News

Las Encuestas Del Censo Están Disponible – ¿Y Ahora Qué?”

¡Ya es hora! A partir del 12 de marzo, todos los hogares en los Estados Unidos pueden completar el Censo por teléfono, en persona y en línea. Como resultado de COVID-19, la Oficina del Censo de los Estados Unidos modificó sus operaciones; uno de los cuales es que los hogares tienen dos semanas adicionales hasta el 14 de agosto para completar el cuestionario. Queremos enfatizar que su información permanecerá segura. No hay preguntas sobre la ciudadanía en el Censo y no hay costo asociado con su presentación. Todos los hogares necesitan completar el Censo, sin importar el estatus de residencia o demográfico.

Esta es una oportunidad para que todos digan, “¡Estamos aquí y contamos!” Los latinos necesitan participar en el Censo de este año, ya que son un grupo históricamente menos probable que sea contado. De hecho, son más probables los latinos a no incluir sus hijos en el censo. Esto es particularmente impresionante ya que las estadísticas que provienen del Censo afectan la cantidad de financiamiento que reciben los programas públicos, como nuestro Centro de Desarrollo Infantil José Martí o cualquiera de nuestros otros 42 programas y servicios. Las organizaciones sin fines de lucro, como El Centro de la Raza, perderán financiamiento si no hay un recuento preciso del Censo 2020.

Para combatir este corto número, El Centro de la Raza ahora está ofreciendo ayuda para completar el Censo por teléfono. Llame al 206-957-4605 entre las 8:30 a.m. y las 5 p.m. para hablar con el personal de El Centro de la Raza. La Oficina de Censos de los Estados Unidos también ha proporcionado ayuda para completar el Censo en los siguientes idiomas:

•             English: 844-330-2020

•             Spanish: 844-468-2020

•             Chinese (Mandarin): 844-391-2020

•             Chinese (Cantonese): 844-398-2020

•             Vietnamese: 844-461-2020

•             Korean: 844-392-2020

•             Russian: 844-417-2020

•             Arabic: 844-416-2020

•             Tagalog: 844-478-2020

•             Polish: 844-479-2020

•             French: 844-494-2020

•             Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020

•             Portuguese: 844-474-2020

•             Japanese: 844-460-2020

•             English (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-418-2020

•             Spanish (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-426-2020

•             TDD (Telephone Display Device): 844-467-2020

Census Surveys Are Out – What Now?

The time is now! As of March 12, all households across the United States can fill out the Census over the phone, in-person, and online. As a result of COVID-19, the U.S. Census Bureau made adjustments to its operations; one of which is, households have two additional weeks until August 14 to complete the questionnaire. We want to emphasize that your information will remain safe and secure. There is no citizenship question on the Census and no cost affiliated with filing it out. Every household needs to complete the Census, regardless of residency status or demographic.

This is an opportunity for everyone to say, “We’re Here, and We Count!” Latinos need to participate in this year’s Census as they are a historically undercounted group. In fact, Latinos are more likely than non-Latinos not to report their children on the Census forms. This is particularly shocking as the statistics that come from the Census affect how much funding public programs receive, such as our Jose Marti Child Development Center or any of our other 42 programs and services. Non-profits, such as El Centro de la Raza, stand to lose funding if there is not an accurate count for the 2020 Census.

To combat this undercount, El Centro de la Raza is now offering help to fill out the Census over the phone. Call 206-957-4605 between 8:30 AM and 5 PM to speak with an El Centro de la Raza staff. The United States Census Bureau has also provided help filling out the Census in the following languages:

•             English: 844-330-2020

•             Spanish: 844-468-2020

•             Chinese (Mandarin): 844-391-2020

•             Chinese (Cantonese): 844-398-2020

•             Vietnamese: 844-461-2020

•             Korean: 844-392-2020

•             Russian: 844-417-2020

•             Arabic: 844-416-2020

•             Tagalog: 844-478-2020

•             Polish: 844-479-2020

•             French: 844-494-2020

•             Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020

•             Portuguese: 844-474-2020

•             Japanese: 844-460-2020

•             English (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-418-2020

•             Spanish (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-426-2020

•             TDD (Telephone Display Device): 844-467-2020

Raising a Reader

Families gathered around in a circle for storytime with our Home Visitor during the Family Literacy Party event.

