June-July: Cuentos from Our Work

81 Students Graduate to Kindergarten from the José Martí Child Development Center

We are proud to announce that a total of 81 children successfully completed their final year of preschool and graduated from the José Martí Child Development Center! They are now prepared for their next adventure: kindergarten!

Though the ongoing pandemic posed many challenges, the children participated in dual-language programming and learned the skills to prepare them for kindergarten. They engaged with social justice and community involvement topics and made significant strides in social/emotional, physical, cognitive and linguistic development.

We are so thankful to all of our students, families, and community of supporters for their role in keeping our program running, and keeping our students safe and healthy. And mil gracias to Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and Seattle Preschool Program as well as the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and City of Seattle subsidy programs that make it possible for many of our students to attend high quality, affordable preschool.

Finally, we just want to say another BIG congratulations to our graduates for a great year — our hope to each of you is that you will continue learning and continue to be proud of your cultures, languages and who you are. You and your families are always welcome at El Centro de la Raza, and we hope to see you all at future community and cultural events. We will miss you all and wish you the best of luck in kindergarten!

We Remember July 27th and Santos Rodriguez, Always

Before dawn of July 24, 1973, 12-year old Santos Rodriguez and his brother were taken from their home in Dallas to the back of a police vehicle at gunpoint by Officer Darrel Cain. With a gun pointed at Santos’ temple, the officer pulled the trigger once, warning both children that he would continue until he had the truth. Convinced they were both lying about robbing a soda machine, he pulled the trigger again, ending Santos life instantly.

At El Centro de la Raza, employees decided to name a park in his memory, the Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park, to remind us that we must continue to fight against racism for a better world for our children.

Henry Sanchez joins El Centro de la Raza

We are glad to introduce Henry Sanchez, our Ethnic Studies Aide who will be mentoring students at El Centro de la Raza. He is a first generation student who is currently a senior at University of Washington, majoring in Comparative Ethnic Studies with a minor in Sociology.

Henry first connected with El Centro when the landowners of the mobile home park in SeaTac where his family lived decided to sell its land and give long time residents a two week eviction notice. He and other kids and teens formed a Youth Committee, and the largely Hispanic mobile park neighborhood became activists. They put together a documentary to talk about why they loved where they lived and the community that was there. For many in Seattle, it is one of the last bastions of affordable housing. With such short notice, people who had poured all of their savings into their homes for decades were about to lose their houses–many of which were not structurally sound to move or had difficulty finding spaces in other parks.

With El Centro de la Raza’s support, Henry’s family was able to purchase another home in time. Like many families, Henry engaged with different programs to strengthen his household and today he is mentoring others to do the same. Welcome Henry!