Events: November 2022

November 20-December 20: Christmas Tree Sale

Support the children, youth, families and seniors in our 43 programs and services by purchasing a fresh organic Christmas tree during our Annual Christmas Tree Sale!

We are pleased to be able to safely offer high quality, locally sourced fresh organic Christmas trees for purchase. Proceeds benefit our all our vital programs and services, which have sustained. You do not need to sign-up for a timeslot to purchase a tree. 

Dates: November 20 through December 20, 2022 (or while supplies last) Monday-Friday 3:00-7:00 PM and Saturday-Sunday 10:00-6:00 PM

Location: El Centro de la Raza’s North Parking Lot, 2524 16th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144

Learn more here:

November 1-January 15: Washington Health Plan Open Enrollment: 

It’s time to turn the page in your health care story. We can help you write your next chapter. Open enrollment, the time of year when Washingtonians can enroll in a health or dental plan through the state’s insurance marketplace, is here from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. Washington Healthplanfinder has the tools to help you navigate health coverage and find new health plan options like Cascade Care. These plans cover primary care visits, mental health services, and generic drugs all before meeting a deductible. Start your next chapter off right by enrolling in your 2023 health plan at

Enroll here:

Staff Corner: Mari Rico Promotion to Director of Cedar Crossing JMCDC

We are excited to announce that long time El Centro de la Raza teacher Mari Rico was promoted to Director of our new Jose Marti Child Development Center at Cedar Crossing! This year marks Mari’s 25th year with us! The new 6,443 SF multi-cultural, bilingual affordable child development center will serve 68 children at Cedar Crossing. Congratulations to Mari for this well deserved honor!

While working full-time, Mari obtained her Child Developmental Associate’s (CDA) degree at Seattle Central Community College, and her Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences (AAAS) with a specialization in Bilingual/Bicultural Education at Shoreline Community College. She then completed a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Education from the Praxis Institute, and a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Master’s Degree from Goddard College.

Under Mari’s supervision, the Luis Alfonso Velásquez Afterschool Program achieved accreditation from the National Afterschool Association in 2008. In 2018, School’s Out Washington recognized Mari with its Champion Award. As a STARS state-approved trainer and Early Childhood Education coach, she also trains other teachers in the field.

When asked how she manages to teach and find time to learn, innovate, and contribute to her field, she said it makes her job easier. Teaching as a profession is constantly evolving; everything from toys to technology is continually changing, and staying ahead of the curve is important to meet students where they are.

Events: October 2022

October 24-26: National FIELD School Conference on Incubator Farming and Food Systems

Join your fellow land-based beginning farmer trainers, ag service providers, incubator farm program staff, apprenticeship mentors and others in Seattle, WA at El Centro de la Raza. Back in person for the first time since 2019, plan to be there and network with your peers across the country. New Entry Sustainable Farming Project looks forward to joining the community and reuniting to learn, share, and gain new skills and connections to improve their incubator and apprenticeship training programs.  

Dates: Monday, October 24, 2022 to Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 8am – 4pm

Location: Seattle Center, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109

Register here: 11th Annual National FIELD School – Seattle, WA | New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (

October 27: Grand Opening of Si Se Puede Academy: 

Join us as we celebrate the Grand Opening of Sí Se Puede Academy, with food, fun, music, and entertainment for the entire family!

Date: Thursday, October 27, 2022, 4-7pm

Location: 1625 S 341st Place, Federal Way 98003

Register here:  

November 5: Día de los Muertos | Day of the Dead

We invite you to enjoy our traditional exhibition of ofrendas, variety of vendors, delicious food, and a spectacular catrinas fashion show. Let’s celebrate the memories of those before us!

Date: Saturday, November 5, 2022, starting at 11am

Location: Plaza Roberto Maestas, 1660 S Roberto Maestas Festival St, Seattle, WA 98144

November 3: Poquitos Dia de los Muertos Day After Fundraiser

Keep the celebration rolling! Join Poquitos for dinner Thursday, November 3rd and help raise money for El Centro de la Raza with every margarita you drink! Poquitos will be donating 20% of the evenings sales to help fund our vital programs and services.

Date: Thursday, November 3rd, starting at 4pm

Location: Poquitos Capitol Hill, Bothell and Tacoma

February 2022 : Noticias Relevant to Our Community

FAFSA Support

Seattle Promise will be hosting two FAFSA/WASFA Completion Workshops for all Seattle Public Schools students during the month of February. These workshops are for any students/their families who would like to learn about state and federal financial aid applications.

