SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVOCATE FOR STATE ASSEMBLY
Elsa Granados has dedicated her life to social justice and spent her career working to end violence against women and children.
She was born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents and it was her mother’s work in the Los Angeles garment industry that left a lifelong impression. Watching her mother work extremely long days for $1 per dozen pair of pants taught Elsa the value of hard work and advocating for those who need it most. Her mother, like many new Californians, had no choice but to work a job that left her with a curved spine because she needed to provide for her family. This would be one of Elsa’s first experiences that taught her about fighting for the rights of individuals when they faced injustice.
At age 23, Elsa began working with migrant farmworker students in the community of Watsonville, CA. Although she was hired only as a tutor, she served as their main math and language arts teacher because the school did not have any bilingual teachers. While tutoring, Elsa also noticed students coming in with purple hands from picking fruit, others didn’t have adequate housing and some experienced domestic violence in their homes. This experience led her to start volunteering at the Women’s Crisis Support and Shelter services to help survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.
But Elsa knew volunteering was not enough. She wanted to change people’s lives and have a say in the policies that affected the lives of the people for whom she was advocating. So, Elsa decided to continue her studies at UC Santa Cruz receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and later pursued her Master’s degree in Public Administration at San Francisco State University.
While in college, Elsa became interested in how America’s policies were affecting our neighbors in Mexico and Central America, and the impact it would have on our future. She joined a group called Somos Hermanas, a group of feminist activists who drew the connections between the injustices that were committed abroad and the social injustices in our own country. It was these stories, combined with her childhood experiences, that prompted Elsa to champion social justice causes.
For the past 22 years, Elsa has served as the Executive Director of Standing Together to End Sexual Assault, formerly called Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center.
She has worked on public policy that affects survivors of sexual violence on a state and national level, such as creating a tax check-off which provided funds to rape crisis centers in California and support services to survivors of sexual assault, providing information for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to provide services to farmworker women, indigenous women, and women who were incarcerated, and lobbying members of the California Senate and Assembly to support legislation pertinent to survivors of sexual assault.
While this work is of vital importance, Elsa knows she can make a difference on a larger scale for our community and that is why she has decided to run for State Assembly in District 37. Elsa is running to make a difference in our community. She has experienced and seen first-hand the struggles people face in our community, and she will champion issues like social justice and equality, women’s rights, and protect our beautiful coastline and environment.
Elsa is ready to take on special interests, large corporations, and anyone who gets in the way of caring for each other and our natural resources. Elsa Granados will work to build on the strengths of our community just as she has her entire life.
Today, Elsa lives in Santa Barbara with her partner, Mark and 3 pitbull mixes, Cinnamon, Flora, and Jake. Over the past several years, Mark and Elsa have fostered about 30 shelter dogs to prepare them to find their forever homes. Elsa currently serves on the board of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee and has been a member of the board of directors of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Fund for Santa Barbara, and has served on the Santa Barbara County Affirmative Action Commission.