Category Archives: News

Reaffirming Our Status as a Sensitive Location for All Immigrants

El Centro de la Raza was founded in 1972 in the old Beacon Hill School as an organization dedicated to building the Beloved Community in Seattle.  Forty-five years later, El Centro de la Raza has become an indispensable community and convening center for all people, but particularly those in the Latino community.

We provide human and emergency services including a food bank, infant mortality prevention for pregnant women, and homeless assistance.  Our asset building programs include financial education, foreclosure counseling, job training, and bilingual/ESL classes.  Our housing and economic development includes the Plaza Roberto Maestas, which features 112 affordable housing units, in addition to several other housing locations in Seattle that offer another 18 units of affordable and low-income units.  In 2016, over 10,000 households took advantage of El Centro de la Raza’s services, and over 346 people were living on our properties.

But true to our roots, El Centro de la Raza has remained, first and foremost, a school.  Our world renowned José Martí Child Development Center provides bilingual and multicultural preschool curriculum to children aged 1-5.  Our after school program tutors elementary students aged 5-12.  Middle schoolers take advantage of our summer school program.  Our Roberto Maestas Youth Leadership Institute helps address the opportunity gap in K-12 education by empowering a cohort of 30-40 Latino youth in King County to grow as leaders.  And our college readiness program helps middle- and high-school students in Seattle create a post-secondary education plan with one-on-one support.  Those are just a few of the many programs we offer to help educate babies, toddlers, youth, and young adults.

But the vulnerable communities El Centro de la Raza serves are in grave danger as the federal government has threatened to implement draconian immigration policies that could tear families apart.  The young children in our preschool are worried and nervous that their parents might not come home.  Undocumented students who have grown up in this country are afraid of being sent back to a place they have never known.

While our Beloved Community has been shaken with fear and trepidation, our resolve has not wavered.  For nearly half a century, El Centro de la Raza has been a pillar in the Seattle community, a place for all people to convene, learn, and get the help they need without fear of being taken away from their families.

We therefore reaffirm that for purposes of immigration enforcement policy, El Centro de la Raza is a sensitive location, like any other school.  As with other sensitive locations, such as hospitals and churches, we expect federal authorities not to conduct immigration raids on any of our properties, including our housing developments (which themselves offer after-school programs and other educational services).

El Centro de la Raza has a moral responsibility to the community we serve.  We will vigorously defend the rights of our people, and nonviolently resist any attempt to target El Centro de la Raza with immigration enforcement raids.  From this point forward, we will have attorneys onsite or on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to ensure that our community is protected.

El Centro de la Raza will always remain a place where families can receive information and resources in a safe and welcoming place.  We call on local, state, and federal leaders to recognize El Centro de la Raza’s unique and special role in the Seattle community as a school and gathering place for all people.

Since 1972 we have worked together to build a Beloved Community in Seattle.  We will do everything we can to defend our Beloved Community from those who would threaten our values of love, nonviolence, and inclusion.

Respetuosamente,

Estela's Signiture

Estela Ortega
Sensitive Location for Immigrants

Travel Ban and Immigration Restrictions

Our communities have been put in grave danger by the new executive order put in place by Donald Trump last week. Refugees, students, visitors, and legal permanent United States residents with green cards were stopped in airports across the United States, some being blocked from entering.

The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was one of the places where up to 13 people were held in detention, and over a thousand people came to protest and show their support.

Although the administration is calling this a “travel ban,” it is unmistakeable that this policy directly and inhumanely targets the Muslim community. We stand with the Muslim community, and will continue to fight together against unjust policies.

It is clear that the new administration will continue to target immigrant and refugee communities. Please be aware that there may be new orders that focus on deporting immigrants who seek public assistance and social services: read more here.

It is important for everyone to know their legal rights when encountering immigration or other officers. For more resources on your rights in different situations, click here or here for information in Spanish and here for English. Children often have unique legal situations and rights: information in Spanish and in English can help families with children who are facing different immigration-related issues.

kyr infocard
To listen to a legal interpretation in English of the new executive order and what it means for immigrant families, see the video from Colective Legal del Pueblo below, or the video from Northwest Immigrant Rights Project for Spanish. Please note that both of these videos were filmed last week on January 27th, and information may have changed since then.
Colective Legal vid 2NWIRP Jorge Baron vid
Left: Sandy Restrepo, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Colectiva Legal del Pueblo in Burien, WA.
Right: Jorge Barón, Executive Director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle, WA.

