Washington DREAM Act Becomes a Reality! March eNews
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March 13, 2014
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Felicidades a todos! I would like to share with you all, in case you have not heard, that Washington State recently made history by passing the DREAM Act/Real Hope Act! As only the fourth state in the United States to provide undocumented students with access to state-funded financial aid for college, we have taken an important step towards equitable educational opportunities for all.

Despite the fact that the issue of immigration reform remains unsolved, the passage of the DREAM Act/Real Hope Act is an important victory in our constant struggle for social justice. Mil gracias to all our hardworking hermanos y hermanas who helped make this dream a reality with such tenacious advocacy efforts and passionate commitment to the cause. Below is a photograph of Governor Jay Inslee preparing to sign the DREAM Act/Real Hope Act into law, surrounded by a group of students who will directly benefit from the new legislation (left), and surrounded by supporters and legislators (right) including myself. Read on to learn more about other ways that El Centro de la Raza is making lasting impacts on our community, including a story about how our young children are taking a stand on immigration reform.

inslee at dream act 
(Photo Credits: AP Photos / Ted S. Warren)


Estela Ortega
Executive Director

P.S. - Don't forget to "like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and spread the word about our great new cooking classes!

Single Mother Achieves Safety & Security Through Homeless Assistance Program

El Centro de la Raza's Homeless Assistance Program provides comprehensive housing assistance to homeless Latino/a families with dependent children and multiple barriers to stable housing. Participants receive case management focused on stabilizing their situations, and finding and maintaining permanent, affordable housing. Below is a story of one of our Homeless Assistance Program participants. Names have been changed to protect the participants' privacy.

Until recently, Juana Beltran and her son Camilo were living in Eastern Washington with Juana’s ex-husband, an Iraq War veteran. Unfortunately, after two tours in Iraq he was suffering from severe mental illness, and had become physically and verbally abusive. The abuse escalated quickly from heated verbal attacks to domestic violence, including an incident when Juana was aggressively choked by her ex-husband. Emotionally shaken, physically hurt, and fearing for her life and for the safety of her child, Juana made a brave decision to flee from the dangerous situation.

When they arrived in Seattle they were homeless, Juana was jobless, and their only hope was a suggestion to visit El Centro de la Raza. They came in search of assistance and found it. El Centro de la Raza’s Homeless Assistance Program was able to provide Juana with motel vouchers for immediate housing needs, and later with rental subsidies and move-in costs for an apartment of her own. Juana also benefited from our Employment Assistance Program. Through this program she enrolled in Soft Skills Training, secured employment, and successfully increased her wages as a result of her new skills.

Juana and Camilo are now safe and stable in Seattle, and are grateful for the readily accessible programs at El Centro de la Raza that helped them stay on their feet during desperate times. Juana tells us that had it not been for the much needed assistance she received from El Centro de la Raza, she doesn’t know what she and Camilo would have done.

Donate now to ensure that families like Juana and Camilo have a place to call home.


El Centro de la Raza News/Noticias

JMCDC Children Write Letters to Congress

jmcdc letters to congress collage

As part of an innovative curriculum, children in El Centro de la Raza's José Martí Child Development Center have been learning about social justice issues, specifically focusing on immigration laws and how children are affected by family separation. Recently, Executive Director Estela Ortega wrote a formal letter to Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers asking for her to push for comprehensive immigration reform, and last week the children of JMCDC followed her lead and created their own personalized letters to send to Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers as well. Not only are children learning to become aware of issues that affect their communities through this activity, they are also learning to express themselves creatively, finding their voices, and developing fine motor skills.

As the Chair of the House Republican Conference, Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the highest ranking woman in Congress. Our hope is that the letters will influence her to use her position of high ranking to get the ball rolling on legislation that will benefit our cause. Click here to view the full letter to Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers from Estela Ortega, and click here to view two letters created by JMCDC children.

Chicano Poet/Activist Luis J. Rodriguez Attracts a Large Audience to El Centro de la Raza

luis j rodriguez collage

Luis J. Rodriguez is a celebrated Chicano poet, journalist, and activist known for his brutally honest depictions of gang life in his award winning novel Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. as well as his tireless work to end gang violence and promote expression and empowerment through poetry and literature. Rodriguez visited El Centro de la Raza on Wednesday, February 26th to share some of his poetry and discuss his life and experiences. He is pictured above (right) with El Centro de la Raza staff members Cristina Jimenez, Eduardo Diaz, and Alex Bautista. The picture on the left shows the crowd at the event. To view more pictures and videos from the event, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/elcentro72.


