Ediciones Lengua y Cultura currently enjoys the services of three staff members who have a deep and abiding background in serving the Chicana/o community. All three are uniquely qualified to prepare and disseminate works that promote our history, culture, and language.
Eduardo Hernández Chávez
Eduardo Hernández learned at his mother’s knee the critical meaning of his identity as a Mexican and as a mestizo. As an adolescent, he found himself obliged to work long hours in the sugar-beet and potato fields of Nebraska. Together, these experiences ingrained in him a deeply rooted empathy for Mexicano and Chicano people and an abhorrence for the conditions found in many of their communities.
As a result, at Berkeley in the 1960’s where Eduardo was a Ph.D. student, he participated in the strike to form a Chicano Studies Program and served as the Coordinator of the Program for two years. At Berkeley, he became involved with César Chávez’ Huelga and grape boycott. After César’s death he was instrumental in organizing the Recuerda a César Chávez Committee in Albuquerque and in renaming a major street to Avenida César Chávez.
Eduardo advocated for migrant education in Davis alongside Ysaura Bernal, later becoming the Director of the Migrant Farmworker Rights Project in Sacramento. He then took a position in Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. There, he continued his involvement in the Chicano community, becoming advisor to the student group MEChA and Director of Chicano/a Studies, joining the efforts of New Mexico land grant organizations, and organizing a variety of actions opposing English-only and repressive laws against Mexicans.
Prior to his position as Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico, Eduardo held positions as Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Stanford and Director of the Cross Cultural Resource Center at California State University, Sacramento. He published the seminal anthology, El Lenguaje de los Chicanos and numerous articles on Chicano sociolinguistics, language acquisition, bilingualism, and language policy. In addition, he has compiled a number of literary works.
In Albuquerque − where she earned her Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics at the University of New Mexico − Ysaura was active in the Chicana/o community for many years, organizing in favor of Chicana/o language and educational rights, and in support of farmworker rights. She was a leader of New Mexicans against Proposition 187, a California ballot initiative that would have stripped immigrants of many of their human rights. The group received an award from community organizations for that effort. She and Eduardo Hernández Chávez spearheaded the Recuerda a César Chávez Committee and the effort to rename an Albuquerque boulevard Avenida César Chávez.
Ysaura has many academic achievements, including grants from the American Association of University Women, the Center for Regional Studies at the University of New Mexico, and a number of others. As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, she was a research assistant for the widely known Léxico Etimológico de la Delincuencia Latinoamericana by Arnulfo Trejo, an experience that helped shape much of her later work. She taught languages, linguistics and Chicana/o Studies at several universities and was a member of the research team for the New Mexico and Southern Colorado Spanish Survey at the University of New Mexico. She has published a number of research papers in the areas of Chicano sociolinguistics and language education.
Yolanda María Zepeda
Yolanda Zepeda has had a life-long commitment to language and culture in the Mexican immigrant community. The second of seven children to immigrant parents from Jalisco, she was raised in the Chicano community of Decoto, CA.
As an undergraduate at Berkeley, she became involved in the effort of the fledgling Chicano Studies Program to revitalize the Spanish-language proficiency of Chicana/o students that had declined under assault from English-only policies.
Later with her own children, she raised them speaking Spanish and to value Mexican culture. She enriched her own and her family’s cultural capital with frequent, often lengthy, visits to Mexico.
As an elementary school teacher in Spanish-English immersion programs, Yolanda endeavored not only to validate the wealth of knowledge and experience of immigrant Spanish-speaking students, but also to broaden the world view of English speakers in the program. Recalling her own mother’s reluctant participation when her young family was in school, Yolanda counseled her students and parents in their own language and from their own cultural perspective, helping them to navigate the school bureaucracy, supporting their involvement, and advocating for their voice in the education of their children. Yolanda considered this work the most rewarding of her career.
Among Yolanda’s endeavors was as a long-term consultant and translator for music and film projects with Prof. Guillermo E. Hernández of UCLA. These projects included Mexican and Texas-Mexican border music albums, as well as the film “Del Mero Corazón”, a documentary of love songs of the Southwest. These deep-seated expressions of Mexicano popular culture, which validate artistic forms that had been stigmatized as ‘merely’ folkloric, expanded Yolanda’s already broad knowledge of her traditions.
Currently, Yolanda is working on compiling and editing the audio recordings for “María Auxilio – a.k.a. La Mary”, the stirring memoir of a Chicana heroin addict and prostitute soon to be published by Ediciones Lengua y Cultura.