Below, a checklist for the documents needed to successfully complete the FAFSA or WASFA.

Additionally, Seattle Promise will host the Discover Seattle Colleges series, where instructors will share different career streams and trajectories.

Applications for Seattle Promise and Seattle Colleges are due March 1, 2022. To apply or to learn more, click here.

Get Free Citizenship Assistance

February Citizenship Day
e: Saturday, February 26, 2022

Time: 10am-5pm by appointment.
Location: OneAmerica Offices in Seattle 

More information:  To make an appointment please fill out our intake form.

It is important to have all the required documents ready for Citizenship Day. For a full list of required documents, check here . If you have ever been arrested, detained, or have had to appear in court, you will need all the certified court documents and police reports. 

 If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact us at (206) 926-3924 by call or text. You can also reach us at

Free Tax Preparation until April 21st!

Inquilinos: Tienen derecho a Apoyo Legal para Evitar el Desalojo

Biden Administration Proposes Change to ‘Public Charge’ Rule, Allowing Immigrants More Benefits

On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a change to the “public charge” rule that would increase the number of government benefits immigrants can receive without affecting their green card applications. Read More Here

February 2022: Cuentos from Our Work in the Community

Organizing & Training Our Environmental Justice Leaders

Training has begun for El Patio and Plaza Roberto Maestas residents in environmental justice leadership, education and community organizing in the Latino community.

Through this program, Beacon Hill residents are learning how to advocate for better health and environmental outcomes and influence policymakers to protect their community from the disproportional impacts of massive transportation developments in the works.

For context, Beacon Hill is already surrounded by major roadways.  On average, every 90 seconds, an aircraft will fly over Beacon Hill.  70% of aircraft traveling to and from Seattle fly over Beacon Hill. This causes intense noise pollution, which has adverse effects on stress levels, sleep, cardiovascular health, and youth’s learning capabilities. Though they are certainly considered a vertical fenceline community, they are not a fenceline community and are not eligible for mitigation. Additionally, residents of Beacon Hill are predominantly people of color, who already tend to be disproportionately harmed by environmental issues.

Apart from learning to measure air and noise pollution and advocate for bills that address this issue, participants were able to connect with other environmental justice-based organizations such as the nonprofit organization Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition (DRCC).  Residents learned how other communities are organizing and supported the DRCC’s signature-gathering efforts for their petition on 

Through storytelling, community building, and leadership development, participants are prepared to effectively fight the proposed Sea-Tac Airport Sustainable Air Master Plan (SAMP).  Follow and join our movement against SAMP here:  We Fight For Environmental & Health Justice – El Centro de la Raza

Our Highest Turnout and Certification for New Homebuyers Yet!

In the face of a deepening housing crisis, we are proud to report the highest level of enrollment and certification for our first-time homebuyer workshop of 2022.  A total of 84 participants enrolled, and 42 received a two-year certificate that will grant them access to Washington Housing Finance Commission programs and Down Payment Assistance.

Apart from providing these classes online in English and Spanish at no-cost, our program is unique in providing home loan options for ITIN holders. 

To offer a comprehensive overview of the process, we welcomed a real estate agent and a lender certified by the Washington Housing Finance Commission.  The topics we covered ran the gamut from credit-strengthening and budgeting to title, escrows, home insurance and inspection.

Please share our joy with the future homeowners from our program below:

The health and success of El Centro de la Raza begins with you. Support from a broad base of community members including foundations, individuals, and corporations is critical to our success and we ask that you carefully consider making a personally meaningful gift – it may be the largest gift you have ever made.

Legacy Award Nominations are Open

El Centro de la Raza turns 50 this year! Help us celebrate by nominating someone who is doing important Social Justice work in our community for the Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award. The Legacy Awards are our way of honoring of our late founder, Roberto Maestas, who 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.

The 12th Annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award will recognize 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 50th Anniversary Building the Beloved Community Gala, which is set to take place on Saturday, October 8, 2022.
Legacy Award applicants can self-nominate or be nominated by someone else. Recipients are asked to attend El Centro de la Raza’s Building the Beloved Community Gala.
Deadline for application submission is Tuesday, May 31, 2022 at 5:00pm Pacific Time. 

Please nominate yourself or someone you know today via our form.

Read about our 2021 honorees, Dr. Estell Williams and Edwin Lindo

The health and success of El Centro de la Raza begins with you. Support from a broad base of community members including foundations, individuals, and corporations is critical to our success and we ask that you carefully consider making a personally meaningful gift – it may be the largest gift you have ever made.

