A Call to Action: Support The Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act of 2024

We’re calling on you to support Legislative Bill S. 3565.

We ask you to urgently call upon Washington’s Congressional Delegation to act swiftly in renewing ongoing Federal funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This vital program is a lifeline for our most vulnerable families across rural, Tribal, suburban, and urban communities in Washington, enabling them to access affordable internet services and acquire essential devices. The ACP goes beyond mere connectivity; it’s about facilitating access to education, employment opportunities, job training, elder care, family connections, faith programs, healthcare, farming resources, and civic participation. Its impact on our communities cannot be overstated.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a benefit program that helps ensure households can afford reliable broadband services for work, school, healthcare and much more. The ACP was enacted by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in November of 2021 as an extension of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provided a monthly benefit to eligible households to receive access to broadband during the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more here.

We urge you to join us in spearheading the ongoing funding for the – Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act of 2024 and ask Washington’s Congressional Delegation to support Legislative Bill S.3565.

Contact Washington’s Congressional Delegation here.

Call Washington State Senators Patty Murray (202) 224-2621 and Maria Cantwell – https://www.senate.gov/states/WA/intro.htm

Representative Marilyn Strickland
1708 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Dan Newhouse
504 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Derek Kilmer
1226 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers
2188 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Marie Gluesenkamp Perez
1431 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Rick Larsen
2163 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Kim Schrier
1110 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Adam Smith
2264 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Representative Suzan DelBene
2330 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Senator Patty Murray
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative Pramila Jayapal
2346 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Senator Maria Cantwell
511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Let’s come together in our dedication to closing the digital gap and guaranteeing fair access to act now by reaching out to your elected officials and advocating for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

A Call to Action: Defend Our Families – Time Sensitive!

We’re calling on you to defend immigrants and their families!

A Call to Action to Defend Our Families! A bipartisan group of senators is negotiating a deal to pass funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan in exchange for extreme, permanent changes to U.S. immigration and asylum law. Now, the White House has signaled support for trading away refugee protections. This tradeoff would destroy lifesaving protections for people seeking safety and increase chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as expand fast-track deportations of immigrants in the U.S

These are unprecedented threats to refugees and our loved ones and communities.

Time is of the essence: the President hopes Congress will act on a deal before the holidays.

Call Washington State Senators: Patty Murray (202) 224-2621 and Maria Cantwell (202) 224 3441

What to say when you call: I strongly oppose any spending deal that:

  • Trades foreign aid to Ukraine for harmful immigration policies that hurt asylum seekers, children, mixed-status families, and the long-term undocumented.
  • Goes against our values and international obligations by closing our doors to refugees.
  • Results in mandatory detention or sends refugees back to danger and death in their home countries.
  • Creates a nationwide dragnet that deports the undocumented with deep social and economic roots in the U.S. and tears families apart.”

For more information, see links below!

  1. Congressional Republicans are demanding harsh immigration policies.
  2. Recent reports (see here and here) suggest President Biden may agree to a draconian deal with lawmakers.

Cuentos from Our Work: May 2023

Cinco de Mayo

So many community members came out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with us, and we are so grateful! We had prepared for the worst, but the weather was kind and stayed sunny and warm for most of the day.

There were so many fantastic performers, including traditional singers, dancers, and musicians. The amount of talent on display was inspiring! Teachers and students from all our José Martí Centers also put on a fashion show wearing traditional clothing to celebrate the diversity of their cultures!

We also had so many wonderful small businesses selling art, clothing, jewelry and other hand-made items. Our food vendors were much in demand as people lined up to try their delicious food! Several organizations also joined us to provide vital resources, like vaccinations, to our community.

Mil gracias to everyone that made this event so successful, including our staff, volunteers, vendors and performers! A very special thanks to our generous sponsors: Beacon Arts, the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Geico, UW Medicine and Harborview Medical Center. Our celebration would not have been possible without them!

Take Action: Requiring King County Businesses to Accept Cash and the 2023 Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Awards Nominations

King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles has introduced an ordinance that would make it illegal for businesses in unincorporated King County to refuse payments in cash. There is a lot of data out there that shows cashless businesses hurt communities of color, seniors, undocumented residents and refugee and immigrant communities, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and those experiencing homelessness. Everyone should be able to participate in our economy, be able to purchase food and other basic items, and be able to pay with cash if they’re unbanked or underbanked or prefer not using bank cards because of privacy concerns.

The first hearing on this ordinance will on March 28 at 9:30 in the Local Services Committee. Please email or call your Councilmember to show your support of this ordinance! You can find your district and Councilmember contact information here and sample email and phone messages below.

Sample email:


My name is [YOUR NAME] and I live in the [DISTRICT NUMBER] District. I’m writing to you to express my support for the recently introduced ordinance by Councilmember Kohl-Welles that would make it illegal for businesses in unincorporated King County to refuse cash payments
. Cashless businesses have been show to hurt already marginalized communities, like people of color, seniors, undocumented, refugee and immigrant communities, disabled people, and those experiencing homelessness

According to the FDIC’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2020 (May 2021), 18% of adults in the U.S. are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they may lack access to digital forms of payment, including credit or debit cards. This problem is worse for minority households, adults with less education and adults with lower income.

