We are pleased to introduce this year’s Roberto Felipe Maestas Scholarship recipients!

It is an accomplishment in and of itself to graduate in a year like 2021, but these scholars have truly gone above and beyond. This year’s Roberto Felipe Maestas Scholarship recipients are helping to build the Beloved Community by fighting for justice and generational healing. They have already shown promise as young community organizers, advocates, educators, and leaders.

Announcing our 2021 Legacy Award Honorees!

In honor of Roberto and his legacy, the Annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award recognizes two individuals, who exemplify Building the Beloved Community through multi-racial unity and working to eliminate poverty, racism, and social inequity. Roberto’s life was dedicated to this mission and he believed only through multi-racial unity can we eradicate poverty, racism, and social inequity. El Centro de la Raza celebrates our Legacy award winner 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 on Saturday, October 2, 2021.

El Centro de la Raza is pleased to recognize our annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award honorees:

Dr. Estell Williams, M.D. and  Edwin Lindo, J.D. 

Dr. Estell Williams, M.D. is a board-certified general surgeon, an Assistant Professor of Surgery, and Executive Director of the Doctor For A Day outreach program through the University of Washington School of Medicine. 

Edwin Lindo, J.D. is a Critical Race Theory Scholar and educator and Assistant Dean for Social and Health Justice at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Edwin teaches, presents, and writes on issues of race and racism within Medicine and society.

​Together, Edwin and Estell are the co-founders of Estalita’s Library, a community library and bookstore with a focus on social justice, ethnic studies, and liberation movements. Estelita’s goal is to have community book talks, classes, meetings, history lessons, and much more to strengthen and develop our collective analysis for justice. Estelita’s Library’s model is to build upon the traditional bookstore model and include community book lending. The space and books are open to everyone, at no charge

Consider writing a letter to your local newspaper

Hello and happy summer! As the season winds down and families and teachers get ready for kids to return to school, we’re thinking about the boost they’ll get soon, thanks to new investments from the Education Legacy Trust. 

During the last legislative session, a majority of lawmakers took the bold and necessary step of balancing our upside-down tax code by passing a tax on extraordinary capital gains. While our tax code is still far from fair, we’re finally starting to make the wealthy to pay their share. 

The capital gains tax will add an estimated $500 million a year to the Education Legacy Trust, making child care more accessible and affordable, enrolling more children in early learning programs, funding K-12 education, and providing more opportunities for students in community colleges and universities. Less than 1% of the state’s wealthiest residents will pay this tax, but every community in Washington will benefit.

Will you help us share this good news? We have to thank legislators for their hard work and commitment and ask them to keep working to make the tax code more equitable. 

We’re asking friends and partners to spread the word. Consider writing a letter to your local newspaper about our upside-down tax code and how the capital gains tax will start to fix it. 

If you need inspiration, here’s an excerpt from a letter that SEIU 925 leader Kathy Yasi recently submitted to the Seattle Times: 

In D37 we elected Sen. Saldana, Rep. Santos and Rep. Harris-Tally to lead us in finding ways to make sure everyone pays their fair share in our state.  I want to thank each of them for their hard work and dedication to find solutions to our unfair tax system.  And still, we have more work to do.

Thank you, Kathy, for taking the lead! And thanks in advance for your efforts to do the same. We appreciate you helping us share ways that a fairer tax code will benefit you and your neighbors — and to counter those who like the system just the way it is. Together, we’re making progress!


Letter writing talking points

Capital Gains Letter to the Editor Templates

Introduction: Say who you are and why you’re writing. 

For example:

“I’m a mom in Edmonds and I’m excited about more options for child care that are coming because this year legislators passed a capital gains tax on the super rich.”

OR

“As a local business owner here in Spokane, the new capital gains tax passed by state legislators this year means my employees will have more options for child care and parents will see more investments in education.”

Body: Talk about the capital gains tax and why it’s important. 

For example:

“Childcare, preschool, and other education are funded by a new tax on capital gains, profits of more than $250,000 from the sale of stocks and bonds. Less than 1% of Washingtonians will pay this tax, but everyone will benefit.”

