Esperanza was founded in 1987 by a group made up of mostly Chicana activists seeking to bring together diverse movements for peace and justice in San Antonio and around the world. In the early years, the Esperanza was engaged in caravans to Central America, demonstrations against the KKK, mural projects that engaged children as artists, and the first art exhibit in Texas to focus on the Queer community and the AIDS crisis. Esperanza continues to be a politically progressive, outspoken, and unwavering force for justice in San Antonio and beyond.
For the last 30 years, the Esperanza has become a unique institution, having galvanized a multiracial, multicultural and bilingual cultural arts/social change community headed by Latinas, the majority of whom are lesbians. Esperanza is mujeres, Latinas, African Americans, Asians, Native Americans, and Whites. Esperanza is queer and straight. Esperanza is the economically disadvantaged trabajando junto con la gente de clase media. Esperanza is feminist, politically progressive, and 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.
Esperanza has also built a year-round calendar of arts and cultural programs intended to bring together diverse communities, bring a new political consciousness to community gatherings, and build solidarity among diverse groups and causes. Esperanza’s cultural programming continues to thrive, serving over 70,000 people each year through direct participation in arts and cultural events, including exhibitions, workshops, concerts, theater performances, film screenings, and more.