Another concern is that noncash transactions generate vast amounts of data. Paying with cash provides consumers with significantly more privacy than do electronic forms of payment.

Furthermore, when consumers are forced to pay for goods and services in cashless transactions, they (as well as the businesses where they shop) are also often forced to incur added expenses in the form of network and transaction fees.

It is crucial for people to be able to obtain necessities at their local stores and restaurants without being turned away because they want to pay with cash.

Thank you for your leadership on these important issues,

Sample phone message:

My name is [YOUR FIRST & LAST NAME] and I am your constituent. I’m calling to express my support for the recently introduced ordinance by Councilmember Kohl-Welles that would make it illegal for businesses in unincorporated King County to refuse cash payments.

Cashless businesses hurt communities that are more likely to be unbanked or underbanked, which include people of color, seniors, undocumented, refugee and immigrant communities, disabled people, and those experiencing homelessness. Cash payments also provide more privacy and do not incur added expenses in the form of network and transaction fees which burden lower margin businesses.

It is crucial for people to be able to obtain necessities at their local stores and restaurants without being turned away because they want to pay with cash.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue!

Also, read the ACLU blog post about the importance of requiring businesses to accept cash.

2023 Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award Nominations

El Centro de la Raza’s late founder, Roberto Maestas helped organize the 1972 peaceful occupation of the abandoned Beacon Hill school, which later became El Centro de la Raza as we know it today. Roberto Maestas’s life was dedicated to building “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 honor of Roberto and his legacy, the 13th Annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award recognizes two individuals who have exemplified Building the Beloved Community through multi-racial unity and working to eliminate poverty, racism, and social inequity. We encourage people of all races, ethnicities, ages, and gender identities to apply for this award. 
El Centro de la Raza will celebrate awardees and their contributions by making a $1,000 gift in their name to an organization of their choice. Award recipients will be recognized at El Centro de la Raza’s Building the Beloved Community Gala, which is set to take place on Saturday, October 14, 2023.
Legacy Award applicants can self-nominate or be nominated by someone else here.

The Deadline for application submission is Tuesday, May 31, 2023 at 5:00pm Pacific Time.

Cuentos from Our Work: March 2023

Skate and Connect Community Night

On Monday February 20th, we welcomed over 200 attendees to our Skate and Connect event at our recently acquired El Centro Skate Rink.

Familias from across King County came out to enjoy our skate rink and connect with local community organizations. The event was an opportunity for community members to create relationships while also having fun and staying active.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support this event, and to our community partners who helped make it a success! We look forward to continuing to provide opportunities for our community to come together and connect in meaningful ways.

Hip Hop is Green

Some of our youth program participants have recently been working with Hip Hop Is Green (HHIG), the first Hip Hop plant-based climate change health and wellness organization. They give the students the opportunity to increase their leadership skills and participate in multiple community-based projects throughout the Seattle area. Through workshops and activities, our scholars have learned about the global impact of external factors such as pollution and government. They have also learned about the importance of selecting healthy food decisions and advocating for their rights. Most importantly, students have developed their confidence on how to create community-driven innovative solutions in their community.

Federal Way Mirror Article of the Year 2023

The Federal Way Mirror recently named the story of our acquisition of the former Pattison’s West skating rink as their 2023 Article of the Year. It is a testament to the dedication and support of our community. Gracias to reporter Alex Bruell for his wonderful article and the whole Federal Way Mirror for this honor!

Read the original winning article on the Federal Way Mirror website.

Our Executive Director Estela Ortega, left, stands with Mirror reporter Alex Bruell and Liz Huizar, director of Youth Services at El Centro de la Raza.
(Photo credit Olivia Sullivan / The Mirror)

2022 Employee & Volunteer Recognition

Our staff and volunteers work so hard to provide all 43 of our programs and services. Please join us in acknowledging and celebrating their service and dedication!

Executive Director’s Award – Hilda Magaña

Employee of the Year, Seattle – Tania Zárate

Employee of the Year, Federal Way – Maria Casarez

Spirit Award – Laura Aban

Volunteer of the Year Seattle – Yadira Alvarez

Volunteer of the Year Federal Way – Moises Marchan

Equipo del Año – AARP

Service Awards

25 Years of Service

Maria Rico

Maria Teresa Garcia Fitz

Sandra Medina Silva

20 Years of Service

Ricardo Solis

Maria de Jesus Ramirez

Cristina Jimenez

15 Years of Service

Jessica Harris Herrera

Maricela Arguello

Belem Mendoza Ruiz

5 Years of Service

Veronica Gallardo
Wing Yiu Yuen

Mirtha Gonzalez
Yaoping Yang

Rosa Isela Perez
Ayda Majeed Ramadhan

3 Years of Service

Victor Cerdeneta
Mandela Gardner
Heidi Hammes
Iris Navarro Diaz de Leon
Yenny Dzul
Deicy Pérez Sánchez
Hayley Berra

Safiullah Mirzaee
Janeth Angeles
Jim Cantú
Olga Cortes
Estela Rodriguez
Pedro Ruiz
Paolo Arellano

Daniela Lizárraga
Karen Calvo
Maria Jasso Torres
Adulfa Gomez
Vilma Villalobos
Camila Puelpan

Frontline Worker Awards

This year, we are celebrating the staff that since March 20th, 2020, with sacrifice, bravery, and at great personal risk, became a frontline worker exhibiting the highest degree of selflessness. We are forever grateful to their essential service! ¡Mil Gracias, por su sacrificio!

