Youth Job Readiness Training

Over these past several months, Washington State was one of the epicenters of the Coronavirus pandemic in the USA, resulting in the closure of all public and private schools.

The Youth Job Readiness Training (YJRT) team equipped our participants with tools and resources to continue their schoolwork and involvement in the YJRT program. We have stayed connected with participants throughout these past several months by helping to provide each of them with a laptop and helping them apply to Comcast’s Internet Essentials program to get in-home internet. So far, we have completed the application for ten families, of which six families were approved to receive internet services.

We held regular virtual sessions with our YJRT participants over Zoom to cover concepts, such as the voting process, immigration and voting, community education, and crafting their resumes for the internships they have now secured. Internship sites include: the Port of Seattle, Consulate of Guatemala, Sunrise, Global Visionaries, and El Centro de la Raza.

The YJRT program is not only providing these virtual training sessions to the students but also addressing their essential needs. YJRT families have voiced their concerns about eviction. To prevent evictions, we have been helping them complete rental assistance applications. To help mitigate struggling families’ crises, for instance, we are providing rental and grocery assistance and access to job opportunities. Mil gracias to our funders and individual contributors for making these emergency services possible to our community: rental assistance, a $100 Safeway gift card, the Plate Fund, Bank of America, and MAF.

While we are all experiencing chaotic and challenging circumstances because of the COVID-19 pandemic, parental participation has been nearly perfect. We focus on helping families become economically self-sufficient and providing students and parents with daily emotional support. They are grateful to have someone listen to them or to whom they can talk.

The Census and You! / ¡Tu y el Censo!

For months, many organizations have been promoting the Census, saying that it affects our everyday lives, but how do the outcomes affect you and on what scale? The Census determines each state’s apportionment of seats in Congress, how our districts are shaped, and the amount of federal funding for local health and social services that support our Beloved Community’s families in need. The Census also influences:

  • Where factories and their retail stores are built
  • Which types of products stores carry and in what quantities
  • Where bus stops and routes are placed
  • Where new homes are built and neighborhoods will go
  • Whether to fix roads and bridges
  • The availability of public benefits, including food stamps and health insurance
  • The number of teachers at each school
  • The number and placement of stoplights and streetlights, including in which communities

These examples are everyday things that will be shaped by your responses to the Census. That is why getting a complete count matters. Every 10 years, people across the country, including in Washington State, complete the Census to calculate an accurate count of all people in the United States.

Filling out the Census is easier than ever before, and it can be done in ten or fewer minutes. Simply go to https://my2020census.gov/ and select one of the 13 languages to fill out the Census. If you or someone you love needs help completing the Census, reach out to us at 206-957-4605.

Por varios meces, muchas organizaciones han estado promoviendo el censo, y han dicho que el censo afecta nuestras vidas cada dĂ­a, pero ÂżcĂłmo te afectan los resultados y en que escala? El censo determina el nĂşmero de representantes en cada estado para el congreso, determina como cada distrito o ciudades en los estados son formados, y la cantidad de fondos federales que están localizados para cosas como servicios sociales y para servicios de salud que ayudan nuestros familias y comunidades con necesidades.  El Censo tambiĂ©n tiene influencia sobre:

  • Donde fábricas y sus tiendas están construidas
  • Que tipos de productos cargan y cuantas cantidades
  • Donde las paradas del autobĂşs y rutas están localizados
  • Donde nuevas casas están construidas y en cuales vecindades se ponen
  • Cuales calles o puentes que arreglar
  • Disponibilidad de beneficios pĂşblicos, incluyendo estampĂ­as de comida o seguranza de salud
  • El nĂşmero de maestras en cada escuela
  • El nĂşmero y colocaciĂłn de luces de tráfico y luces de la calle y en cuales comunidades se ponen

Estos ejemplos son cosas que pueden estar modelas por sus respuestas al censo. Por eso es muy importante de contar cada persona. Cada diez años, personas en todo el país completan el censo para calcular precisamente toda la gente en los Estados Unidos.

