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El Centro

Organization Mission

El Centro, also known as the Santa Barbara Lower Westside Community Center, is a volunteer-activist-led grassroots community space located in the lower Westside of Santa Barbara that centers people working toward the liberation and uplift of people of color, womxn, youth, and indigenous and queer communities. El Centro was established for these groups to exercise artistic expression, fundraise, and host meetings and educational events, building local networks that connect folks to a collective struggle toward self-determination, self-empowerment, self-expression, and liberation. El Centro is run by committed volunteers and organizers of this community who together work to build critical dialogue and action for justice and equity. El Centro actively builds toward financial autonomy on a membership-based model.

Social Change Project:

Somos Semillas, We Are Seeds will expand on the vision of El Centro by providing a space for members of our community to engage in place-based learning, public health, nutrition education, and community empowerment. Participants will have the opportunity to nourish their physical selves and well-being through community gardening workshops that also cultivate knowledge of ethnic studies while affirming cultural and generational knowledge of horticulture.

"El Centro SB is a welcoming place for my African-American family. My children and I enjoy taking part in several of their ongoing programs. As a family, we have really thrived in a community that appreciates our presence and values our contributions. There are not many social spaces in Santa Barbara—Anglo or Latinx—that encourage the full participation of Black Folx. At El Centro, my family is safe physically, socially and intellectually." - El Centro Parent and new Board member

- Courtney Walton