Meet Graciela Guzmán
Graciela Guzmán (she/her/ella) serves as Organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union. In her immediate past roles, she served as Chief of Staff for former Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas and Political Director for her and Senator Omar Aquino. Graciela has organized policy campaigns around healthcare, child welfare, economic justice, and immigration.
Most notably, Graciela helped secure a key victory in making Illinois the first state in the nation to expand healthcare to low-income seniors aged 55 and over regardless of their immigration status, paving the way for bigger healthcare wins in years to come through her work with the Healthy Illinois Campaign. At the height of the pandemic, she helped form the Belmont Cragin Mutual Aid and Northwest Mutual Aid hub to serve families in Belmont Cragin, Hermosa, Belmont Gardens, Logan Square, Irving Park, and Portage Park. Through this work, she helped coordinate a network of volunteers every week that did one on one delivery of food, medicine distribution, and supplies to families across the northwest. She helped establish a three-year contract for a mutual aid hub to help stabilize this work. In her present mutual aid life she helps coordinate healthcare resources for asylum seekers hubbed in our city’s police stations.
For Graciela, there is a continuum between community organizing, mutual aid, electoral politics, issue campaigns, policy, and compassionate constituent affairs. Her career has spanned these over the last decade. She has also fought to expand access to healthcare and defend the Affordable Care Act via her roles as an enrollment specialist, forming the Illinois Coalition for Health Access, working with Federally Qualified Health Centers, and her role as Campaign Manager to the Protect Our Care Illinois Coalition. She has also helped form policies for children and families in the child welfare system through her work as Policy Director at Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness.
Her passion for healthcare, community, and helping others is derived from her family’s early experiences immigrating to the United States from El Salvador to escape the Salvadoran Civil War. Her interests in healthcare for all, immigration, racial equity, and an overall vision of a better Chicago for disenfranchised communities have led her to join the Chicago Women's March, Health and Medicine Research Policy Group, and ACA Consumer Advocacy. She reimagines a better Chicago through her hyperlocal work organizing with the Police District Response Team, Belmont Cragin Mutual Aid, and Chicagoland Food Sovereignty Coalition.
She graduated from Grinnell College in 2011 with a degree in Anthropology where she also sits on their Board of Trustees. Graciela is running for Illinois State Senator for the 20th District in Chicago. She is committed to making a positive change in our community by ensuring that everyone has access to quality education, healthcare, and job opportunities. Her goal is to represent the voice of the people and to create policies that benefit everyone, not just the few.