English Indiana Staff

Elia James

Organizer I

Elia James Sanchez is a Latina born in Durango, Mexico. Elia is a communicate advocate who works to dismantle oppressive systems. She was recognized for her work during the pandemic for having helped hundreds of families obtain rental assistance and organizing food drives in the Lawrence Community. Elia previously worked for the Lawrence Police Department as the Director of Crime Prevention where she went on to become the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Mayor’s Office.

Elia is well known in the Latino community of Indianapolis and throughout the state of Indiana. She’s held important positions such as the Director of the State of Indiana Commission for Hispanic and Latino Affairs and the Communications and Strategic Initiatives Manager for the City of Indianapolis IMPD Homeland Security Division. For almost a decade Elia served as one of four emergency managers for Marion County and was appointed as program Director of the Community Emergency Response Team recruiting and training over 3,000 members and community volunteers that are prepared to assist in their neighborhoods during a disaster. Elia also managed several programs during her time with IMPD including the DHS Cyber Security Program and the DPS Limited English Proficiency Program. The Limited English Proficiency Program had far reaching results which included policy directives to officers in the Orders of Police, identifying officers that spoke other languages for 911, and training all officers on ensuring access to language assistance and the use of an interpreter when assisting Indianapolis residents with limited English proficiency.

Of particular satisfaction to Ms. James is her networking and active involvement with the vital Latino community and church organizations in Indianapolis. Since 2008 Elia has been a board member of the Indianapolis Mayor’s Latino Advisory Council and currently serves as a co-chair of the council. Elia was also an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the Latino Studies program. Elia brings a wealth of expertise in community outreach and grant writing and holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs from IUPUI and a Bachelor of Political Science from Saint Mary’s College.