El Centro de la Raza Community to Participate in Symbolic Fast

On Thursday, April 3rd El Centro de la Raza staff and community members are participating in a 24-hour fast for immigration reform. The fast is a form of peaceful resistance, meant to bring awareness to the issue of comprehensive immigration reform
, build solidarity, and hopefully spark a push for immigration legislation in the near future. We will be spending the day together on April 3rd, to engage in discussions and fun activities throughout the day as a means of keeping the mind off hunger and continuing the conversation about immigration reform.

As of today, 42 staff members have committed to the 24-hour hunger strike, and we hope to recruit more participants in the coming weeks. We invite you to join us in our peaceful demonstration for immigration reform awareness, and spread the word to family and friends. If you would like to participate in the fast and spend the day with us raising awareness for immigration reform, please call (206) 957-4605 or e-mail execasst@elcentrodelaraza.org. Mil gracias!


Sign Up for Our New Cooking Classes Today!


Learn how to cook traditional, cultural dishes and support your community at the same time!

El Centro de la Raza is excited to announce that we are expanding our popular Tamale Making Classes to include a wider variety of cooking classes! Learn how to cook our favorite dishes, share in our culture, and meet new people at the same time. Class fees vary and directly support our Senior Nutrition and Wellness Program. Classes are held on select Saturdays at El Centro de la Raza. Follow the links below to view fees for specific classes.

Click here to purchase tickets for cooking classes. For more information e-mail development@elcentrodelaraza.org or call (206) 957-4611.

Get Help With Your Mortgage at our Foreclosure Prevention Event

We understand you may be facing challenges in keeping up with your mortgage payments. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering where to get help now, we invite you to get the answers you need at a free workshop being held right in your community. Come to Wells Fargo's free Mortgage Assistance Event in Seattle sponsored by El Centro de la Raza, for Wells Fargo Homeowners.

  • Saturday, March 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at El Centro de la Raza.
  • Personal, confidential one-on-one consultations.
  • To register, call (206) 957-4610 today. Registration is recommended, but not required.
Click here for more detailed, bilingual information about the event.

Join Us This Year for Cinco de Mayo!

cinco de mayo front image

El Centro de la Raza’s 9th Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration is fast approaching, and we are seeking local vendors to sell crafts, textiles, and more! This event is free to the public and will take place on May 3, 2014, from 3-8 pm at El Centro de la Raza. We expect at least 800 people from Beacon Hill and its surrounding neighborhoods.

We provide all vendors with a table and two chairs. Vendors will pay a flat fee, and we will gladly provide you with promotional Cinco de Mayo flyers or posters if you would like to advertise the event.

For more information about vendor booths, please contact cultura@elcentrodelaraza.org or call (206) 957-4630. Click here to view the event flyer.

El Centro de la Raza Offering Financial Education Classes

Bring your financial questions and we'll be sure to cover the topics that are most important to you, from getting affordable car loans to preparing yourself financially to buy a house! At the end of the workshop you will have the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one appointment with a financial counselor, as well as receive a certificate of attendance making you eligible for a $100 incentive! Click here for dates and more detailed, bilingual information.

Get Free Tax Prep at El Centro de la Raza!

United Way of King County offers free tax preparation at 19 locations in King County. This year, El Centro de la Raza is one of the sites!  Additionally, a King County Assistor will be on site on March 13th and 20th during Tax Prep hours to help enroll people in healthcare and basic food benefits. Click here for more detailed information.
For site locations, hours of operation, maps, and more information visit uwkc.org/taxhelp or call 2-1-1. Anyone making under $58,000 annually can also file online by visiting www.myfreetaxes.com/kingcounty.

Free Bilingual Legal Clinics at El Centro de la Raza

Need legal assistance but can't afford it? Mil gracias to Schroeter Goldmark & Bender and the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington for graciously providing free legal clinics again in 2014. We are excited to be hosting these bilingual clinics here at El Centro de la Raza! Click here for more detailed, bilingual information.

Become a Knowledgeable Homeowner at Our Homebuyer Education Workshops

Starting in February, El Centro de la Raza's Homeownership Center will be holding a series of monthly Homebuyer Education Workshops. These classes will give you an overview of the home buying process and will be led by fully bilingual volunteers and staff. Click here for more detailed, bilingual information.

To make a contribution to El Centro de la Raza and help us continue programs like Homebuyer and Financial Education classes, click here or call (206) 957-4652.


