La Coperacha: September 2022

Our Navigation Program Team assists families by providing a variety of resources to meet their needs. If you can donate any of the items below, that will help our Navigators assemble basic needs kits ready for families in our Navigation Program who are facing housing uncertainty. Please see the list below or place orders via our Amazon List:

Ultimamente, nuestras familias se enfrentan con gran incertidumbre en encontrar alojamiento. Si puede donar algunos de los siguientes artículos, sería una tremenda ayuda!

Vea la lista aquí o en Amazon:

Our Navigation Program has about 20 families this month with the needs below.

Recibimos pedidos de 20 familias cada mes de los siguientes artículos.

The Navigation Team appreciates you and your efforts. Please contact Daniela Lizarraga for donation coordination at (206) 957-4647 or

Judge Vargas: Celebrating Latin@ Excellence & Compassion

Today, Judge Vargas oversees a department of over 110 employees, including attorneys, supervisors, investigators, social workers, paralegals, and legal assistants. She made sure the department made major changes to be able to continue to serve the public virtually during the pandemic. In fact, King County Court emerged as a national leader in adopting technology to maintain access to justice

Part of her success was logistical- she communicated internal changes as they unfolded with her teams. Another part of her success was cultural, according to her colleague, Judge Veronica Galván, who went to the same high school as Judge Vargas. She describes it as the belief that with effort, anything is possible. The work ethic that says, Echale ganas. Give it your all.

Judge Vargas gave it her all for 18 years as a public defender. She gravitated towards cases with families involved in the At-Risk Youth/CHINS/and Truancy system. She knew first-hand how people in under-resourced communities can fall through the cracks. These cracks were amplified during the pandemic, especially for families who already had less access to childcare support, healthcare or typical 9-5 jobs.

To Judge Galván, a critical factor to succeeding as women of color in a field where they are the minority is to occupy these paces as themselves. This also means bringing an enormous amount of compassion cultivated from seeing what can happen when under-resourced communities do not have support.

“Public defenders have to wade through the morass of allegations and find their humanity and come to face with your own [when you are doing the work of a public defender].” Many times they are working with clients on the worst days of their life, watching the consequences of personal trauma unfolding in the legal system.

We are grateful for the tireless work of bringing compassion to the justice system and celebrate the dedication and excellence of Latin@s like Judge Vargas and Judge Galván.

September 2022: Cuentos from Our Work

Our 2022 Legacy Roberto Maestas Legacy Award Honorees

Our founder Roberto Maestas believed that the collective power of people of all races and backgrounds could eradicate poverty, racism, and social inequity when working in concert to build Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Beloved Community. 

In his honor, the Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award recognizes individuals whose work embodies this commitment.  El Centro de la Raza is pleased to recognize our 2022 Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award honorees, Aneelah Afzali and Carlos Jiménez. We will honor the work that they do at our 50th Anniversary Building the Beloved Community Gala this October.

Aneelah Azfali

Aneelah Afzali is a Harvard Law School attorney who left her legal career in 2013 to pursue service and community activism.  She is the founder and Executive Director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS-AMEN). MAPS-AMEN strives to bridge gaps between faith and non-faith-based communities, to help increase understanding towards Islam and Muslims, and to build relationships across religious, racial, cultural, and political differences. Serving as a bridge to bring together communities, as well as a passionate and fierce advocate for marginalized groups, Aneelah Afzali has established herself as a powerful justice leader in our community who works day-to-day to combat hate, racism, and violence.

Carlos Jiménez

Carlos Jiménez is a long-term pioneer for social change and advocate for the Latino community in Washington. Jiménez currently serves as the co-founder of Centro Cultural Mexicano, a cultural and enrichment center based out of Redmond, WA that is focused on the needs of the Latino Chicano community. The mission of Centro Cultural is to inspire inclusive participation by the community in all aspects of education, culture, and society by providing opportunities for individuals to create a positive future for themselves and their families. Carlos Jiménez ‘s dedication on the Latino community in King County and his focus on educating and supporting community such that we may all live with dignity and respect echoes the work of Dr. King and his dream of “Beloved Community.”

We won the Nonprofit Softball Championship!

We are officially the 2022 softball champions!!

Representing El Centro de la Raza, a team of current and former employees, friends, children and spouses has won the championship!

In the summertime, we take the opportunity to play on Wednesdays evenings against other nonprofits to build community and enjoy the beautiful weather! Check us out next season!