At El Centro de la Raza, we are fighting back. After our Know Your Rights Workshop in January, we discussed arrest and detention processes with over 120 attendees, but many had specific questions that needed to be addressed one-on-one. We will be hosting another free bilingual legal clinic next week on Wednesday, February 8th from 6 PM – 8 PM at El Centro de la Raza with volunteery attorneys from the Law Office of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender and the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington.

To support El Centro de la Raza’s mission of bringing justice, equality, dignity, and freedom to all people, please consider donating to help us create a program to provide support for immigration issues and address other needs that may arise due to the unpredictable administration. This may include case management, legal referrals, and know your rights training. To designate your donation to immigration support, write in “immigration support” in the Program Designation field.

donate-button

Job Openings at El Centro de la Raza

El Centro de la Raza’s current job openings are listed below. Job Announcements:

El Centro de la Raza is also looking for candidates for our AmeriCorps positions:

Work Study Positions:

  • Frances Martinez Office Assistant
  • Media Public Communication Assistant
  • Volunteer Program Assistant

Beacon Hill Environmental Health Collaboration Project Positions:

If you are interested in any of these positions, please contact Shannon Armstrong, Human Resources Administrator at sarmstrong@elcentrodelaraza.org or (206) 957-4626.

Plan your next meeting or event at our new Centilia Cultural Center

Centilia
Now open! Seattle’s newest event space is call The Centilia Cultural Center! The Centilia Cultural Center is perfect for Quinceañeras, Conferences, Birthdays, Meetings, and more. The Centilia Cultural Center boasts a location right next to the light rail station, state of the art audio/visual equipment, amazing multicultural artwork, and seating for up to 207 people. Book Centilia Cultural Center for all of your upcoming events! Please contact Ramiro Reyes at: rreyes@elcentrodelaraza.org or 206-973-4298 for details and reservations.

Enroll your child now at our Child Development Center at Hirabayashi Place!

A new child development program is open at Hirabayashi Place! The research-based curriculum uses the latest research in early childhood development to provide the highest quality kindergarten readiness program possible. The children participate in multicultural activities, social justice activities, and are involved in the community. Private pay, DSHS and DHHS subsidies are accepted. Hirabayashi Place is located at 4th Avenue and Main Street in the International District. To enroll your child, please call (206) 957-4606 or email ntilson@elcentrodelaraza.org.

Hirabayashi Chinese Sept 2016_Page_1

Hirabayashi English Sept 2016_Page_1

Hirabayashi Spanish Sept 2016_Page_1

 

El Centro de la Raza is honored to be one of the Seattle Pride Parade Grand Marshals

Seattle Pride Parade

El Centro de la Raza is honored to have been chosen as a parade grand marshal for the 2016 Seattle Pride Parade. Seattle Pride President Eric Bennett stated, “El Centro de la Raza has exemplified the concept of serving the community. We are thrilled to announce them as a Grand Marshal for the 2016 parade.” Other grand marshals will be the Seattle Area Support Group and Dennis Coleman of the Seattle Men’s Chorus. Mark your calendars now for Sunday, June 26th for the 2016 Seattle Pride Parade, starting at 4th Avenue & Union Street at 11:00 AM. The theme of the 42nd annual Seattle Pride Parade is the “Future of Pride”, to honor all those who continue to fight for equality. Read the announcement here. Photo from seattlepride.org.

Congratulations to the 2015 Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award Recipients

Aiko PhotoAiko Schaefer

Aiko Schaefer coordinates the Communities of Color for Climate Justice a new statewide multi-racial coalition to educate, engage and advocate for climate equity. Founded by leading racial and environmental justice organizations including El Centro Del La Raza, this growing coalition, with the guidance of shared principles for climate justice, elevated the voices and interests of people of color who are disproportionately impacted by climate change – higher rates of asthma, jobs/crop loss, shorter lifespans, weather disasters here and in home countries, and more. This commitment and work to ensure equity is at the center of any climate policy is taking place through the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy a statewide coalition working to put an initiative to the people on the ballot in 2016. Aiko has been a leading and recognized anti-poverty advocate in Washington State as the founding Director of the Poverty Action Network. She has been appointed to various state task forces and boards to address poverty and injustice, as well as served on a number of non-profit boards. In addition to her work on poverty, equity and climate justice Aiko is on the faculty at the School of Social Work at the University of Washington.