Llenando el censo es fácil y puede estar completado en menos de diez minutos. Simplemente visite el sitio https://my2020census.gov/ y seleccioné uno de los 13 idiomas para llenar el censo. Si tu o alguien que usted quiere necesita ayuda llenando el censo llámenos a el número 206-957-4605.

People over Profit during COVID-19

The pandemic is not dishing out its damage equally. Across Washington State, including King County, not all workers have the luxury or privilege to work from home. While working from home during the West Coast’s worst outbreak, farmworkers in Yakima Valley are getting pushed back to the frontlines to maintain our country’s food supply. We are ordered to protect ourselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by social distancing and self-isolation, yet the working conditions for farmworkers make those measures nearly impossible.

Farmworkers in the Yakima Valley are concerned about their employers’ weak enforcement of social distancing and sanitation procedures. As essential workers, they are requesting basic protections for all farmworkers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing no progress or promise in sight, farmworkers across six fruit processing plants in the Yakima Valley are peacefully striking back against substandard working conditions. They are asking for the minimum protections:

  • Specific measures to guarantee their health and safety
  • To stop employer retaliation if a worker complains about safety measures not being enforced
  • Hazard pay to reflect the risks they are taking as essential workers, and a permanent hourly wage increase to a just wage that extends beyond the timeframe of the pandemic

Before COVID-19’s onset, farmworkers’ work was characterized by low wages and no benefits, short terms of laborious employment, poor sanitation, and inadequate housing. Today, farmworkers are feeding our communities during a pandemic. They are not expendable and never have been. Yet, during COVID-19, they have to advocate for proper enforcement of protocols to protect fellow essential workers. You can do something to help farmworkers protect their livelihood amidst the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Take one minute today to tell Governor Inslee to take immediate action to protect Washington State’s farmworkers
  2. Contacting the plant sites and urging them to negotiate with their workers, rather than retaliating against them for striking:
    – Allan Bros. Fruit in Naches, WA | (509) 653-2625
    – Hansen Fruit in Yakima, WA | (509) 457-4153
    – Jack Frost Fruit Co. in Yakima, WA | (509) 248-5231
    – Matson Fruit Co. in Selah, WA | (509) 697-7100
    – Monson Fruit Co. in Selah, WA | (509) 697-9175
    – Columbia Reach in Yakima, WA | (509) 457-8001
  3. Donating to farmworkers’ cause whether through their general GoFundMe page or individual pages by specific sites:
    General GoFundMe
    Matson Fruit
    Monson Fruit
    Jack Frost

Yakima County is the new epicenter of the global pandemic on the West Coast. We are not on the road to recovery until each community receives the assistance they need to make it through the COVID-19 crisis. As Governor Inslee begins our state’s economic recovery efforts, we must not forget the people in our communities that call Washington home. Please join us in taking action.

Update: Emergency Response Fund

Mil gracias to our generous GiveBIG 286 donors who gave to our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. You helped raise over $46,000! The Beloved Community’s support makes it possible to provide emergency assistance to families hit hardest by the pandemic. Mil gracias again for your generosity, compassion, and support! The needs continue to grow daily, so please consider making a donation if you have not already.

Due to our community’s needs, our staff have received cross-training to address and respond to assistance requests in a way that is coordinated, thorough, and streamlined. Another part of our Emergency Response Fund effort is staff following up with participants and determining their needs. Meanwhile, staff are also responding to new assistance requests.

From March 16 to May 8, our staff totaled 3,572 phone calls regarding requests for emergency assistance. We have served 150 households with housing assistance, including making rental arrangements with landlords and reminding them of the City of Seattle’s extended moratorium on evictions. We have also provided 100 households with cash assistance so that they can purchase diapers, refill prescriptions, and meet other critical needs. We have helped nearly 500 families with grocery gift cards so that they can buy groceries.