OR 

“The capital gains tax is a good step to making sure everyone is paying their share in taxes and supporting the services — like early learning and education — that we all benefit from.”

OR 

“We can make sure that every community has what they need to thrive when we insist that every person pays their share in taxes.” 

Closing: Thanks legislators for their vote or ask legislators to continue fixing our upside-down tax code

For example:

“But those with the most are still not paying their share in taxes. Our tax code is the most upside-down in the country, which means those with the least income are paying the highest share of their earnings in state and local taxes. We have to make this more fair. Our elected leaders should find more ways to make sure everyone pays their share.” 

OR 

“I want to thank (legislator name) for having the courage to vote for the capital gains tax. Our community needs investments like (example) that the tax will fund. I also appreciate your recognition that the tax code still isn’t fair and I encourage you to keep working on solutions like a wealth tax and a more equitable estate tax. Thank you!” 

Sign: Don’t forget to sign your name. Some papers also require the city where you live or your address. 

Important Notes

  • Most publications set a limit of 200 words for letters to the editor so please keep your submission under that. 
  • Find your local paper and information on how to contact them on our handy spreadsheet

Sample Letter

Dear editor, 

I’m writing to thank our state legislators, (name) and (name), who voted for a capital gains tax that requires the wealthy few to pay their share and starts to balance our upside-down tax code and.

Washington is dead last when it comes to tax fairness, but that changed this week when the capital gains tax went into effect. 

For too long, we’ve asked those who earn the least to pay the greatest share of their income in state and local taxes. We’ve asked them to foot most of the bill for schools, health care, transportation, and other services that benefit all of us. 

A capital gains tax will make sure that those with the most pay their share. It will fund child care, preschool, and K-12 education. All of us will benefit, especially parents who need accessible and affordable early learning and employers who need a reliable workforce. 

Lawmakers should keep working to make our tax code more fair. They must make sure everyone pays their share so we can all get the services we need. They should look for other ways, like a wealth tax, to ask those who have done well in Washington to do right by Washington. 

Sincerely,

(Name) 

Sample letter

To the editor:

This year, we came together to tell legislators it was time to address our upside-down tax code and ask the wealthiest Washingtonians to pay their share. I applaud state legislators (name) and (name) for their vote for the capital gains tax. 

Washington is dead last when it comes to tax fairness, but that changed this week when the capital gains tax went into effect. 

For too long, we’ve asked those who earn the least to pay the greatest share of their income in state and local taxes. We’ve asked them to foot most of the bill for schools, health care, transportation, and other services that benefit all of us. 

We’ve been told there’s not enough in the state budget to fund everything we need for our communities to be healthy and prosperous. But that’s not true. There are plenty of resources in our state. We must ask those who have done well in Washington to do right by Washington. 

I/my organization is going to continue asking lawmakers to make our tax code more fair. I hope you’ll join me/us. When everyone pays their share, we can all get the services we need, including (name your organization’s service or issue).

Sincerely,

(Name)

Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: September 2021

Sol, Sonrisas y Aventuras! Youth Scholars venture into Summer Hybrid Learning Programs at El Centro De La Raza

Summer Learning Program — Seattle and Federal Way: 6th – 8th-grade scholars enjoyed a field trip to the great outdoors!

With the glorious Pacific Northwest summer as our backdrop, the youth of the Summer Learning program were eager to venture on field trip excursions. Mask in hand and social distance guidelines in place, youth participated in four field trips carefully selected to give youth exposure to spaces they might not otherwise frequent.  Two of the most memorable field trips were a hiking excursion to Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, and a self-lead scavenger hunt tour of the University of Washington. “Just being out of the house is nice, and hanging out with friends make these the best field trips ever!” shared youth scholar, Jayson.

In order to be eligible for field trips, the youth had to attend 80% of virtual sessions held via Zoom during the week. #Earned! Centered on skill-building, youth attended three daily classes focus on math, language arts, and cultural enrichment. Though cameras reminded off, having in-person opportunity to meet created the comfort and open space for continuous participation. We look forward to transitioning scholars to the after-school program starting September 2021.

