Denise M. Hernández was born and raised in the Westside of San Antonio by her mother and grandmother. She graduated from Holmes/Business Careers High School in 2009 and attended Baylor University in Waco, TX. She has always been interested in and passionate about helping others in any capacity.
In 2015, inspired by work supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and self-education about fellow Chicanos and other marginalized peoples, she founded community organization Maestranza. The organization’s work is based in education, activism, and outreach, and serves to create leaders for future positive impacts. Maestranza has worked around the San Antonio area to bring social justice issues and U.S./Tejas history to the forefront and continues to collaborate with other global and local organizations in various community endeavors.
Hernández was featured as a “Rising Star in Their 20s” by MySA.com and selected to speak on the TEDxSan Antonio stage about implicit biases and how they affect our society. You can find her talk on YouTube and the TEDxSan Antonio site. She has continued the conversation started with her TEDx talk in many classrooms and settings, from Girls, Inc. to local middle and high schools.
In Summer of 2016, Denise joined Growing Empowered Together, a local nonprofit focusing on getting young people engaged in making their communities better places for everyone through civic involvement and activism. As a spokesperson, Denise has hosted a couple episodes of “Millennial Matters,” a public access television show highlighting amazing people in our community.
She is a 2017 graduating fellow of New Leaders Council (San Antonio’s second class), a nationwide organization focused on creating the next generation of social entrepreneurs, politics, and change makers.
Hernández’s work also focuses on social and historical commentary, with pieces on Fiesta, not speaking Spanish, and cultural appropriation being published and shared worldwide. She continues to organize, write, and hold events surrounding important topics. Starting in 2018, she hopes to continue hosting events surrounding community conversations about common sense gun legislation, the LGTBQIA+ community, the environment, and gentrification of San Antonio as it continues to grow.
She is also a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. She hopes to continue to inspire and empower more people from all walks of life to learn their true histories, further dialogue, and thus use our power to make positive differences in our communities.
Join us in congratulating this badass for all of her hard work! Thank you for your commitment towards bettering our community!
Learn more about Maestranza HERE.