On January 29, the ParentChild+ (South King County) program hosted its first Family Literacy Party in partnership with King County Library System’s Raising a Reader program. Four families attended the event with their children. They listened to a story called “Sali de Paseo” read in Spanish by our Home Visitor. Afterward, the Early Learning/Outreach Librarian provided arts and crafts to engage the children with a hands-on activity. One mother commented, “I felt good coming to this [event] because now I feel a connection to the other families in this program.” Before the event ended, the ParentChild+ program staff provided information on library resources to families. Another parent said, “I liked this party because [her daughter], Isabel, had the opportunity to play with other kids.”

Maria’s Story

Maria* and her three sons fled from domestic violence. As fresh as the start of their next chapter was, the living expenses for the four of them grew insurmountable for Maria to handle. She eventually fell behind on rent.

Maria came to El Centro de la Raza’s Eviction Prevention program for assistance. Our case manager provided assistance with the eviction amount and will continue to do so until Maria feels like she is back on her feet. She was also referred to our array of in-house services, including: help filing for child support, enrolling in our ESL classes and Financial Empowerment workshops, visiting the Food Bank, and filing taxes at our Bilingual Tax Prep Clinic.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, Maria and her sons are getting by in managing their situation.

Scholarships to Eligible Individuals for DACA Renewal Fees

El Centro de la Raza will administer DACA scholarship funds starting the week of March 16 through June 30. As funds are limited, this service is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Scholarship funds are available to individuals who have or previously had DACA status, have completed a DACA renewal application, and who reside in Seattle, or work in Seattle, or go to school in Seattle. Scholarship applicants must come to El Centro de la Raza with a scholarship application form and a completed DACA renewal application.

Applicant Requirements
– Must reside, study, or work in Seattle.
– Must bring the DACA renewal application completed.
– No minimum or maximum level of income is required.
– Must be renewing DACA status.

We encourage that you renew even if you are outside the 180-day window.

Scholarship Application Process
All scholarship application materials are the property of El Centro de la Raza. Below we outline the steps for the scholarship application process:

1. Scholarship applicants can schedule appointments either online or by phone at 206-957-4605. These appointments are 30 minutes only.
2. After making an appointment, scholarship applicants must come to El Centro de la Raza with the scholarship application form and completed renewal form.
3. Staff will review the applicant’s scholarship form and ensure the eligibility criteria are met.
4. If the applicant’s scholarship form meets the criteria, then El Centro de la Raza staff will proceed to review the DACA form.
5. Staff will mail the applicant’s DACA form on their behalf.
6. Staff will approve applicants’ scholarship forms and verify how the check will be received whether by mail or in-person pick-up at our office.

Resources
Click for the scholarship application, DACA forms, and a list of other free DACA renewal clinics. To speak with an El Centro de la Raza staff person, contact Dulce via email at dgvasquez@elcentrodelaraza.org or call 206-4605. Our operating hours at the Beacon Hill location are 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The location address is 2524 16th Ave S – Seattle, WA 98144.

This scholarship fund to cover DACA renewal fees is made possible by the City of Seattle, Facebook, and Expedia.

El Centro de la Raza’s Response to COVID-19 Virus

El Centro de la Raza continues to monitor the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak closely. We are acting per the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Washington State Department of Health, and Seattle & King County Department of Public Health. We are also making efforts to stay ahead of any potential spreading of harmful germs within our facilities.

At this time, we have closed most of the Historic Building’s entrances. Only the South Entrance and Basement Entrance remain open for use. We have also set up hand sanitizing stations throughout and outside the buildings. We are mandating everyone who enters our premises first to sanitize their hands. Furthermore, we have directed our janitorial staff to prioritize and increase the frequency of cleaning commonly-used spaces and surfaces, including restrooms, door handles, and emergency bars on doors. Restrooms in the Historic Building are cleaned hourly. Classrooms are sanitized every night. For the safety of our program participants, staff, and the community, protect yourselves with thorough handwashing, coughing into tissue or elbow, and avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.

