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Esperanza Proud

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Hunter Sosby (center, back row) with colleagues at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center

Rising sophomore Hunter Sosby spends his summer working for social justice and marginalized groups

by Carlos Anchondo ’14

On a hot summer day in July, Hunter Sosby ’19 found himself driving from the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center to San Antonio’s International Airport. As Sosby merged with traffic into the arrival lanes, he turned to a fellow intern with excitement, a realization coming to his mind.

“We are picking up a minor celebrity,” Sosby said. “This is awesome.”

Sosby was meeting transgender Latina activist Bamby Salcedo, a speaker in the Esperanza’s arts programming series. The center was showing a screening of Transvisible: The Bamby Salcedo Story the next day in addition to a panel discussion with Salcedo and San Antonio trans leaders. The four Esperanza interns, including Sosby, had diligently prepared for Salcedo’s arrival and a community organizing workshop.

Salcedo, a Mexican immigrant to Los Angeles, had come to San Antonio to share about her work fighting for the rights of transgender immigrants. Watching Salcedo’s biography and listening to her speech opened Sosby’s eyes to the realities of the immigrant trans community in the U.S.

“Bamby is an inspirational person and hearing her speak was really powerful,” Sosby says. “The rights of trans immigrants is not a topic that a lot of people are covering, so she saw the need and now that is her life’s work.”

Originally from Wimberley, Texas, Sosby learned of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center through the arts, letters, and enterprise (ALE) program at Trinity. The program is based in the University’s liberal arts core and business administration program. Besides the arts programming series, Sosby, an ALE summer intern, reviewed the SA Tomorrow planning effort to ensure that the initiative reflected the interests of the Esperanza community. Sosby and the other Esperanza interns drafted a 30-page document in response to the SA Tomorrow plan, later meeting with San Antonio City Council staffers.

Later in the summer, the Esperanza interns saw their proposed modifications integrated into the updated plan on the SA Tomorrow website. Sosby says it was rewarding to see language they’d written incorporated into the plan. While reviewing the plan, which aims to address an influx of more than 1 million individuals to San Antonio by 2040, Sosby garnered a greater respect for areas of the city he had never visited prior to his internship. In fact, Sosby started his time at the Esperanza Center with a tour of San Antonio’s west, south, and eastside.

“As I saw cultural landmarks and the beautiful architecture, I found myself thinking about how we can make San Antonio accessible for all communities, especially those of color or who are low-income,” Sosby says. “Now I am a lot more conscious about public spaces and how that relates to life in a majority minority city.”

As he evaluated the SA Tomorrow plan, Sosby says he drew on research skills and critical thinking learned at Trinity. He says that a lot of the writing experience he has comes from his Trinity coursework and “allowed me to write our response effectively.”

Located in San Antonio’s Tobin Hill neighborhood, the Esperanza Center doubled its staff with the influx of four summer interns. The other interns came from UTSA, Occidental College, and Brandeis University and ranged from all different class years. Sosby valued the difference among the interns and called the Esperanza environment “collaborative” and a space where ideas could be communicated openly.

“I always felt like the work that I was doing was meaningful,” Sosby says. “I was in constant conversation with staff members and I very much felt like a part of the Esperanza family.”

Although his internship is over, Sosby says he will continue to look for volunteer opportunities at the Esperanza Center. Once unfamiliar with certain parts of the city, Sosby now feels connected to the “movers and shakers” of San Antonio, a city on the rise.

Carlos Anchondo is a writer and editor for University Marketing and Communications. He is a 2014 graduate of Trinity and can be found at @cjanchondo or at canchond [at] trinity.edu.