El Centro de la Raza’s 2014 Building the Beloved Community Gala

Save the Date for Our Annual Fundraising Gala:

  • Saturday, September 27, 2014
  • Washington State Convention Center
  • Reception & Silent Auction - 5:00 p.m.
  • Dinner, Awards & Live Auction - 7:00 p.m.

Join us in September to:

  • Raise vital funds for El Centro de la Raza’s 44 programs and services 
  • Celebrate with the winners of the Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Awards and Scholarships
 buy a ticket buttonbe a sponsor button 2table ambassador buttondonate item button

I can't make it to the event, but I'd like to donate.

Our Community-Nuestra Comunidad

CeAtl Tonalli Danza Azteca to Celebrate Annual Yankuik Xihuitl Ceremony this Weekend!

If you attended our Día de los Muertos celebration last November, you might remember CeAtl Tonalli, Seattle's traditional Aztec dance group who decorated a beautiful traditional ofrenda and performed a sacred Aztec ritual. We invite you to join CeAtl Tonalli in celebrating Yankuik Xihuitl/Mexica New Year as they perform traditional dances, prepare traditional foods, and share the culture and traditions of native Mexican people.

  • Saturday, March 15 and Sunday March 16
  • Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center - 3801 W. Government Way, Seattle, WA 98199

For more information call (206) 856-8411 or visit CeAtle Tonalli's Facebook page.

Compassionate Cities are Uncomfortable Cities - Attend a Social Justice Conference this Friday!

You are invited to Seattle's first Regional Compassionate Communities Conference! This event is dedicated to everyone in our community who is uncomfortable with the suffering of others and ready to take action.

  • Friday, March 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • St. Mark's Cathedral: 1245 10th Ave East, Seattle, WA 98102
  • Registration fees vary, click here to register.

Click here for more detailed information about the event. If you can't make it to the all-day event, consider registering for "An Evening With Karen Armstrong," after the Compassionate Communities Conference.

César Chávez Social Justice Festival 2014


¡Vengan Todos! Everybody is invited to join El Centro de la Raza, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Campaña Quetzal, and the Seattle Police Department in celebrating César Chávez Day on Saturday March 29th. The César Chávez Social Justice Festival is a family oriented event, free to the public, and will include music, dancing, food, and speeches by local Latino activists including El Centro de la Raza's own Estela Ortega. Join us on this special day to commemorate one of the most influential Latino leaders in United States history.

  • Saturday, March 29 @ 11:00a.m.
  • César Chávez Park - Corner of S. Cloverdale St. & 7th Ave.

For more information, call Adrian Moroles at (206) 790-0106

eSe Teatro Kicks Off 30/30 in Seattle

eSe Teatro

On Friday, March 21st eSe Teatro kicks off the Seattle participation in the 30/30 - a US Latino/a NoPassport reading scheme. 30/30 is a gathering of thirty NoPassport playwrights and theatre-makers who also happen to be US Latina/o artists. This national initiative, spearheaded by Caridad Svich in collaboration with Dominic D’Andrea, brings a canon of work by contemporary Latino/a authors to stages across the United States. eSe Teatro is honored to be organizing the local 30/30 and presents the first reading in Seattle of Archipelago by Caridad Svich. This is the first public reading of her newest play here on the West Coast. Click here to purchase tickets and for more information.

Save 60% on Your Electric Bill This Year

seattle city light

Having trouble paying your electric bills? You may qualify for Seattle City Light's Utility Discount Program, which offers free home energy visits to help you maximize your discount, as well as assistance with other utilities such as water, sewage, and garbage. Visit Seattle City Light's website to see if you qualify for the discount program. To apply, call (206) 684-3417 or email
SCL_RateAssistance@seattle.gov. Applications are available online in seven different languages.

Take Part in Seattle Neighborhood Summit 2014

Seattle Neighborhood Summit 2014 

City of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray made a pledge during his campaign that if elected, he would hold Neighborhood Summit within his first 100 days in office. This April 5th, he is following through on his promise and holding the 2014 Seattle Neighborhood Summit, which will allow community members to provide input as to how to tackle pressing issues facing communities throughout Seattle. In order to make this event effective, Mayor Murray is asking community members to fill out this online survey, (available in 5 different languages) to let the mayor know what is important to us in our communities, and what we would like to get out of the summit. This is our chance to influence change, let's make the best of it! Click here to access the survey, click here for more information about the summit.

La encuesta también está disponible en Español. Haga clic aquí para tomar la encuesta en Español.


Help Us 'Move King County Now'!