Mauricio
Mauricio Ayon

Mauricio Ayon currently sits as a co-chair on the Washington State Racial Equity Team, which opposes policy and programs that will negatively impact communities of color and create inequity. He is also a steering committee member of the Communities of Color for Climate Justice, a new statewide multi-racial coalition to educate, engage and advocate for climate equity. As well as a steering committee member of the Alliance for Jobs And Clean Energy. Mauricio skillfully and eloquently tracks issues in Olympia, while developing allies in the legislature for further action. Mauricio has over 15 years of experience in multi-racial organizing, serving as a community leader for advocacy on environment, education, labor and lobbying for access to healthcare for immigrants and refugees. He is also a co-founder of Para los Niños, which he organized education opportunities for parents and children in South King County and coordinated access to education for Latinos in Highline School District. Maurico is currently the Political Director at WA Community Action Network the state’s largest grassroots community organization, which works to achieve economic, social and racial equality in order to establish a democratic society characterized by justice and fairness, with respect for diversity, and a decent quality of life for all those who reside in Washington State.

Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award Application Form Available Now

Click here to access a PDF of the application form.

Fifth Annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award

Nominations now being accepted.

Roberto Maestas’ life was dedicated to building the “Beloved Community”* through multi-racial unity. He deeply believed that poverty, racism and social inequity could only be eradicated if people of all races and backgrounds came together to do so.

In honor of Roberto and his legacy the Fifth Annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award recognizes two individuals, a woman and a man, who have exemplified Building the Beloved Community through multi-racial unity and working to eliminate poverty, racism and social inequity.

El Centro de la Raza will celebrate awardees and their contributions by making a $1,000 gift in their name to an organization of their choice. Award recipients will be recognized at El Centro de la Raza’s Building the Beloved Community Gala on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at The Seattle Westin. Click here to purchase tickets to the gala now!

Legacy Award applicants can self-nominate or be nominated by someone else. Recipients are asked to participate in a video interview and attend El Centro de la Raza’s Building the Beloved Community Gala.

Deadline for application submission is Friday, June 26, 2015 at 5:00pm Pacific Time. Please see application here.

 

Plaza Roberto Maestas Updates & Groundbreaking Celebration – March 6, 2015

Mil gracias to everyone who is keeping in touch about Plaza Roberto Maestas-Beloved Community! Below are links to the Traffic and Parking Report, Request for Retail LOIs and a flier about the job fair as well as the latest rendering of the project.

Please join us on Friday, March 6, 2015 from 11 AM – 1 PM for the Plaza Roberto Maestas-Beloved Community Groundbreaking Celebration at El Centro de la Raza. For more information and to RSVP, please visit plazarobertomaestas.org/capital-campaign/events/.

For more information about the project and to view the Plaza Roberto Maestas blog, please visit www.plazarobertomaestas.org. Mil gracias!

PRM Plaza 2014-06-05

 

Artists Selected for Plaza Roberto Maestas-Beloved Community

Click here to view a PDF of the Press Release:
Artists Selected for Plaza Roberto Maestas_2014

PUBLIC ARTISTS SELECTED FOR THE PLAZA ROBERTO MAESTAS EQUITABLE TRANSIT-ORIENTED, sickness MIXED-USE COMMUNITY ON BEACON HILL

For Immediate Release:
August 12, find 2014

Press Contact: Yunuen Castorena
(206) 957-4605

SEATTLE – El Centro de la Raza has selected a national and international team of artists strongly rooted in the Latino culture to integrate place-based and culturally-specific art throughout the Plaza Roberto Maestas project, pill a 112-unit mixed-use equitable transit-oriented development in Beacon Hill, Seattle with an anticipated construction start date of early 2015. The Tucson-based team of Alex Garza and Gonzalo Espinosa have been selected as the lead artists for development of art on the exterior and interiors of the buildings and Casto Solano, a Basque sculptor based in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, will create the plaza’s memorial sculpture to the legacy of El Centro’s founder, Roberto Maestas.

