We Are Esperanza
The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center is a grassroots, community-based arts & cultural organization, built around a vision of social justice and cross-cultural understanding. We are committed to serving marginalized communities and preserving San Antonio’s unique cultural heritage. We produce and present programs that provoke dialogue, honor traditional cultures, nurture new aesthetics, renew the soul, break stereotypes, and strengthen communities.
Esperanza works to create a better world through art, dialogue, and action by culturally grounding our Chicano/Latino/Mexican-American communities, building bridges across social, political, economic, gender, sexual, religious, linguistic, and varying physical divides and increasing access to artistic expression and education.
Esperanza is mujeres, Latinas, African Americans, Asians, Native Americans, and Whites. Esperanza is queer, lesbian, trans, gay, and straight. Esperanza is the economically disadvantaged trabajando junto con la gente de clase obrera, la clase media, and with our economically privileged allies. Esperanza is feminist, is politically progressive, is outspoken. Esperanza is strong and overworked because we are people struggling to find new voices, new forms and new solutions to the problems oppressed people are facing.
Mission and Vision
The people of Esperanza dream of a world where everyone has civil rights and economic justice, where the environment is cared for, where cultures are honored and communities are safe. The Esperanza advocates for those wounded by domination and inequality — women, people of color, the lesbians, queer, trans and gay community, the working class and poor. We believe in creating bridges between people by exchanging ideas and educating and empowering each other. We believe it is vital to share our visions of hope… we are esperanza.
Esperanza works to preserve and promote artistic and cultural expression of and among diverse communities. As people moved by a vision of social justice, we have learned the power of art in our lives. We have learned that to participate fully in democratic civic life, individuals must be culturally grounded, confident of their own voices, and certain of the value of their contributions. Art and culture give us this grounding. They connect us to our histories and plant the seed for our self-worth. Moreover, we have learned the importance of cross-cultural understanding – that social and political divisions cannot be bridged without accurate and respectful cultural understanding. Through artistic creation and cultural expression, previously silenced groups and isolated individuals come to new understandings of themselves, each other, and the world.
Esperanza’s work helps individuals and grassroots organizations acquire knowledge and skills so that we can control decisions that affect our day-to-day lives in a way that respects and honors shared goals for a just society. We believe that by having a place with resources available we can come together to facilitate and provoke discussions and interactions among diverse groups of people who believe that together we can bring positive social change to our world and address the inherent interconnection of issues and oppressions across racial, class, sexual orientation, gender, age, health, physical and cultural boundaries.