Jarrett Barrios serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. He leads a team of talented humanitarians that provide care and comfort to those afflicted by disasters, serve veterans and members of the Armed Forces, and assist refugees and their families. Under his leadership, the Los Angeles Region has doubled its volunteer work in southern California and deepened its impact in the county’s most vulnerable communities. The Region’s successful resiliency-building efforts have been recognized locally and nationally, including its impactful work to reduce home-fire deaths through the Sound the Alarm campaign. For his national leadership on developing systems to serve undocumented disaster victims across the country, he, together with Chicago CEO Celena Roldan, was awarded the national Diversity & Inclusion Award for founding the Latino Engagement Team to reach undocumented disaster victims after catastrophic events. Prior to Los Angeles, he was the CEO for the Massachusetts Red Cross, where he was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence for his leadership in the Boston Marathon bombing response.
Barrios is an honors graduate from Harvard College (AB ’90-’91) and Georgetown Law (’95), practiced law at the Boston firm of Hill & Barlow, then began public service in 1999 as a Massachusetts State Representative for four years, then as a State Senator for five years. In the House, he authored a broad range of legislation from a law to improve emergency room services for immigrants to the creation of a state low-income housing tax credit. In the Senate, he chaired the Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee and was the Vice Chair of the Health Care Committee. As a state senator, Barrios led the first comprehensive rewrite of the state fire code in the wake of the Station Nightclub fire, authored the nation’s strongest “buffer zone” legislation to protect women’s health centers, led the passage of a statewide assault weapons ban and gang-prevention legislation, as well as authoring foreclosure prevention bills, consumer data privacy legislation, and laws to protect victims of domestic violence. During this period, he was a Senate leader in the effort to protect marriage equality for gay and lesbian families, helped found the Commonwealth Legislative Seminar to promote diversity and inclusion in state government, and started the Massachusetts statewide Latino political group, Oíste. Upon leaving the legislature, he served as the president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation in Boston, then for GLAAD in New York and Los Angeles.
Currently, Barrios serves as the President of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, a board member of Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. in Boston, and a Senior Fellow at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy for the Project for Cross-Sector Leadership. Along the way, he has lectured on transnational gang violence in El Salvador, represented the United States in a delegation to Australia with the American Council of Young Political Leaders, counted hanging chads in the disputed presidential election of 2000, toured Mexico to train university students on American political process on behalf of the US State Department, and studied the public health systems and lectured on US health reform in Brazil as an Eisenhower Fellow. He speaks conversational Spanish and Portuguese and studies Arabic. His passion for humanitarian work and background as a Cuban-American have also led to his lifelong involvement in many efforts to support causes for the disabled and indigent living in Cuba. Read his 2011 article called "People First: The Cuban Travel Ban, Wet Foot-Dry Foot and Why the Executive Branch Can and Should Begin Normalizing Cuban Policy," in the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal.