Since founding Calle 16Esparza’s activism and acts of service have only continued to expand 

“Since then, I haven’t stopped. My activism grows, but I am not actively active; I participate when needed,” Esparza said.  

For example, during the height of the pandemic, Esparza placed her own struggles and worries on the backburner and, with no hesitation, helped feed and cook for health care workers and those in need. 

We're talking about humanity,” Esparza said. “You know when you're in a car accident, you go, 'I'm OK. You OK? Everybody OKLet's see who else is hurt and let’s go take care of them.' And this is exactly what happened here.”  

Esparza doesn’t expect to be praised of honored for her service. She says she simply stays true to her beliefs and stands up for what’s rightwhich is something she learned from her family and those around her.  

“I was taught to be of service from my fatherwho was a preacher. He would go out to the farming communities and preach to them and then go back out to these communities and barter, sell bread out of his van. That taught me to have an appreciation for those who work hard labor. 

"I lived in San Joaquin Valley for years and years as an adult, and as a child, I watched people bent over picking tomatoes, cotton and even weeds, toiling in that soil. That is something that should earn you respect and not hatred. That is something that should be honored. Looking at those fields, traveling all those country roads, that's what makes me who I am today; it’s my respect and my love for those folks, and it starts there and it doesn't end there. It continues to every aspect of what I know to be in my bloodline, and that's feeding people.”  

From sharing her culture through her food to giving a voice to the voiceless through art and philanthropy, Esparza is the definition of a servant leader.  

Esparza will be honored alongside student-servant awardees Roicia Banks and Ivan Quintana, and faculty and staff awardees Neal Lester and Marcelino Quiñonez