2019 #HIPLíderes Spotlight: Madeliene Hernandez

All month long, as part our Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, we’ll be highlighting and honoring some of our 2019 Líderes. HIP’s Líderes Fellowship cultivates mid-career Latinos working in philanthropy and nonprofits by gaining knowledge, learning new practices, and building relationships within a network that supports their ability to advance and thrive. This year’s HIP Lideres represent 19 grantmaking institutions and 12 nonprofits from across the United States. Lideres were chosen on the basis of demonstrating a commitment to working for racial equity to achieve social justice.  The Fellows represent diverse Líderes—including indigenous, Afro, women, and LGBTQI Latinos—who have the courage to work in the complexity of the intersections in which we all live, including race, class, education, gender identity, ability, etc.

Meet Madeliene Hernandez

Tell us about yourself. What do you want people to know about you as a Latinx professional in the philanthropic and social sector?
I want people to know that I am learning how to step into being a bi-racial Latina leader in the field. In a sector that talks about race on a daily basis, it has been challenging to show up authentically in spaces where race is often talked about in black and white terms. My reality, my identity, my whole life has been rooted in navigating different race and culture dynamics and I am just now understanding how that is a strength, it’s a different perspective that isn’t often brought to the table and it is valuable. Finding strength in my identity has been empowering, to learn about my heritage, to reclaim my ancestor’s native tongue and to finally, confidently say that I am a bi-racial Latina and that I am passionate about changing systems so that others like me can thrive in our society and be authentically who they are.
What calls you to do this work today?
My ancestors. My papa. The sheer fact that there are racial inequities in our society that have an impact on BIPOC. There is an urgency for me in this work, there are patterns in our history and I think it’s important for all of us to take note and take responsibility to change our society. We have the power to transform how our society operates and we’ve been oppressed for too long. I am called to this work because I’m empowered and inspired by the activism of my ancestors and feel it is necessary to continue their vision and support the visions of my fellow brothers and sisters in the work
What brings you joy? 
Adventure. Exploring new places, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, landscapes, and foods. Having curiosity and adventure in my life is so important to me because it is a way for me to cope with and understand the complexities of the world and how humanity is intertwined. What this looks like to me is a lot of time in nature, traveling as much as possible, experimenting in the kitchen with ingredients that I’ve never used before and spending time with people who keep me learning.
How will you transform Philanthropy? 
From the inside out. There is so much work to be done within philanthropic organizations, to break down racially inequitable systems that impact its staff which ultimately limits philanthropy’s ability to transform our society. Through organizational development, I will transform internal systems so philanthropy reflects and practices the desires it hopes to see in the community.
What is your leadership mantra? 
Get to know some of the other Líderes here.