If you are interested in signing up your scholar, please contact our Youth Programs Manager, Liz Huizar M.A. at lhuizar@elcentrodelaraza.org.


A challenge to make ceviche for roommates inspired this Oaxacan immigrant to start his own Seattle business

The Business Opportunity Center of El Centro de la Raza would like to congratulate Marcos Arellano, owner of Shark Bite Ceviches and participant of our Food Incubator Program. We celebrate his hard work and his recognition in the Seattle Times! For more information about the Food Incubator Program, please contact Ivette Aguilera: iaguilera@elcentrodelaraza.org or at (206) 883-1981.

Marcos Arellano, a vendor who started selling ceviche five years ago, stands near the cart where he sells his ceviches at the outdoor plaza located at El Centro de La Raza, 1660 S. Roberto Maestas Festival St. in Seattle Monday-Friday, 12 p.m – 7 p.m. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)

El Centro de la Raza’s Small Business Development Program provides small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with workshops, business development advice, credit counseling, and access to a variety of resources all aiming to foster long-term financial stability and independence. Your donations ensure that we can continue to provide such valuable services.

Mil gracias Mick for all your hard work and the flowers!

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”

Michael Pollan

We are sad to say goodbye to Mick Duggan our Master Gardner, who is retiring after 15 years from his amazing work in the Cesar Chavez Demonstration Garden! Mick has toiled and tilled as our our volunteer Master Gardener since 2006! We have learned so much and will miss you! Best of luck in all your future endeavors, and may all your gardens grow!

Clínicas de Vacunas de El Centro de la Raza

Necesita la vacuna?

Haga clic aquí para encontrar una ubicación de vacuna cerca de usted

Tenemos una Clínica de Vacunas gratis próxima y un Dental de Emergencia gratis en nuestras oficinas de Federal Way el 27 de agosto.

Es vital para nuestra comunidad que todos hagamos nuestra parte y nos vacunemos. A continuación, encontrará una hoja rápida que comparte Mitos frente a hechos sobre las vacunas y una hoja rápida sobre sus derechos de vacunación.

El Centro de la Raza’s Softball Team

“It’s a family affair.” Veronica, our fearless softball captain and El Centro de la Raza’s Property Manager says about El Centro de la Raza’s softball team. El Centro de la Raza has been participating in a softball league organized by Urban League for three years now since 2018. In 2020 we did not have a season due to COVID-19, and the teams are very grateful to be playing again. The league is full of teams working in human services and cultural organizations working exceptionally hard throughout the pandemic. The other teams are United Indians of All Tribes, Urban League Metropolitan Seattle, and International Community Health Services.

The softball league is a welcome return and an essential outlet for individuals and organizations. It is also a joyful way to network and get to know the other organizations, creating multi-cultural unity and connections that allow us to get to know the faces of the organizations we are working with. Veronica mentions that it has helped El Centro de la Raza vaccine clinic outreach immensely. Our El Centro de la Raza team includes some of our current employees, past employees, and families. It’s a way to keep in touch and continue to build our community. At the end of July, we were excited to beat the undefeated United Indians of All Tribes team! Veronica says we keep a competitive spirit, but it’s all about camaraderie and getting to know each other.

Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: August

Sixty nine students graduate from the José Martí Child Development Center!

We are proud to announce that a total of sixty nine children successfully completed their final year of preschool and graduated from the José Martí Child Development Center (JMCDC)! This was an especially challenging year with the pandemic. Still, the students worked hard all year long and made outstanding progress in all areas of development (social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language). We are so proud of all of the students, and they are now ready for their next adventure: kindergarten!

Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to hold a community graduation celebration as we have done in the past, so the teachers planned safe and creative events for each classroom to honor their graduates. At JMCDC on Beacon Hill, we celebrated our sixty three graduates with walk-up or “drive-through” events where the students received a certificate and gift; and parents could stop to take pictures with their graduates. JMCDC at Hirabayashi Place is decorated with their six graduates’ pictures and artwork and celebrated in their classrooms.