COVID-19 reveals the depths of socioeconomic disparities among racial and ethnic groups and across our systems. We are all hurting, including Latinas who are among those hit hardest by the COVID-19 job losses and the undocumented community. When a family lives paycheck to paycheck, having a job is their only safety net, especially during a pandemic. Among Hispanic or Latino people, confirmed cases jumped by nearly 10 percentage points since mid-April, to 31%, compared with their 13% share of the overall population. Undocumented workers are overrepresented in the restaurant, hospitality, landscaping, and construction industries, and they are most at risk of contracting illnesses.

Because of your support of our Emergency Response Fund, our staff will help struggling families navigate through this crisis by providing assistance with food and rent. If you have not had a chance to donate to our Emergency Response Fund, please consider making a donation now. Every dollar adds up and every dollar goes directly to families in need.

Respetuosamente,

Estela Ortega
Executive Director

The Numbers are Coming In

Currently, King County’s response rate for the Census is 67.6%. The average for Washington State is 63.4%, and 58.1% for the country. By filling out the Census, our communities are saying that we care about what the next ten years are going to look like. Census statistics affect everything from the bus routes in our neighborhoods, the staffing at hospitals, and even who represents us in government. Every single household that fills out the Census is making a difference in their communities.

The response rate for the 2010 Census was only 70.3%. We are so close to meeting and exceeding that percentage from ten years ago. If you have a loved one that has not filled out the Census yet, let them know there is still time! The Census deadline has been extended to October 31st.

It is easier than ever before to fill out the Census. Filling it out online, over the phone, or by mail takes 10 minutes. Just visit https://my2020census.gov/ to start making a difference in your community. We still have time to make sure that every person is our community is counted. If you have any questions about filling out the Census, or need help filling it out, call us at (206) 957-4605.

Gracias, King County, for showing that you care and that we count!

¡Los números están entrando!

Actualmente, la tasa de respuesta del condado de King para el Censo es 67.6%. El promedio para el estado de Washington es 63.4% y 58.1% para el país. Al llenar el Censo, nuestras comunidades están diciendo que nos preocupa por cómo van a ser los próximos diez años. Los datos del censo afectan todos y influencia las rutas de autobuses en nuestros vecindarios, el personal en los hospitales, e inclusión quien nos representa en el gobierno. Cada hogar que llena el Censo está habiendo una diferencia en sus comunidades. La tasa de respuesta para el Censo de 2010 fue de solo el 70.3%. Estamos tan cercas de reunirnos y superar ese porcentaje de hace diez años. ¡Si usted no ha llenado el Censo, todavía hay tiempo! El plazo del Censo se ha extendido hasta el 31 de octubre.

Es demasiado fácil completar el Censo. Solo toma 10 minutos y se puede llenar en línea, por teléfono o por correo. Solo tiene que visitar https://my2020census.gov/

Para empezar a hacer una diferencia en tu comunidad. ¡Todavía tenemos tiempo para asegurarse de que cada persona cuenta! Si tiene alguna pregunta sobre como llenar el Censo, o necesita ayuda para llenarlo, llama al (206) 957-4605. ¡Muchas gracias, Condado de King, por demostrar que te importa y que contamos!

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.

Update and Call to Action: Airport Noise Abatement Bill

Mil gracias for taking action to move forward the Airport Noise Abatement bill (HB 1847). When passed, you will have helped include areas between Beacon Hill and Federal Way as part of the area that is advocating for noise abatement. Currently, the bill is in the Senate Rules Committee, of which Senator Bob Hasegawa is a member. Senator Hasegawa has committed to pulling HB 1847 onto the Senate Floor for a vote. Please help sustain this community-driven momentum by asking Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and Senate Floor Leader Marko Liias to put this bill to a Senate vote. For your convenience, we are including a letter template for you to personalize and then send to Senate Majority Leader Billig and Floor Leader Liias.

The text in the brackets below is intended to prompt you for your information. Please delete the brackets and enclosed text before entering the appropriate information. To identify in which district you live, click here and enter your address. Doing so will help elected officials tally how many community members are in support of this bill’s passage.

