Activist Theology Podcast

Activism, Science, and the Church - A Conversation with Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera

August 3, 2020

Robyn and Anna chat about the pandemic, the church, and social justice with Latinx visionary Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera. Her perspective is formed by her Puerto Rican roots, her background in the medical field, and the unashamed presence in queer liberation.


Lisbeth is the Director of Latino and Catholic Initiatives for the Religion and Faith Program. . She envisioned and directed Before God: We Are All Family, a powerful short documentary that she has shared with Latino/a communities across the country. In addition to being a powerful training tool, Before God has been recognized at the Reel it OUT Queer Film Festival in Norfolk, Virginia and at the Ethnografilm Festival in Paris, France.

As the Director of Latino and Catholic Initiatives, Lisbeth works to deepen the already impressive reach of her work with Latino/a communities and will to develop and implement Catholic engagement work across the organization.


As a testament to Lisbeth’s longtime work at the intersection of Latino/a and LGBT communities, Lisbeth was recognized with The Legacy Award, presented by the Women of the Latino GLBT History Project in partnership with the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Lisbeth has crisscrossed the country, training workers and community leaders in organizing, leadership development and community building strategies from a grassroots perspective. Lisbeth has served on the Boards of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition, Pride @ Work & the National Organizer Alliance. She has also been a volunteer with Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), Haymarket People’s Fund, ASTRAEA Lesbian Foundation for Justice as well as many other organizations.

A biologist and sociologist by education, is it her calling to social justice that makes her passions flare and her days move forward. Today Lisbeth lives in Washington, DC alongside her life-partner, Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, her godson, and their animal farm!

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