All of the artists selected for the project demonstrated a commitment to the celebration of the Latino culture and history through significant and culturally relevant artworks of substantive quality and beauty.

“El Centro de la Raza is proud to be working with such incredibly creative teams that will capture the spirit and essence of our history and culture through their artwork and continue the tradition of public art in the Beacon Hill Neighborhood.” Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza.

Alex Garza and Gonzalo Espinoza are a team of artists based in Tucson, Arizona. Both artists have a long history of depicting social movements and culture through various art mediums, and are personally ingrained in the themes of their work.  Mr. Garza is the son of migrant workers from Texas and Mr. Espinosa is a native of Mexico, trained at the University of Guadalajara in the Mexican muralist tradition. They are known for their very large-scale mosaics and incorporate both tile and bas relief into their work.

Casto Solano is a renowned Basque artist with a history of creating incredibly life-like bronze figures as part of a larger place-based sculptural work in projects featured around the world, including projects currently underway in Vancouver, British Columbia and Jeju, South Korea. Mr. Solano will create a major sculptural work celebrating the life and legacy of Roberto Maestas to be incorporated into the design of the Plaza.

The artists were selected through a public Call to Artists with a selection team that included El Centro staff, Beacon Hill resident artists, the nationally renowned public artist Norie Sato, and the architectural team. They will develop artwork which will be incorporated throughout Plaza Roberto Maestas. The art will integrate cultural expression celebrating El Centro de la Raza’s unique history, the life and accomplishments of Roberto Maestas and the Four Amigos, El Centro de la Raza’s commitment to service and solidarity with people of color and historically disadvantaged communities and the cultural diversity of the surrounding Beacon Hill Neighborhood.

The artists will develop artwork in close collaboration with the community and the project’s Design Architect, Daniel Glenn, Principal of 7 Directions Architects/Planners.

Mr. Glenn specializes in culturally-specific architecture and often integrates public art directly into his work.  The building is designed to provide multiple locations for artwork, now and in the future, including full-height insets on each expressed column surrounding the base of the two buildings, walls reserved for large-scale exterior mosaics, tile and stained concrete patterning, and interior wall murals.  “We are very excited to work with this renowned team of Latino artists on this project.  Already we are seeing how their artwork can dramatically enhance the architecture of Plaza Roberto Maestas and make it a truly unique, culturally-significant place in Seattle.”

Plaza Roberto Maestas is a community-inspired, transit-oriented development on Beacon Hill that will provide opportunities for working low-income individuals and families to live in a vibrant Seattle neighborhood directly adjacent to a Light Rail Station. Some of the benefits and opportunities that the Plaza project will provide include:

  • 112 units of one-, two-, and three-bedroom affordable rental housing for working individuals and families earning between 30% and 60% of area median income,
  • A 10,000 square foot, 7-classroom permanent expansion of our award-winning José Martí Child Development Center serving diverse income families,
  • 3,200 square feet of flexible street-level retail and restaurant space and micro-business development spaces,
  • A 6,000 square foot multicultural community center, 4,500 square feet of office space, and a 12,900 square foot public plaza.

Plaza Roberto Maestas represents the realization of the hopes and dreams of the diverse group of ordinary people who founded El Centro de la Raza over 41 years ago. The Plaza project was also conceived of in partnership with the surrounding North Beacon Hill Community through the neighborhood planning process, having undergone over five years of community process related to zoning, planning, and design. This project will be a physical manifestation of the work of the organization in building Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beloved Community”. Throughout the years, tens of thousands of volunteers and friends have helped ECDLR grow to an organization that in 2012 served over 18,500 children, families and individuals through the hard work of 91 dedicated employees and a budget of almost $6 million annually.

Partners on this project include our development consultant, Beacon Development Group, our design team led by SMR Architects, Collins Group and our General Contractor, Walsh Construction. Funders for the project include the State of Washington, the City of Seattle Office of Housing, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, Impact Capital, and Enterprise Community Partners. The public art will be funded through a combination of public and private grants as part of the project’s Capital Campaign.

Estela Ortega is available for interviews by calling (206) 957-4605 or emailing execasst@elcentrodelaza.org. For more information, please visit www.elcentrodelaraza.org.

###