We may need to call on you for financial, volunteer, or advocacy support. We are seeing impacts on our revenue as a result of the cancelled and lost meeting and event space rentals in both our historic building and Centilia Cultural Center. We are working with funders when possible to adjust contract deliverables. Our Business Opportunity Center food vendors are experiencing cancellations and loss of business. Our program participants in the restaurant and hotel industry are reporting that they are being dismissed from work because there is no work. This means a loss of pay and many do not have paid sick leave. They may be at risk of losing other benefits, like childcare, due to lost wages and hours during this difficult time.

For additional resources and the Washington State Department of Health’s list of recommendations we are following:

•  Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face. Stay home when you are sick. Call your healthcare provider before going to a clinic or emergency room.

•  Show compassion and support for individuals who are closely impacted by this outbreak.

•  Make preparations in the event of an outbreak.

You can also monitor emerging developments on the Washington State Department of Health’s website, Facebook, and Twitter. To call the Washington State Department of Health, dial 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

More specifically in Seattle and King County, the local Department of Health announced these recommendations we are also following:

•  Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. We urge anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 to please call their health care provider and the King County Novel Coronavirus hotline at (206) 477-3977. Symptoms include a cough, fever, or other respiratory problems.

•  Stay home when sick.

•  Practice excellent personal hygiene habits.

•  Stay away from people who are ill, especially if you are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system.

Stay informed. Information is changing frequently. Check and subscribe to Public Health’s website or blog.

This situation is ever-changing, and we are committed to providing the most up-to-date available information to our Beloved Community. The safety and health of our staff, including the janitorial team, program participants, guests, and other community members, is our top concern because viruses do not discriminate. Our thoughts are with the people who are impacted directly by and as a result of misperceptions of this virus.

Laura’s Story

El Centro de la Raza expanded its Bebes! Program to include visiting program participants in their own homes in South King County twice a month. New mother Laura* has been a Bebes! program participant since November 2019. She is working towards learning the English language and obtaining a work permit because she wants to find a job to support her growing family. Through our home visitors, Laura is finding out more information about Highline College’s offerings and nearby libraries that offer ESL classes.

In the comfort of her home, Laura receives linguistically responsive referrals and other resources, such as the driver’s license manual and tips on how to take care of her son. She can now better detect health signs and symptoms in her baby. Laura has expressed her enjoyment for the educational activities available through the program with her baby boy to promote his developmental growth.

We are Here, We Count! Aqui Estamos, Aqui Contamos!

Starting on March 12, the 2020 Census will be made available to the public, and all households across the United States can complete this once-every-ten-years survey. This critical opportunity allows everyone to say, “We’re here and we count!” Our government relies on Census statistics to determine funding amounts for the next ten years and keep our country running.

The Census is easier than ever to fill out! Every household needs to complete the Census, regardless of citizenship and residency status. This year, households can complete it over the phone, in-person, and online. Your information is safe and secure. There is no citizenship question on the Census, and there is no cost affiliated with filing it out.

If the 2020 Census count is inaccurate, nonprofits, including El Centro de la Raza, stand to lose funding. It is particularly important for Latinos to participate in this year’s Census because they are a historically undercounted group and, thus, largely underrepresented. In fact, Latinos are more likely than non-Latinos not to report their children on the Census forms. This shocking pattern ultimately affects how our 43 programs and services, including our José Martí Child Development Center.

To combat the pattern of undercounting disenfranchised populations, El Centro de la Raza will be offering Census assistance at our Federal Way location. Our staff will be available to help community members with completing their Census survey on a regular schedule (dates to be determined due to the changing circumstances of COVID-19).

If you have any questions regarding the Census or need help filling it out, call Dulce for more information at (206) 957-4605. Our Federal Way office is located at 1607 South 341st Place.

Aircraft Noise Abatement Legislation on Governor’s Desk

GREAT NEWS – HB 1847 Aircraft Noise Abatement PASSED!

