We introduce you to Salvador Yanez-Ruiz, Univision Digital Content Fellow.
I was born in Salvatierra, Guanajuato, Mexico. The youngest of five siblings, my early childhood in Mexico and the stories I would later hear about life in rural Mexico left a lasting impression. They would inform and shape my passion for the intersection of human rights, policy, storytelling and higher social consciousness.
During my early childhood my father would trek the long and dangerous journey to Los Angeles. He would spend long months away from the family, earning desperately needed money. After nearly a decade of my dad’s seasonal travels to L.A. where he worked as a cook, mechanic, field worker, or even to clean the windows of the downtown L.A. skyline. My family immigrated to Central California, a decision feelingly necessary to keep the family together.
I grew up seeing my parents working tireless hours to support our budding family of hopeful Americans. I came into teenhood in a small agriculture town in the Salinas Valley, or the “Salad Bowl” as it is monickered due to its vast fields of lettuce, strawberries, chiles and everything in between.
There, I became an avid reader, fueled by memories of my barely literate mother fighting to teach me how to read early on during long, quiet summer hours in the public library. I happily remember persistently rushing my family home from our Sunday errands so I could watch documentaries on mesoamerica, the natural world, and cultural history from around the world. I also fell in love with music, placing in competitive orchestras in the region and winning district decorations. This passion would later fuel my college aspirations in more ways than one, as teaching private music lessons along with scholarships and grants allowed me to pay my way through college.
After graduating California State University, Long Beach, I applied my intense curiosity for storytelling in the digital and social age to the then emerging field of social media. I worked creating marketing campaigns with national organizations like the American Lung Association, Voto Latino, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This work along with volunteering inspired me to be an agent and advocate of change. I came to discover that positively affecting the status quo was not only fruitful for those who needed it most, but purposefully rewarding in its process. I also exercised my love of entertainment, working to socially amplify media properties for networks like Univision, Sony, Fox and more. I became acutely aware of the impact representation in our visual culture means for underserved communities. I am a passionate purveyor of what one generation of opportunity can mean and aspire to be a symbol of that for others.
HHF & Univision Digital Content Fellowship
As the Univision Digital Content Fellow at HHF, I hope to create content that feeds the unique needs of HHF and Univision including visibility, giving voice to our leaders and song to the unsung heroes in our community. I hope to paint a portrait of the many realities of Hispanic individuals in the U.S. through my time with HHF and Univision. I aspire to give specificity to the many intersections of the Hispanic identity, and foster unifying community that goes beyond the digital landscape.
Specifically, I strive to create partnerships with leaders in the Hispanic community that continue the valuable groundwork the HHF communications team and leadership have built. By activating influencers, thought leaders, and positive role models in the Hispanic community to speak to and provide resources for our community, I hope to create engaging content that is both informative and engaging.
I also hope to provide valuable insights into the nuances of the current state of the Hispanic community, our identity, our strengths and the difficult realities we face.
Through digital storytelling I also hope to give voice to Hispanic people doing important work and trailblazing new arenas. I believe that by sharing this invaluable wisdom as Hispanics in higher education, STEM professional fields, business and more we break the cycle of disenfranchise and create bridges for our youth.
I simply hope to use my time with HHF and Univision to give voice to others.
In my freetime, I enjoy staying begrudgingly active, visiting my family back home and entertaining my curiosities through content, books and film.