January 2022: Cuentos from Our Work in the Community

Vaccines for Familias on MLK Day

We are as proud as the little gentlemen above of the vaccines we were able to deliver on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in partnership with the City of Seattle and the Othello Station Pharmacy!

In total, 110 vaccines were administered to families, including 17 pediatric Pfizer vaccines.

Thank you to our partners, our community, and our donors for helping make our communities safer!

The Covarrubias: From a Dream in Oaxaca to Home Ownership in Tacoma

On La Hora del Centro de La Raza‘s radio hour, Ana Covarrubias shared how she and her husband, José Pablo, moved from living with relatives as newly arrived immigrants from Oaxaca, to eventually buying a three-bedroom home in Tacoma after participating in El Centro de La Raza’s Certified First Home Buyer Program.

Once they arrived to Seattle, she and José Pablo faced what she described as typical challenges encountered by immigrants; navigating a new language, culture, and credit system, while working to secure their livelihood and find employment. Throughout these challenges, their primary dream in this country, to own a home, stayed at the forefront of their minds.

Ana Covarrubias and Oliver Contreras on La Hora del Centro de La Raza’s Radio Hour

Since arriving, they lived with relatives and eventually rented for five years. Ana felt rent was eating a large part of their income. According to research, one in four Latinos spend more than half of their income on rent and, indeed, this poses a major challenge for wealth building for the community. In mid-2020, she reached out to El Centro de La Raza.

She signed up for a webinar for first-time homebuyers, where she learned strategies to budget and improve their credit. At the same time, she signed up for the Unidos at Work classes to improve her technology skills and enrolled in entrepreneurship courses also offered by the Business Opportunity Center. This holistic approach led to improved savings and income generation for their household.

Upon completion of the home buying program, participants earn a certification recognized by the Washington Housing Commission, which is valid for two years and qualifies participants for down payment assistance.

Ana said the program was very comprehensive and made her feel confident navigating the home buying process at every step. When Oliver Contreras asked how she felt as a homeowner, she said, “Indescribable. It has changed our life, definitively.” Others always ask her how much it cost her to enroll in the program and she tells them it was at no cost to participants, and she hopes others will take the leap and start their homeownership journey.

The Covarrubias lovely new home!

Want to learn more about what is going on in the community? Tune in to La Hora del Centro de La Raza on Seattle’s 1360 El Rey on Tuesdays from 3:00-4:00 PM EST.

The health and success of El Centro de la Raza begins with you. Support from a broad base of community members including foundations, individuals, and corporations is critical to our success and we ask that you carefully consider making a personally meaningful gift – it may be the largest gift you have ever made.

Meet Dallanary Santos – Future Teacher and Job Readiness Training Grad

Just three years ago, Dallanary Santos and her family moved from Honduras to the United States. It was a decision her mom Dania Romero had sometimes second-guessed because of the difficulties they have faced but seeing the opportunities her children have here and the support her two daughters have found support at El Centro de La Raza to discover and pursue their dreams has really made her confident it was the right move.

To adjust to the new culture, Dallanary enrolled in the Youth Job Readiness Training (YJRT) Program at El Centro de la Raza, where the program equips students with job readiness, career development, post-secondary options, while building self-sufficiency skills at school and at work.

Through the YJRT program, Dallanary landed an internship at the Center for Wooden Boats and the Business Opportunity Center with El Centro de la Raza.  Through these experiences and one-on-one career orientation, Dallanary has chosen to pursue a major in Education at Seattle Center College, where she has been accepted. She is excited to graduate in June 2022!

Dallanary attributes her success in school and in life to her mother, Dania Romero. Dania has four children and has signed up her two oldest daughters to the YJRT program. She has seen her daughters find confidence within themselves and flourish and said she admires the dedication and work ethic the staff at El Centro de la Raza bring. Dania is proud of her daughter Dallanary for her accomplishments and is looking forward to seeing her graduate in June.

The health and success of El Centro de la Raza begins with you. Support from a broad base of community members including foundations, individuals, and corporations is critical to our success and we ask that you carefully consider making a personally meaningful gift – it may be the largest gift you have ever made.

An Excellent Posada Night Market for our Businesses & Community!

El Centro de la Raza’s Business Opportunity Center (BOC) would like to thank everyone that joined us for the Posada Night Market on December 17, 2021!