We are so thankful to all of our students and families for your support in helping to keep our program running, and safe and healthy for our students. And mil gracias to ECEAP and Seattle Preschool Program for making it possible for many of our students to attend preschool, as well as the DCYF and City of Seattle subsidy program that provided discounts throughout the year to further support our families. Last but not least, a BIG congratulations to our graduates for a great year — we will miss you all and wish you the best of luck in kindergarten!


Robotics – Bahlam Bots Program

Competition Ready for 2021-2022 Leagues!

Echale Ganas, scholars! Upon completion of the robotics program, scholars received a laptop/tablet duo to support their future academic endeavors.

Normally the Bahlam Bots Robotic program spends the year preparing and then competing in either the First — Lego League or First — Robotics Competition. With this year’s changes to the league, our program shifted to prepare scholars to be competition-ready for the following year. This break from competition allowed scholars to take their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) preparation in a new direction. Which ultimately created a much-needed community. Scholars participated in a number of at-home challenges that focused on mechanical and logical thinking but also worked to strengthen soft skills such as presenting/giving a presentation and public speaking.  For all their hard work, scholars earned a laptop as a means of investment for their future. These future robotics professionals are not only ready to compete next year but are ready for bright careers!


Summer Learning 2021- Federal Way & Seattle, Zoomies meet during first field trip!

Zoomies on Scavenger Hunt

Participants in our afterschool program and newly enrolled scholars entering middle school began this year’s Summer Learning Program on July 2. Fondly name the Zoomies, our scholars have made the best of participating remotely. However, the excitement of getting to go, together on a field trip was physical! Energy and laughter filled long empty halls of El Centro de la Raza, as scholars participated in a scavenger hunt that led them all over the building to learn the story of the over 100-year-old historic building.

Scholars also had a chance to participate in art projects and had a chance to try on archeological hats in exploring minerals and rocks. This became a theme, symbolic of the foundation our scholars exhibited for the rest of the summer.

Although academic classes will continue via Zoom, scholars will have a chance to participate in three more field trips that will ultimately help combat summer learning loss.


Job Readiness Training

Our students, Juana Mas, Dallanary Santos, Andy Castro, and Alessia Manay enrolled in the job training program at El Centro de la Raza’s Business Opportunity Center, have finished their internships with Launch 206! The focus of the program was teaching the participants how to be on-the-water and general seamanship skills. The focus of the program was to help in preparing the students with the skills necessary for careers in the maritime industry. Students gained real-life experience through field trips, guest speakers, and information sessions. In addition, each student received a stipend of $1,000! Check out some highlights of their work here!

Seattle Public Schools is currently transitioning the portal for this year’s Youth Maritime Accelerator program. If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming project please call Danna Villar Cardenas YJRT (Youth Job Readiness Training temp coordinator) Phone number: (206) 887-3574 or email: bocintern@elcentrodelaraza.org.


Tomando Control De Su Salud

Kathlene, a participant in our Tomando control de su salud (Taking Control of Your Health) program, gave us a wonderful testimony of her time with us. She said, “I’ve applied all that I have learned from these classes. The biggest thing I took away from the course was the vital information regarding my health. Along with the information, I also shared my experiences with those around me daily. I was consistently recognized for my progress within the course. I am currently trying to apply all that I have learned in this course and in my routine to improve my quality of life. For this, I give thanks to the people who have formulated this wonderful course and to El Centro de la Raza for all their help.”


Launch and Grow Your Business

Jeanett Quintanilla is a licensed lawyer from Peru and is fascinated with the law and her community. Her passion for serving others continued once she moved to the United States and volunteered at the Latino/a Bar Association of Washington legal clinic. She then became a certified bilingual paralegal in Washington state. Jeanett participated in the entrepreneurship course Launch and Grow Your Business through the Business Opportunity Center (BOC). After graduating from the course, she was given one-on-one business advising through BOC on permits and advertisement online. Now, Jeanett is the owner of Manu Group LLC – a professional services company that offers paralegal, Spanish translation, and empowerment workshop services to the community. To learn more about her business and services, please contact Jeanett at Jeanett@manu-group.com or (206) 778-6407.


