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Yania Padilla Sierra
Program Director

Yania Padilla Sierra is an Afro-Boricua 2020 CantoMundo fellow, poet, writer, as well as a suicide prevention consultant/SME with ten+ years of experience in various program development and management roles, including program funding, implementation and evaluation, federal mental health grants administration, injury prevention, national intervention training, and qualitative research. She has been Project Director and Principal Investigator for two SAMHSA grants at a local nonprofit, both of which she developed. Her consultation work includes variety of regional organizations and includes grant research and writing, cultural humility and unconscious biases trainings. She has served diverse communities such as masjids/mosques/Muslum serving agencies, [un]documented immigrant serving NGOs, LGBTQ+ serving organizations, military/veteran serving nonprofits, where cultural humility is specialized. She is currently Associate Editor at Frontier Poetry.

María Fernanda
Poetry Coalition Fellow
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María Fernanda (two first names) is an early-career poet whose poems and translations appear in The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext (Haymarket Books), The Wide Shore, Kweli Journal, and elsewhere. Featuring at The Brooklyn Museum, The Ecuadorian American Cultural Center, MoMaPS1, The Phoenix Art Museum, and more, María Fernanda has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Callaloo Writers Workshop, and VONA/Voices of Our Nation. She is the founder of Candela Writers Workshop, designed to support Black-Latinx poets through the preservation and the advancement of Black-Latinx literary work. María Fernanda is a Black Ecuadorian American and an adoptee with a cultural background branching to Louisiana, Texas, and (a native of) Washington D.C.



Co-Founders (from left to right); Celeste Guzmán Mendoza, Norma E. Cantú, Deborah Paredez, Pablo Miguel Martínez, and Carmen Tafolla

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