January 22, 2021
The CMC community is thrilled to welcome Chantel Hernandez, Program Coordinator and MDYMP Coordinator. Chantel joins us fresh from her work in District Nine Supervisor Hillary Ronan’s office. She is deeply invested in her work in the Mission and is also a talented vocalist. In her work as at CMC Program Coordinator and MDYMP Coordinator she is joining two of her passions—the Mission and music.
You began working at CMC on January 4. How is it going so far?
It’s been going really well. One of the first things I’ve noticed is how supportive everyone is. It’s taken me a little bit of time to get my bearings, but now I really feel like I can be creative and provide ideas. The MDYMP and Teen Jazz Orchestra faculty, who I’ve been working with a lot, have great intentions, speaking to things that are happening in the world right now, and providing reassurance to the youth. It’s inspiring to sit in on classes. I’m hearing new music, so I have a list of new music artists to check out too. It’s also inspiring to be working with the staff and hearing the creativity of everyone’s ideas.
Tell us a little about your background?
I’m originally from a small town in Washington called Wapato. I’ve moved around a lot, but have lived in San Francisco for almost seven years. I studied Urban Planning at SFSU. I was interested in how progressive politics inspires the culture in the city, which led me to focus on policy. I did an internship in District Nine Supervisor Hillary Ronan’s office. District Nine includes the Mission District, which reminds me of my hometown, so it was really great working for the Mission. I was excited to be working in a position that was catering to the needs of the people in the Mission, along with everyone else in District Nine. I got involved with Accion Latina as a volunteer. I started working on a project called La Pulguita out of Supervisor Ronan’s office. It was a free market that provided street vendors a safe and dignified place to sell their things. I’ve had this passion for music my whole life and have done performances throughout the Mission. I actually performed at CMC singing with Leo Rosales from Malo.
What are some of the things you’re most proud of so far in your work life?
My work with La Pulguita, which was led by my friend Nathalie Guillen, is one of the things I am most proud of so far. I worked directly with people, hearing their needs, and what they were looking for in being able to sell their goods. Even though there were challenges, we were able to provide the vendors a good and safe space and also take into account newcomers in the Mission, bridging those two communities to find a middle ground.
How did you first hear of CMC?
One of my most memorable musical performances took place at CMC. I sang with Leo Rosales of Malo at a fundraiser with the SFSU Afro-Cuban Ensemble led by John Calloway!
What are you passionate about in your work?
I am passionate about working in one of my favorite places in the city, which is the Mission, and working with one of my favorite things, which is music—providing the community in the Mission with access to music. CMC is family-oriented which is what also drew me to the Mission. The Mission feels like home.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’ve picked up gardening during quarantine. All my grandparents love to garden. Putting in the work, getting dirty, and getting to harvest your tomatoes—it’s a nice cycle. I eventually will be taking lessons at CMC.