Youth Job Readiness Training

Students enrolled in El Centro de la Raza’s Youth Youth Job Readiness Training program finishing up the end of their session

Finding a job can be a challenge for youth. They must determine what careers are available, their interests, and what skills they need to develop. Another problem among youth is the lack of skills, experience, and education that make them eligible for the workforce. The Youth Job Readiness Training Program is tackling these two problems with a solution: training youth about competent job training, financial literacy, internship placement, and academic support for future education. The program runs through the Business Opportunity Center and recruits 15 to 20-year-old high school students to attend a year-long training course. In addition to technical courses, the program teaches students networking skills, presentation skills, and project development.

This year has been a success despite the pandemic—We learned how to be together in a virtual setting. Every Wednesday, we had the opportunity to share not only knowledge but also emotional support. In addition, students also receive field training at partner organizations. As part of their training, one group this year will be building a boat with the Center of Wooden Boats through Launch 206. One student has already finished her internship with the Port of Seattle for a consecutive year, and another one is working with Seattle Goodwill. Also, a group of students is doing their internship at the Consulate of Guatemala and another one with El Centro de la Raza. Some organizations are providing stipends and school credit for internship completion.

So far, the program has succeeded very well in one of its goals: to help youth find employment. Most of our graduates now have jobs or are attending college, a remarkable achievement for our program. Graduates have found jobs in a variety of fields, from construction to customer service. We are happy to see our students enjoy the knowledge and assistance that we provide and how much we can learn from them. As the number of students willing to explore the employment experience grows, we will continue to have more success stories that show the importance of this program in helping to build the Beloved Community.

Please click here to make a donation to support the wonderful work we do to change the lives of children, youth, and families in the community.

Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: July


9 of 10 scholars will be entering high school this fall. All received a serape sash, with their high school graduation class, symbolic of the support El Centro de La Raza will provide these scholars.

Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program & Federal Way Totem After School Program, 8th Grade Promotions!

Since the beginning of 2021, families of the Totem After School Program and Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program have been participating in the ‘Padres Preparados’ workshops series. The workshops provide an opportunity for interaction among different households to create a support system while navigating the middle school years. Understanding that the success of our students is reliant on intergenerational support, the workshop models also build family members’ skillsets such as joining Zoom meetings and understanding the cultural capital they instill in their youth. Workshops are offered twice a month, with the second workshop, titled “Si Se Puede: Roadmap to College” offers caregivers a deep exploration of the pathway towards college. At the end of the series, participants will earn a certificate of completion for their dedication.


The Workforce Program and the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program

Isabella*, who is of Purépecha descent, has always been interested in the history of maritime. Working on boats has always piqued her interest. Through El Centro de la Raza’s Workforce program, Isabella is part of the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program, which the Youth Maritime Collaborative offers. Isabella, whose parents emigrated to the US from Mexico, says the program has given her opportunities to go outdoors and have hands-on learning within the maritime industry while understanding the professional side of maritime and giving her the chance to improve her technical and marketing skills. She wants to be a role model for other girls and women in her community. Isabella hopes to encourage them to pursue higher education or find opportunities that they may think are unavailable. She plans to go off to college herself to pursue a degree in architecture this fall. Isabella is very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Youth Maritime Accelerator Program and hopes that these opportunities continue to be available to youth in our community. She believes El Centro does everything possible to ensure that all people can fully participate regardless of language limitations.

*Name has been changed for privacy


Our System Navigators Supports Family Through the Record-breaking Heat

Janice* and her family of 6 live in the Renton area, they were without AC or a fan during the hottest day on record, Monday, July 28th, 2021. Through El Centro de la Raza and our System Navigators, we were able to provide them a $200 Visa Card to cover basic necessities and buy a fan. Our navigators continue in contact with the family to provide them guidance on various programs and assist with meeting their basic necessities.

*Name has been changed for privacy



The future is Latina! Two Federal Way Open Door graduates with their regalia proudly representing their familias & connection to El Centro De La Raza.