How we are helping infants at home meet their developmental goals, virtually

We want to share with you a very inspiring story about how a mom’s dedication is transforming her baby’s life through our Parents as Teachers programs.  We have found that by offering some of our programs virtually, programs like Parents as Teachers has been able to meet more families, more frequently, and see bigger changes in the lives of families welcoming newborns. We’d love to share with you the impact we are seeing on Jennifer and her two 13-month old babies, in just two months.

Though Jennifer had two healthy pregnancies last year of a twin boy and girl, she signed up for our Parents as Teachers Program to ensure her babies were hitting the developmental milestones they should be. 

In June, Alejandrina Gonzalez from our Parents as Teachers program, started working with Jennifer and her babies virtually.  In the first, call, Alejandrina observed that the baby boy was having trouble opening his left hand and had not yet started crawling.  When Alejandrina checked in about reading activities, Jennifer shared she had trouble reading. At the end of the first video conference, Alejandrina reviewed a few activities that the mother could carry out to encourage the child to crawl.

By the second meeting, Jennifer was so happy to show that her baby had started crawling!  As recommended, Jennifer had indeed implemented the activities several times a day.  They could already see a marked improvements in his motor abilities.

To make sure that the babies were enjoying interacting with books, Alejandrina recommended that Jennifer tell them about the images.   Now it is an activity they share with great joy together.

Jennifer’s willingness and commitment is making a difference in the daily success of her children by developing their skills and promoting an experience-rich environment that supports continuous learning.  We applaud her work and commitment!

Let’s get Voting!

With the help of our Navigators, Jorge, a Mexican native voted for the first time after 35 years of living in the United States!

In 2022 Jorge moved to Seattle, WA and finally understood the need and importance to vote after receiving information and guidance from El Centro staff. Jorge was empowered and guided by El Centro’s navigators through the process to register to vote for the first time. Jorge feels like a true American with this opportunity to vote and for his voice to be heard.  

Look out for events near you to support getting out the vote this September 20th, national voter registration day!

Events: September 2022

September 14: Estela Ortega will be throwing the opening pitch at the Mariner’s Game!

Get your tickets here: !

September 17-18: Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias 2022

Seattle Center Festál presents Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias in partnership with Sea Mar Community Health Centers.

Sea Mar Fiestas Patrias commemorates the independence of Latin American countries, many of which celebrate their national independence day in the month of September. It is a festival to celebrate history, while taking pride in the new generations of Latinos who now call the United States home.

Throughout the two-day event at Seattle Center, attendees can enjoy delicious traditional Latin American food and cooking demonstrations, live music, traditional folk dance performances, art exhibitions representing Latino culture, free health screenings, children’s activities and more.

We will be there and look forward to seeing you there!

Dates: Saturday, September 17, 2022 starting at 1 PM – 7 PM & Sunday, September 18, 2022 starting at 1 PM – 6 PM

Location: Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109

King County Voter Registration Drive

Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Start Time: 9:00 AM

Addresss: 1511 3rd Avenue, Suite 900, Seattle, WA 98101 US

Host Contact Info:

October 8: Reserve your tickets for our 5oth Anniversary Gala now!

Celebrate 50 triumphant years of El Centro de la Raza with us at our annual Building the Beloved Community Gala on October 8th, 2022. It has been an honor to spend the last half-century dedicating our work towards serving our community, and we have so many people that we are grateful to. We want to dedicate this momentous anniversary year to:

  • Pioneers of social change, including advocates for mutli-racial unity, shepherds of anti-war movements, local faith communities, volunteers, and activists
  • The people who originally occupied the old Beacon Hill school in the name of dignity and for a better life for the Latino community
  • Our generous supporters from all walks of life, who have made it possible for us to continue our work, from 1972 to this present day

It is an honor to still be here today providing critical services, life-changing opportunities, developing resiliency, and hope. We are so fortunate to not only be surviving, but thriving, with all thanks due to our incredible community of supporters, donors, residents, and staff.


Join us on Saturday, October 8, 2022 for our 50th Anniversary Building the Beloved Community Gala and take part in an exciting live event that raises funds for vital programs and services that benefit more than 21,000 individuals and families across our region. The evening also includes the presentation of our Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Awards & Scholarships. Registration will become available later this year.

Please call (206) 957-4649 or email for more information.