In the spirit of the holidays, and as an effort to help promote local small businesses, BOC planned and promoted a holiday outdoor night market, which was held at Plaza Roberto Maestas on Friday December 17, 2021. The event was Ugly Sweater themed, where individuals were able to buy arts & crafts from small businesses owned by some of our Small Business Development Program’s participants, listen to music produced by DJ  Sabrocito, and take pictures at a Christmas-themed stage provided by Luis Enrique and Piscis Photo & Video Studios. Attendees also enjoyed delicious food from participants of the food incubator program including Antojitos Lita Rosita, Shark Bite Ceviches, Outsider Pizza and Recetas de Abuelita!

The event helped promote 17 vendors showcase their food, craftsmanship. Many of the featured vendors have just started their businesses and this was their debut into the community. As a result, vendors received revenue that day that will allow them to keep investing in their businesses!

Thank you all for your support! Happy New Year!!!

The health and success of El Centro de la Raza begins with you. Support from a broad base of community members including foundations, individuals, and corporations is critical to our success and we ask that you carefully consider making a personally meaningful gift – it may be the largest gift you have ever made.

November Noticias and Articles Relevant to Our Community

From Sensitive Locations to Protected Areas: How to Ensure Safe Access to Essential Services and Activities to Immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a new policy to guide immigration enforcement actions in or near protected areas. The guideline, which is effective immediately, supersedes and rescinds all previous sensitive locations guidance, providing a more comprehensive and clear protection to immigrants against enforcement actions in places they regularly go to access health care services, education, exercise their freedom to worship or publicly convene and at the end, accessing essential services.

In recent years, El Centro de la Raza has devoted its efforts to promote and disseminate the sensitive locations policy issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2011 and that restricted immigration enforcement actions in public places that were defined as sensitive locations. These included educational institutions, health care centers, places of worship, religious or civil ceremonies, and public demonstrations such as marches or rallies. For El Centro, the recognition of sensitive locations was one of the most powerful tools available to support and protect undocumented immigrants from the disproportionate and arbitrary prosecution of immigration agents. This is it, especially during the former federal administration, where ongoing threats of deportation made immigrants live in fear and anxiety, thinking they could be arrested at any time, anywhere they go, even in places where they were looking to satisfy their more urgent needs or exercise their human rights, those that are intrinsic to everyone, regardless of their immigration status.

To promote the sensitive locations policy, El Centro de la Raza undertook an aggressive strategy that included several activities. We prepared a toolkit for potential sensitive locations (that you can access here); created a universal symbol to identify sensitive locations and prepared and provided banners to any sensitive location interested in being identified as such. We also hosted informative sessions to potential sensitive locations interested in learning about the policy; and informed immigrants about sensitive locations so they could keep attending the places where they access essential services fearlessly. We believed and still do, that disseminating the policy will prevent immigrants to restrain from attending the places that provide them with the basic needs and services anyone needs to live a dignified life.

Despite our efforts, and the potential sensitive locations had to protect immigrants from enforcement actions, we were aware the policy fell short in ensuring immigrants’ safe access to some essential services. The policy identified just a few places as sensitive locations adding immigration officers should exercise special care when carrying out enforcement operations in places assisting children, pregnant women, victims of crime or abuse, or individuals with significant mental or physical disabilities. Even though the list was not restricted, leaving to the discretion of immigration officers, whether or not to undertake enforcement operations did not provide certainty to immigrants on which services or institutions they can safely attend without the risk of being approached by immigration authorities. This uncertainty restrained them from access to some crucial services. On the other hand, the policy was not clear about immigration enforcement actions near sensitive locations.  The lack of clarity led to considerable confusion about how close immigration agents can be to a sensitive location. Several cases of questionable arrests took place near, but not at sensitive locations, implying that immigration officers, rather than immigrants were taking advantage of the sensitive locations policy. These circumstances clearly showed the policy should be modified and improved despite being helpful at a time where anywhere was a safe and welcoming space for immigrants.

Fortunately, for the benefit and wellbeing of immigrant communities, the policy has changed. On October 27th the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas announced a new policy to guide immigration enforcement actions in or near sensitive locations, now called protected areas. According to DHS, the change in name, from “sensitive locations” to “protected areas” aims to provide a more precise/ accurate understanding that certain areas are in need of special consideration. Rather than only being, “sensitive” they rise to a level of being protected because of the functions performed in those places.

The new guideline provides greater clarity on what types of locations are protected areas by providing an expanded non-exhaustive list of protected areas, including new designations such as vaccination or testing sites, places of religious study, places where children gather (such as playgrounds, recreation centers, or school bus stops) disaster or emergency relief sites, and social service establishments.

