Araceli Esparza is the founder of Wisconsin Mujer, a multimedia social engagement company, who has more than 15 years of nonprofit and diversity experience. “I’m a poet first, speaker, content producer, with a side of a culture connector diva for good measure. My work is to help health, justice and equality movements by illustrating how meaningful support to these programs and ideas can build a future for the social justice movement.” Learn about Araceli Esparza…
Hometown: Madison, WI
First job: Ella’s Deli on East Washington back in the day. I was a busboy.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: Walking, writing under a tree and watching the fireworks over the lake.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: My two musician children; they are my walking poems in life. I find joy in supporting their creative endeavors and showing them the diversity of our community.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Being a first-generation Chicana raised in a mainly white suburban area, being teased for not having enough but I used my education to design a life that nurtures and creates new spaces.
Someone who inspires you and why: My grandmother continues to inspire me. She came to a country, not knowing how to drive but she could read, which for a Mexican woman in the Depression era is unique and demonstrates the power of reading. Everyday Latinas who work as custodians, in nursing homes, as teachers, doctors, lawyers, cooks, social workers or directors, who manage multiple identities inspire me to keep reaching higher.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Start with listening; the story of a person comes like the layers of an onion. Truth-telling takes time to tell, but you have to have the ear to know when that spark is being told.
Favorite quote: “A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared.” –Gloria E. Anzaldúa
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: We own a guinea pig. His name is Prince. So cute, right?
What makes someone fabulous: When I started public speaking, I remember watching a YouTube video on how women do not take up space when giving a talk. The advice was to walk around with your Wonder Women arms on your hips before your talk. I love doing this and feeling fabulous when no one is looking!