To: Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig <andy.billig@leg.wa.gov>; Senate Floor Leader Marko Liias <marko.liias@leg.wa.gov>

CC: Senator Bob Hasegawa <bob.hasegawa@leg.wa.gov>; Maria Batayola <mbatayola@elcentrodelaraza.org>

Re: Bring HB 1847 to a Senate Vote

Dear Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and Senate Floor Leader Marko Liias,

My name is {YOUR-FULL-NAME} and I live at {FULL-ADDRESS} in District {NUMBER}. I ask that you schedule HB 1847 for a vote as soon as possible. {I-MYSELF / I-HAVE-FRIENDS-AND-FAMILY-WHO} live in the affected neighborhood. Airplanes fly overhead every 90 seconds on average, and noise levels are from 70 to 90 decibels, which are well above the standard of 55 decibels during the day and 45 at night.

Please help expand the airport noise abatement area to include the affected neighborhoods between Beacon Hill and Federal Way. Airplane noise adversely impacts the health and well-being of children, adults, and families who live in the area. Passing HB 1847 will make a noticeable difference in {OUR / THEIR} lives. Thank you.

Sincerely,

{YOUR-FULL-NAME}

Prospective First-time Home Buyers Get Started

On early February, the Business Opportunity Center (BOC) developed and provided educational training for community members who want to own their first home. Within one week, the Business Opportunity Center finished designing the training. On the day of the training, 66 participants attended and teachers from our José Martí Child Development Center provided childcare. In 2019, the BOC trained 123 prospective home buyers.

All 66 participants successfully completed the required training. We were thrilled with the outcome because we were able to assist communities who face housing affordability issues in our area. The next step is our Financial Empowerment staff will schedule one-on-one sessions with each participant. These sessions are intended to improve their credit situation through lending circles. This resource is a peer-to-peer model that helps participants access a loan with 0% interest while building credit. We are so excited to work with participants so that each of them can own their first home.

El Centro de la Raza’s Staff Service Awards in 2019

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
Fidencio Angeles

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR-HIRABAYASHI PLACE
Francisco Martinez

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Natasha Zastko

SPIRIT AWARD
Lizbet Huizar

TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Martha Diaz

TEACHER OF THE YEAR-HIRABAYASHI PLACE
Martha David

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Heyda Raymundo

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S AWARD
Sharon Hu

EQUIPO del AĂ‘O AWARD
AT&T
Amazon

35 YEARS
Hilda Magaña

20 YEARS
Martha Cano
Miguel Maestas

15 YEARS
Rocio Espiritu
Bertha Hernandez Ortiz
Martha Garcia

10 YEARS
Maria Luisa Aguilera Torres
Iran Barba
Luisa Citlali Beltran

5 YEARS
Ana Garcia

3 YEARS
Rosalina Alvarez Gutierrez
Martha David
Ceyla Diaz Penaloza
Yaiko Iizuka
Jieying Lei
Juana Mendoza
Luisa Graciela Oviedo
Rocio Ruiz
Fengqin Wang Marolla
Danyuan Zhao

Francisco’s Story

Francisco* has been a participant in our Senior Program for the past two years. He has neither a home nor family members. He faces the elements when he is not sleeping at a shelter. Before the sun rises, he must leave the shelter per policy. As a result, he arrives at El Centro de la Raza earlier than other Senior Program participants in search of a friendly place where he can stay warm.

He enjoys the culturally appropriate meals that we provide in a congregate setting. His favorite dishes have chicken in them, and he also loves to drink coffee. Aside from eating a nutritious meal every day, Francisco is socializing with others who speak his language, rather than isolating himself.

There is more to the Senior Program than a nutritious meal and opportunities to socialize. For example, last year, Francisco joined the computer literacy 8-week class for seniors and learned how to use a laptop.

Thanks to King County’s partnership, El Centro de la Raza is now a Senior Hub. We are expanding the operating days and hours of our Senior Program so that seniors, like Francisco, can now attend our daily programming and have access to resources. Francisco says, “I am so glad you guys are open on Mondays again because I didn’t have anywhere to go on those days.” Francisco greatly benefits from being in our Senior Program because he can remain an independent, engaged, and active community member. We are glad to have him here.