Our late founder Roberto Maestas dedicated his life to building Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “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 his honor, the Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award recognizes individuals who have advanced the work of Building the Beloved Community. El Centro de la Raza celebrates the recipients and their contributions by making a $1,000 gift in their name to an organization of their choice.
El Centro de la Raza is pleased to recognize our annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award honorees: Ginger Kwan and Luis Rodriguez & Leona Moore-Rodriguez
Ginger Kwan, Executive Director of Open Doors for Multicultural Families
As the Executive Director of Open Doors for Multicultural Families, Ginger and her multicultural and multilingual staff work tirelessly to support families and their children who have developmental and/or intellectual disabilities. Open Doors makes equity central to all of its decision-making and strives to meet the needs of each family member, wherever they may be in their journey with raising their children.
Ginger also serves in a leadership capacity for the Racial Equity Coalition, which is made up of 15 people of color serving and led organizations in South King County. She has been working closely with United Way of King County to identify and understand the factors influencing the inequitable allocation and accessibility of emergency assistance. Ginger has shared her expertise on topics ranging from the intake process to collecting and reporting data with smaller partner organizations.
At times, Ginger has been an “easy target” for those who are unhappy with her challenge of institutionalized racism whenever she encounters it, but she has not given up. Her life’s work has been focused on dismantling institutionalized racism and improving the lives of those who have experienced tremendous physical and emotional challenges. Through her inclusive partnerships, Ginger’s efforts have resulted in more than $1.5 million in pandemic related community assistance funds being allocated to the most vulnerable in our region. For her decades of work to strengthen communities of color as they navigate systems of oppression and her unwavering dedication to speaking truth to power, El Centro de la Raza is pleased to honor Ginger as a recipient of the Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award.
Luis and Leona Rodriguez, owners of The Station
Luis and Leona built a community hub when they opened their coffee shop named The Station. People of all generations, ethnicities, and identities find a safe place to gather and share ideas at The Station. The baristas and even the customers around the café reflect a level of diversity that matches the Beacon Hill community that The Station serves. They are committed to employing BIPOC and LGBTQ+ workers, who often face barriers to employment and discrimination in the workplace.
Luis and Leona live community activism and advocacy. They open their doors to serve as informal headquarters for many community meetings and as an event space, such as block parties, fundraisers for victims of violence, and youth poetry writing workshops. Also, they partner with Cleveland High School to provide a food pantry to help feed community members since the full effects of the pandemic gripped our city.
Luis and Leona stand up for the community when they witness injustices and open their “home” to anyone who needs it. Their commitment to bringing together people of all races and backgrounds to fight for racial and economic justice furthers the work of Building the Beloved Community and honors the legacy of Roberto Maestas.