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Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Instagram to recognize five Latinx changemakers with the 2021 #YoSoy Award during the 34th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and Instagram will recognize five Latinx creators during the 34th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards virtual prelude to the PBS broadcast on October 8th. Instagram is the place where these Latinx changemakers are pushing culture forward.

This is the fourth year in the HHF and Instagram partnership to recognize the impact of Latinx creators paving the way for their community. Awarded creators include entrepreneurs, filmmakers, artists, activists, and writers, for their positive and inspiring advocacy work within the community on mental health, body positivity, marginalization, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

“It’s critical that leaders have the tools to maximize their impact on our communities during a time representation is more needed than ever as influencers,” said Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of HHF. “We are grateful to Instagram for providing a powerful tool which encourages, accelerates, and amplifies the impact of Elizabeth, Maya, Perla, Ilianna and Nava.  Through the #YoSoy effort, we can more powerfully come together and move forward as a community.”

The 2021 #YoSoy Instagram Awardees are:

Maya Murillo – At the age of 16, Maya Murillo started her blog, which featured crafts, skits, and ukulele covers. She established a following through her quirky six-second videos on Vine, and customized love songs on YouTube. She was once nominated as an Influencer by Latina magazine for #Latina30Under30 awards and considered one of “6 Latinas You Should Definitely Be Following on Vine,” by Cosmopolitan. She was recently featured in Vogue – celebrating queer, BIPOC of all sizes. Maya went on to produce and star in content for Buzzfeed’s Pero Like and made her acting debut  in STARZ’ series VIDA. Today, Maya creates content online across all social platforms and will be launching a podcast in the fall of 2021.

Perla Sanchez – Dominican-born and Brooklyn-raised artist Perla Sanchez’s illustrations primarily center around the female form in spaces of healing and inner peace. Sanchez incorporates modern floral patterns into intimate scenes of meditation, self-reflection, and contemplation. As an Afro-Latina and self-described plant mom, her art represents this intersectionality. “From melanin to curls to wide hips and even stretch marks, I love incorporating all the parts that emanate from my Afro-Latina roots. To me, this is an act of self-love and self-preservation.” Her immersive works invite the viewer to take a moment to ground themselves to find inner peace and joy.

Elizabeth Acevedo – Elizabeth Acevedo is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Poet X, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Carnegie medal, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and the Walter Award. She is also the author of With the Fire on High—which was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal—and Clap When You Land, which was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor book and a Kirkus finalist. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been a fellow of Cave Canem, Cantomundo, and a participant in the Callaloo Writer’s Workshops. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion, and resides in Washington, DC with her love.

Ilianna Ayala – The rose in Spanish Harlem, Ilianna also known as Illy, is known for her passion for dance, knowledge about makeup artistry, her big bouncy curls, and her voice in the body positivity movement. Ilianna always had a passion for creativity. She attended Talent Unlimited Performing Arts High School as a dance major then received her Bachelors in Dance, and Minor in Urban Studies from Queens College.

Nava Mau – Nava Mau is a filmmaker, actress, and cultural worker who has lived in Mexico City, San Antonio, and Oakland, CA. Nava wrote, produced, directed, and starred in “Waking Hour,” a short film that screened in festivals around the world. She was selected as a Production Fellow for the Netflix documentary “Disclosure,” and she also produced the short films “Sam’s Town” and “Lovebites,” now streaming on the Issa Rae Presents channel. For 8 years, Nava worked in the fields of healing justice and culture change with community-based service providers, student organizations, and survivors of violence. Nava appears next as a series regular in the HBO Max series “Generation.” Nava’s long-term vision is to illuminate the stories of marginalized people in order to transform their access to resources. She received her BA in Linguistics & Cognitive Science from Pomona College, after studying in Paris and conducting research in Guadalajara, Mexico. Nava then worked with survivors of violence for three years; first with immigrant survivors as a legal assistant, and then as a peer counselor and advocate for LGBTQ survivors of violence at Community United Against Violence in San Francisco, CA.

About the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The Hispanic Heritage Awards serve as a launch of HHF’s year-round programs focused on education, workforce, social impact through the lens of leadership.   HHF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  For more information, visit and follow the Hispanic Heritage Foundation on Facebook andInstagram.

For more information contact Nicolas Peña at


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