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“Stop the Hate: Come Together” Martin Luther King Day Celebration

Join El Centro de la Raza on January 16th, 2017 for this important celebration of Martin Luther King Day. The MLK Seattle Celebration Committee is organizing a celebration with workshops, rallies, and a march. All events will begin at Garfield High School (400 23rd Ave East Jefferson) and workshops will be held from 9:30 AM – 10:50 AM. Read more or learn how to get involved here.

MLK Day poster

2017 Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award Recipients

Jorge L. Barón

Jorge Barón has served as the Executive Director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) since April of 2008, having previously worked as a staff attorney with the organization for two years. NWIRP is a legal services organization dedicated to advancing and defending the rights of low-income immigrants and refugees. NWIRP has been in the national spotlight recently for their fierce opposition to unjust executive orders like the travel ban. Jorge helped NWIRP spring into action to secure the release of travelers at SeaTac airport who were facing deportation, challenge the legality of President Trump’s orders in court, lead community education efforts across the state, and more. Jorge’s passion for advocating for immigrants and refugees comes from his own experience of immigrating from Bogotá, Colombia to the United States at age 13. Jorge is a graduate of Yale Law School and Duke University and lives in Seattle with his wife Tyler and their three children Isabella, Luna, and Luca. We are proud to be able to present Jorge with the Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award. He has exemplified working for multi-racial unity through his dedication to our immigrant and refugee community.


Erin Okuno

Erin Okuno is the Executive Director of the Southeast Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC), a coalition of organizations, schools, educators, leaders, parents, caregivers, and SE Seattle residents. SESEC works to eliminate opportunity and achievement gaps through racial equity, community building values, and by engaging communities of color. Their mission is to improve education for all children, especially SE Seattle and those farthest away from opportunities. SESEC organizes cohorts to use data in advocacy and policy work and present their findings to boards, committees, and commissions. Recently, SESEC advocated against an amendment that would divest funds meant to support students of color: they called for racial equity, rather than a race-neutral strategy that would perpetuate institutional racism. Prior to joining SESEC, Erin worked on developing K-12 and early learning education policy, supporting public libraries and developing education coalitions. Through these experiences, she developed a deep interest in racial equity, which prepared her to lead SESEC and the coalition in its efforts to address poor educational achievements and unequal investments in SE Seattle schools. Erin is also a Seattle Public School parent, residing with her family in South Seattle. She is part of the team that blogs about fakequity (fake-equity) at fakequity.com. With her focus on social justice, racial equity, and inclusion in education, Erin is an inspiration to all of us at El Centro de la Raza as a Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award Recipient.


Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program Goes to DC!

In partnership with King County Public Health, students of Plaza Roberto Maestas After School program presented at the annual Youth Summit at the National Council of La Raza in Washington, D.C.
Our students focused on the legalization of Marijuana in Washington state. They addressed teen health and school-to-prison pipeline by creating drug prevention short films. Their effort and dedication was recognized by the National Council of la Raza and schools from across the country! Their experience inspired them to continue serving their community, but most importantly empower them to speak their voice.

José Martí Child Development Center Graduates 88 Children to Kindergarten!

On June 30th, José Martí CDC staff, teachers, and families gathered to celebrate and honor the 88 students from José Martí Child Development Center who successfully completed the school year and are graduating to kindergarten this year, including our first 10 graduates from our newest classrooms at Hirabayashi Place! The children worked hard all year long and made outstanding progress in all areas of development (social/emotional, physical, cognitive and language), so they are now ready for their next step: kindergarten!

The ceremony was held at the Centilia Cultural Center with a potluck dinner provided by our kitchen and parents, and each class shared their talents through cultural presentations for their families. It was really special event with the the children from Arcoiris singing “Hello and Bonjour,” De Colores danced to “La Iguana,” La Lluvia performed “Soy una taza,” Cristal “Último día,” El Viento danced “La Negra Lorenza,” and Hirabayashi sang “We are the Children of the World/Somos Niños del Mundo” in four different languages!

Also, for the tenth year in a row José Martí CDC partnered with the Seattle Public Library to promote literacy and bi-literacy goals, so Cikeithia Pugh and the teachers presented each child with a book bag and certificate for their year of dedicated reading with the Raising a Reader Program!

