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!