Moreover, the guideline recognizes that “an enforcement action taken near-and not necessarily in- the protected area can have the same restraining impact on an individual’s access to the protected area itself”. Therefore, it calls for immigration authorities to not take enforcement action near the protected area, to the fullest extent possible. As there is no bright-line definition of what constitutes “near” the guideline calls immigration authorities to exercise judgment by asking themselves whether an enforcement action would restrain people from accessing the protected area to receive essential services or engage in essential activities.

The new policy provides a broader, more sensible protection for undocumented immigrants, ensuring they can access essential services and activities without fear, and it backs up the idea that people, regardless of their immigration status should be able to access essential services without threats. However, it is essential to train and educate immigration officers on its implementation, ensuring they apply a reasonable and human judgment to their actions. In turn, El Centro de la Raza will promote the new guideline and inform potential protected areas and the community on its scope and limits making sure immigrants always feel safe, welcome, and respected.

For accessing the Guidelines for Enforcement Actions in or Near Protected Areas click here.

If you have any questions regarding protected areas, please contact Adriana Ortiz-Serrano at     

Internet discounts still available through the Emergency Broadcast Benefit program

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a program that has been temporarily launched to help households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. EBB provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households.

The program will end when the EBB fund runs out of money, or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 public health emergency, whichever is sooner. Households are eligible if they receive Medicaid, SNAP, or other public benefits, are school lunch eligible, are already in the Lifeline program, receive Pell education grants, or have lost jobs and income during the pandemic. More eligibility information:

King County launches Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA)

Updated vendor schedule for Plaza Roberto Maestas!

Consider Writing a Letter to Your Local Newspaper [and Some Instructions on How]

‘Facebook has a Blind Spot’: Why Spanish-Language Misinformation is Flourishing

New definitive analysis by UCLA Voting Rights Expert: final Washington state legislative plan must include VRA-compliant district in the Yakima Valley 

Seattle Public Schools: Covid Vaccine Clinics for Students 5 — 11

UNIDOS 2021 Fall Affiliate Convenings: Evolving for Impact Registration Open

Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: November 2021

The Workforce Development Program at El Centro de la Raza provides extensive outreach, education referrals, and registration assistance for relevant pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs to participants to obtain permanent employment in maritime, construction trades, and/or green career industries. This project focuses on Latinos, immigrants, and limited English proficient speakers with low incomes. To date this year, ECDLR has helped over 40 individuals looking for a path to success through numerous programs such as Youth Maritime Accelerator Program: a collaboration with the Port of Seattle, Goodwill, Seattle Public Schools, and others;  ANEW; and numerous other programs whose aim is to help participants locate and obtain permanent employment in maritime, construction trades, or green career industries

One such program as the Pre-Apprenticeship Training program (PACT), at Seattle Colleges at the Wood Technology Center, where Jose Berceno, a young Latino looking to improve and find a stable career, had a desire to learn and participate in the construction industry. While looking for opportunities to gain work experience and develop new skills, Jose was connected to PACT. After attending their information session on how to apply, Jose was accepted into the pre-apprenticeship program and is currently attending classes.  The Outreach, Placement & Retention Coordinator who works closely with the students mentioned in a follow-up that Jose is doing well and thriving in the program.  Jose will be graduating in December and will be applying to various companies in their job fair that they offer to all graduates.

The health and success of El Centro de la Raza begins with you. Support from a broad base of community members including foundations, individuals, and corporations is critical to our success and we ask that you carefully consider making a personally meaningful gift – it may be the largest gift you have ever made.

Cuentos From Our Programs and Community: October 2021

ECDLR’s own Antojitos Lita Rosita gets a mention in the South Seattle Emerald!

“Rosa Juarez always had the dream of opening Antojitos Lita Rosita but was never quite sure how to start it. She learned about the Food Incubator Program run by El Centro de la Raza and knew it was the perfect opportunity for her. She has been serving food from Plaza Roberto Maestas since April 2019 and living her dream. ” by Jax Kiel at the South Seattle Emerald.

“I noticed this embroidered piece of cloth stapled to the phone pole on the corner across from El Centro de la Raza, on 16th Avenue S. and Bayview Street. It’s not just the message that is so sweet, it is the fact that someone took the time to stitch and present it.”
– Steve Wells, Development

Have a business idea, but aren’t sure what to do next?

Marcos Arellano of Shark Bite Ceviche

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.

We can’t do the things we do without your help.

The health and success of El Centro de la Raza begins with you. Support from a broad base of community members including foundations, individuals, and corporations is critical to our success and we ask that you carefully consider making a personally meaningful gift – it may be the largest gift you have ever made.