We would like to give a big thank you to the ECEAP and Step Ahead programs for making it possible for many of our students to attend preschool. We also want to thank our guest Lobo Tejada del Sol for his collaboration and support during the entire presentation, and a special thanks to Milvia Pacheco for sharing her cultural experience with the children. In addition, many thanks to all of our parents for supporting their children’s educations and for their involvement in the program. Last but not least, a BIG congratulations to our graduates for a great year — we are so proud of all of our students and wish you the best of luck in kindergarten!

Math Exploration Party with Zeno

On Tuesday June 6th, our Parent-Child Home Program hosted a math exploration party for our families in partnership with Zeno, a Seattle based nonprofit dedicated to building children’s excitement and confidence about math!

The floor was spread with articles typically found in any home – socks, plates, beanbags, measuring cups, tiny cars, dinosaurs – in an assortment of colors and shapes. Children were free to play, to paint, to sort and stack.  The goal was to encourage a fun early learning environment for math in a child’s life, and to support parents to be a part of that process. A total of 13 parents and children attended.

A special thank you to Zeno for collaborating with us and providing families with math activities throughout the year!

Learning Center Seattle GED Prep Classes

The Learning Center Seattle Open Doors 1418 youth re-engagement program is now enrolling for GED prep classes. Students enrolled in the program prepare for their GED for free and work with a case manager and education advocate for barrier support and college readiness. Students 16-21 years old and no longer in school should attend an information session to learn more: contact Emily Williams at emily.williams@seattlecolleges.edu or (206) 934-4439,  or text (503) 451-5276 for more information about how to enroll.

Juneteenth International Celebration

On June 16th, 17th, and 18th, celebrate Juneteenth with the Central Area Chamber of Commerce! The event will be held from 12 PM – 10 PM each day at Pratt Park (1800 S Main St), and is free and open to the public. Activities include an ice cream social, live music, and more. Kids of all talents can be included in the Kid’s Star Search (17 and under), and pop performers will be considered for the Star Search: to sign up, contact DeCharlene Williams by May 31st at (206) 325-2864 or decharlene2108@aol.com.

Applications Open for Lending Circles/Tandas

lending circlesWhat’s your financial goal for 2017? Well, Lending Circles are here to help! We’re partnering with Mission Asset Fund to offer a safe, reliable, zero-interest loan that helps you build your credit. There is NO credit requirement to be eligible! Apply online today at www.lendingcircles.org. For more information, please contact Jennyfer Berrueta-Trejo at (206) 717-0085 or jbtrejo@elcentrodelaraza.org.

Labor Standards Outreach Program

Our Labor Standards Program helps Seattle workers with minimum wage, wage theft and paid sick time issues. Please contact Enrique at (206) 973-4290 or eespinosa@elcentrodelaraza.org to learn more.
Nuestro programa de normas laborales ayuda a trabajadores con problemas de salario mínimo, robo de salario, y pago por ausencia de enfermdad, dentro la cuidad de Seattle. Póngase en contacto con Enrique al (206) 973-4290 o eespinosa@elcentrodelaraza.org para aprender más.

Vendor Carts Open at Plaza Roberto Maestas!

1223ff9a-2b94-11e7-ac0d-04d40dc30b47-750x500Six food carts have recently opened for business at Plaza Roberto Maestas! We are so excited to have graduates from our Business Opportunity Center classes sharing their heritage through food with us.
Our vendors are chosen through
an application process and are able to lease a cart, table and canopy for a year. This gives individuals who are hoping to open up a small restaurant down the road experience and a foot in the door! [Photo credit: The Seattle Times. Oscar Fernandez dishes up paninis and tamales to his customers].

From Hiroshima to Hope

Seattle’s annual peace event honoring the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, “From Hiroshima to Hope,” will be from 6 PM – 9 PM on Sunday, August 6th. This will mark the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombings and the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 1066, which led to the internment and confiscation of property of American citizens of Japanese descent on the West Coast of the U.S. This event will feature musical performances, speakers, and a candle-lit lantern floating ceremony. It will be held just south of the Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse on Green Lake’s northwest shore at West Green Lake Drive North and Stone Ave North, and is free and open to the public. For more information, call (206) 453-4471 or visit fromhiroshimatohope.org.