Beacon Hill scores a palpable victory with the passage of HB 1847. The bill removes the geographic limit to allow Beacon Hill in Seattle to be eligible for aircraft noise abatement. It is now on Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for his signature. Kudos to our community members in Beacon Hill and Federal Way who actively communicated the need and importance of HB 1847’s passage!

Why this Victory is Important
Communities across the nation continue to experience an increased and disproportionate share of noise and other environmental impacts stemming from commercial aviation. Beacon Hill is directly under the flight path, and 70% of inbound flights go over our heads. The noise is disruptive and bad for our health. There are many low-income families, including elderly who live in our Beacon Hill neighborhood. This bill will help relieve this unjust burden.

Mil gracias!
This legislation has been a long time coming. Beacon Hill’s activism on air and noise pollution has been continuous because of its direct location under the flight path.

Our heartfelt thanks to House Representative Mike Pellicciotti for introducing the bill and Representatives Tina Orwall, Mia Gregerson, Kristine Reeves, and Sharon Tomiko Santos for co-sponsoring the bill. On the Senate side, our thanks to Senator Bob Hasegawa for getting the bill on the list for a Senate vote, Senator Karen Kaiser and Senator Claire Wilson for their leadership, and to Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and Senate Floor Leader Senator Marko Liias for putting it to vote. Most of all, our thanks to our House and Senate representatives who voted for HB 1847.

A special gracias to fellow community members who contacted their representatives in support of past mitigation bills for air and noise pollution, Sheila Brush, and Maria Batayola. For questions and additional detail, contact Maria Batayola, volunteer Environmental Justice Coordinator at El Centro de la Raza via email at mbatayola@elcentrodelaraza.org.

Next steps
Please note an HB 1847 celebration is being planned with a briefing by U.S. Representative Adam Smith on his Airport-Impacted Communities Act on Monday, April 6, at 6 PM at the Centilia Gathering Center to allow for social distancing. Community members can choose to participate either in-person or online. The event may be conducted entirely online depending on the emerging developments of the Novel COVID-19 virus. More details to come. Click to read how we are responding to COVID-19.  

Vashon Island: A Model of Commitment and Support to Immigrants

On the occasion of the multiple and constant messages from the federal administration targeting and threatening immigrant people, particularly from Latin America, the community on Vashon Island has joined forces and directed its efforts to effectively protect its immigrant residents. To achieve this, the community has been educated on how to better serve immigrant members and has sought ways to protect them from immigration enforcement actions. For these purposes, the community of Vashon has been working closely with El Centro de la Raza.        

In October 2019, Vashon Youth and Family Services invited ECDLR to lead a Know Your Rights workshop for Latin immigrant families on their rights in the event that they have to interact with immigration agents. American citizens interested in contributing to building a safer and welcoming space for their immigrant neighbors also attended the workshop.

After the workshop, several representatives from educational institutions, healthcare centers and places of worship on the island expressed their interest in joining ECDLR’s initiative on sensitive locations. Sensitive locations are places where immigration agents have restricted access. ECDLR has been promoting sensitive locations through outreach that includes training sessions, educational materials and the use of a common symbol (created by ECDLR to aid in the identification of sensitive locations). ECDLR hosted an information session on sensitive locations on the island and diverse institutions have implemented the symbol by placing banners provided by ECDLR at no cost on their front doors. Chautauqua Elementary School, McMurray Middle School, Vashon Youth & Family Services and Havurah Ee Shalom are some of the institutions on the island that have implemented the symbol.

Vashon Island is a clear example of how communities can organize and join efforts to create welcoming and safe environments for immigrants and of how together we can explore ways to ensure the protection and effective exercise of their rights. ECDLR is committed in support of these efforts and will keep working closely with Vashon residents to help them continue to build and strengthen their response to immigrant people on the island.

Were you driven by this story? Would you like to host a Know Your Rights workshop or an information session on sensitive locations in your community? For further information on this topic and ideas on how to help, serve and welcome immigrants please contact Adriana Ortiz (Sensitive Locations Project Coordinator) at aortiz@elcentrodelaraza.org or (206) 519 4425.