Claudia D. Hernández was born and raised in Guatemala. She’s a mother, photographer, poet, translator, and a bilingual educator residing in Los Angeles. She writes short stories, children’s stories, and poetry in Spanish, English, and sometimes weaves in Poqomchiʼ, an indigenous language of her Mayan heritage. Hernández holds an MFA in Creative Writing for Young People, with an emphasis in poetry from Antioch University Los Angeles. Various online literary journals and anthologies throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico, have published her work. She just received the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize for her young adult memoir and Feminist Press will be publishing her manuscript 2019. She is the founder of the ongoing project: Today’s Revolutionary Women of Color.



Dr. Rachel Yvonne Cruz earned a BA in Music from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds teaching certificates in Secondary Music and English as a Second Language. She began her teaching career at Fulmore Middle School in Austin, where she founded the first middle school mariachi ensemble at Austin Independent School Districts, and taught at Laredo’s Vidal M. Treviño School of Communication and Art.

Dr. Cruz founded and directed award-winning mariachi programs at Texas A&M International and Our Lady of the Lake (OLLU) universities. At OLLU, Cruz was integral in the creation of the first BA degree with a specialization in mariachi performance and pedagogy.

 Presently, Dr. Cruz is proprietor of the International Academy of Music and the Arts (IAMA), IAMA Sound Lab, and serves as Artistic Director of Mariachi Corazón de San Antonio. She is a consultant for the Main Plaza Conservancy’s Annual High School Mariachi Festival and Competition; another venue by which she feeds the pipeline for up-and-coming Mariachi ensembles and educators, since 2012.