pattern of Abuse in Immigrant Detention Centers Is Clear

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 09-18-2020

Detained immigrants play soccer behind a barbed wire fence at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga. Picture taken February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Reade Levinson

Forced sterilization of women is a form of abuse and an act of violence against the very image of God in these women in immigration detention. While these accounts are shocking and horrifying, they are unfortunately part of the larger pattern of abuse and neglect present in detention centers that immigrant people and immigration advocates have been denouncing for years.

10 Christian Women Shaping the Church in 2020

by Paola Fuentes Gleghorn 03-05-2020

The past four years, Sojourners has created an International Women’s Day roundup of women faith leaders who are bringing us hope and inspiring us to action. This year’s group includes pastors and environmentalists, writers and theologians, nurses and poets.