The future of our region has never been so clearly in our hands.
Do we vote to put 30,000 cars back on our streets? Do we let our streets, roads, and bridges further deteriorate? And should we leave some seniors, students, disabled, and working families stranded, unable to get around completely?

Or, do we save our bus service, fix our roads, keep our economy moving, and protect our quality of life? Given that choice, it’s an easy one for El Centro de la Raza. That’s why we’re excited to join Move King County Now to pass Proposition 1 this April.

The County Council agreed to give voters a chance - this April 22nd - to save our bus service and fix our roads by voting to support a new Transportation Benefit District.

Can we count on you to help save our bus service and fix our roads? Click here to sign up to volunteer, click here to learn more about Move King County Now. 


Superintendent José Banda to Host Community Informational Meetings

This March, Seattle Schools Superintendent José Banda began hosting a series of meetings to share information with the community about the details and status of the Seattle Public Schools' five-year strategic plan. Each meeting will be held at a different location and will be specific to each of the five educational regions in Seattle. Interpreters in Spanish, Somali, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog will be available. Click here to learn more about these meetings including dates and locations, and click here to learn more about the five-year strategic plan.

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In This Issue:
Homeless Assistance Program Success Story

JMCDC Children Write Letters to Congress

El Centro de la Raza to Participate in Day-Long Fast for Justice
 Chicano Poet Luis J. Rodriguez Attracts Large Audience

Wells Fargo to Hold Foreclosure Prevention Workshop

Sign Up Now for Great New Cooking Classes!

Looking for Craft Vendors for Cinco de Mayo Event!

Save the Date for 2014 Building the Beloved Community Gala

Celebrate Yankuik Xihuitl With CeAtl Tonalli Danza Azteca

Compassionate Cities Are Uncomfortable Cities

César Chávez Social Justice Festival 2014

Spanish Classes Ad Ashley

Tamale Class Ad 2

Mil Gracias March Funders:

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
$55,438 for Smoking Cessation Program

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods
$28,493 for Summer Learning Program

Lutheran Volunteer Corps
Four full-time volunteer stipend positions for 2014-2015 year

Seattle Police Charity Fund
$1,500 unrestricted donation

Events Calendar:

March 15: Pork Tamale Class
March 22: Pozole Class
March 22: Salsa Making Class
March 29: Veggie Tamale Class

March 31: César Chávez Day

Cafe Ad 2


News Roundup:

$1.6 million awarded to support academically at-risk youth
Justice Sotomayor shares life lessons with UW students

Obama pitches health care law to Latinos to boost enrollment
EPA tribute to long-time civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis

Board of Directors:

Ramon Soliz, President
Roxana Amaral, Vice President
 Pablo Mendoza, Treasurer
Victoria Kill, Secretary

Madrienne Salgado, Parliamentarian
Francisco Calderon
Juan Cotto
Cristina Garcia
Dorry Elias-Garcia
Ricardo Garcia
Jeff Middelton
Alexandra Narvaez
Bianka Sanchez
Urbano Santos
Ofelia Alanis Torres

Room Rental Ad

Parking Lot Ad

Programs and Services:

Basic Healthcare Enrollment
Bebes! Infant Mortality Prevention
Café con El Centro
César Chávez Demonstration Garden
College Readiness
COMCAST Digital Connectors
Community Meeting Space
Community Service
Crisis Advocacy
Cultural / Political / Social Events
Economic Development
ECR Transitional Housing
El Patio Apartments
Employment Assistance
ESL Classes / Spanish Classes
Financial Empowerment
Food Bank
Foreclosure Counseling
Growing & Learning Together
Homeless Assistance
Hope for Youth Poetry & Civil Rights History Classes
HUD Housing Counseling
Immigrant / Human / Civil Rights Social
Justice Advocacy

José Martí Child Development Center
Latino Hot Meal Program
Legal Clinic Site
Local, State, National & International
Coalition Building

Luis Alfonso Velásquez Flores
After School Program

Parent-Child Home Program
Plaza Roberto Maestas
Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park
Senior Nutrition & Wellness
Smoking Cessation
Tax Prep Site
Transit Oriented Parking
Veteran’s Services
Youth Case Management & Cultural
Youth Employment
Youth Technology Training

Youth Violence Prevention

GoodShop Ad

Bartells Ad

Community Action Agency • United Way Agency • Affiliate of National Council of La Raza
www.elcentrodelaraza.org 501(c)3 Nonprofit Tax ID: 91-0899927

Contact Us | 2524 16th Avenue South - Seattle, WA 98144 | 206-957-4652 | donor@elcentrodelaraza.org | www.elcentrodelaraza.org

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