High School Scholars & Their Diplomas!

Despite this past year being full of challenges, our scholars at Truman Campus stayed focused on their goals towards graduation. We saw tremendous growth in our scholars as they navigated through this school year; their hard work and perseverance paid off. It was an honor for our team to support scholars along this journey and help prepare graduates for a successful new chapter as they transition into higher education. Congratulations to the class of 2021. We hope success will keep following you in everything that you do!


Youth Job Readiness Training

Finding a job can be a challenge for youth. They must determine what careers are available, their interests, and their skills or need to develop. Another problem among youth is the lack of skills, experience, and education that make them eligible for the workforce. The Youth Job Readiness Program is tackling these two problems with a solution: training youth about competent job training, financial literacy, internship placement, and academic support for future education. The program runs through the Business Opportunity Center and recruits 15- to 20-year-old high school students to attend a year training course. In addition to technical courses, the program teaches students networking and presentation skills and project development.


This year has been a success. Despite the pandemic, we learned how to be together in a virtual setting. Every Wednesday, we had the opportunity to share not only knowledge but also emotional support. In addition to that, students also receive field training at partner organizations. As part of their training, one group this year will be building a boat with the Center of Wooden Boats through Launch 206. One student has already finished her internship with the Port of Seattle for a consecutive year, and another one is working with Seattle Goodwill. Also, a group of students is doing their internship with the Consulate of Guatemala and a different one with El Centro de la Raza. Thanks to these internships, some organizations are providing them stipends for its completion and school credits.


So far, the program has succeeded very well in one of its goals: to help youth find employment. Most of our graduates now have jobs or are attending college, a remarkable achievement for our program. Graduates have found jobs in a variety of fields, from construction to customer service. We are happy to see our students enjoy the knowledge and assistance that we provide and how much we can learn from them. As the number of students willing to explore the employment experience grows, the program will support the community. We will continue to have more success stories that show the importance of this program and the help to our beloved community.


A Message of Success from our Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program

Hello everyone, this is Ileana with Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program, also known as; (YMPEP) for El Centro de la Raza. This is our Success story.

“Our Culture and our Familias”.

El Centro worked with a mini Grant from the KC YMPEP where we had an opportunity to work on an educational project on Marijuana/Cannabis prevention. We worked with Liz and her team Karla and Mimi and had a wonderful turnout. The young scholars are from the Totem Federal Way after School Program & Plaza Roberto Maestas after School Program students– Combined Programming.

Take a peek at one of our modules.

Description:

“Food is sacred for our familias. Recipes are often passed down from generation to generation without thought, it becomes an unspoken tradition. Just as important as the meal, is the conversations held around those meals. For many of our familias, the pandemic has created food insecurities. Many of the meals families once enjoyed have been modified to adapt to what is available within budgets or even from food secured through food banks. To help nourish our families and continue traditions, El Centro De La Raza’s middle school programs in collaboration with Marijuana/Vape Youth Prevention programming will host a week-long cooking session for scholars to learn, cook and converse with their own familias. As part of the unit, youth will first learn about the dangers of marijuana consumption and the challenges that substances have on their development. Through these first sessions, youth will gain talking points to share with their family and reinforce their own understanding. Scholars will then plan a menu for their families based on a curated option from program leaders. Through creating their menu, scholars will practice soft skills of learning steps in following a recipe and learning units of measuring. Scholars will also receive a drop off of ingredients and food staples to create the meal together at the end of the week.”

Scholars have cooked their meals, invited their families to enjoy the meal, and discussed information learned at the beginning of the week. They were very proud. Through this project: the young Scholars were able to support food insecurities, practice soft skills, and learn about marijuana and vape prevention.


Tomando Control de su Salud

Alejandro* recently completed the Tomando Control de Su Salud offered through our Senior Program. He says that the class taught him the difference between good and bad cholesterol and how to control his body. He tells us that the program has helped him change his eating habits and portion control. He thanks the program coordinator Flor for her hard work and the interesting books she provided.

*Name has been changed for privacy