Laura Aban
Maria Luisa Aguilera
Rosalina Alvarez
Janeth Angeles
Fidencio Angeles
Norma Aparicio
Maricela Arguello
Graciela Ayala
Iran Barba
Lissette Barraza
Rafael Barron
Jose Belloso
Citlali Beltran
Jasmin Calderon
Perla Campbell
Angie Chen
Jully Chu
Olga Cortes
Elpidio Cortez Montiel
Maria de Jesus Ramirez

Martha Diaz
Ceyla Diaz Peñaloza
Rocio Espiritu
Hiromi Fermin
Teresa Fitz
Veronica Gallardo
Teresa Garcia
Raquel Garcia
Heydi Garcia
Claudibet Garcia
Flor Gomez
Angela Gomez
Adulfa Gomez
Mirtha Gonzalez
Jessica Gonzalez
Javier Gonzalez
Jessica Harris Herrera
Bertha Hernandez
Xingmei Huang
Baiyang Huang
Maria Jasso

Cristina Jimenez
Kira Lancian
Jason Li
Jiali Lin
Elizabeth Lopez
Hilda Magana
Sandra Medina
Juana Mendoza
Belem Mendoza Ruiz
Hortencia Mercado
Favian Mogollan
Janet Monroy
Maria Paguada
Claudia Pay Pay
Rosa Perez
Cecilia Perez
Franz Perez
Bernadette Polinar
Audelia Quintero
Ayda Ramadhan
Diana Ramirez

Ana Ramirez
Heyda Raymundo
Mari Rico
Alejandra Rico-Diaz
Jenny Rivera
Rocio Ruiz
Pedro Ruiz
Vianey Sanchez
Ricardo Solis
Xiaying Tan
Janet Torres
Consuelo Trujillo
Vilma Villalobos
Wendy Yang
Erxing Yang
Tania Zarate
Susie Zhang
Theresa Zhao
Sandra Zuñiga

2023 Día de los Reyes Recap

Gracias to everyone that came out to celebrate with us at our Día de los Reyes events!

Mil gracias to the students, teachers, and parents of our José Martí Child Development Centers for their traditional performance of the procession of los Tres Reyes Magos! Gracias also to all our small business vendors who were selling such amazing products.

History & Significance of Día de los Reyes

January 6th marks a symbolic celebration among the Mexican culture and various areas around the globe as we celebrate Día de Los Reyes also known as Three Kings’ Day. The holiday represents the day the Three Wise Men: Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, representing Arabia, the Orient, and Africa, arrived on horse, camel, and elephant, bringing gold, incense and myrrh to the baby Jesus after following what is known as the Christmas star to the town of Bethlehem.

In honor of the Three Kings bringing gifts to the baby Jesus, children in Latin America, and around the world celebrate by exchanging gifts. As tradition, children leave out their shoes on the night of January 5th for the Three Kings and the next morning they awake to find gifts for them. Another common tradition during Día de Los Reyes is to bake or purchase and serve Rosca de Reyes, or King’s Cake. The Rosca is shaped like a wreath and decorated with candied fruit, and the most important part, baked with a small baby Jesus doll inside. Whoever gets the piece of the Rosca with the doll has to have a celebration on Día de la Candelaria in February. In the Mexican culture, the host will serve tamales, and a Mexican hot chocolate or champurrado.

El 6 de Enero marca una celebración simbólica entre la cultura Mexicana y varias partes del mundo, ya que celebramos el Día de Reyes, también conocido como el Día de los Reyes Magos. La celebración representa el día en que los Tres Reyes Magos: Melchor, Gaspar y Baltasar, que representan Arabia, el Oriente y África, llegaron a caballo, camello y elefante, trayendo oro, incienso y mirra al niño Jesús después de seguir lo que se conoce como la estrella de Belén.

En honor a los Reyes Magos que traen regalos al niño Jesús, los niños en Latinoamérica y en todo el mundo celebran intercambiando regalos. Como tradición, los niños dejan sus zapatos afuera la noche del 5 de Enero para los Reyes Magos y la mañana siguiente se despiertan para encontrar regalos para ellos. Otra tradición común en el Día de Los Reyes es hacer o comprar y servir una Rosca de Reyes. La Rosca tiene forma de corona y está decorada con fruta seca, y la parte más importante, horneada con un pequeño muñeco Jesús en su interior. Quien corte la pieza de la Rosca con el muñeco tiene que tener una celebración el Día de la Candelaria en Febrero. En la cultura Mexicana, el anfitrión sirve tamales y un chocolate caliente o champurrado.