March eNews - El Centro de la Raza


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Estimad@ Amig@ {FIRST_NAME},

As 2013 rolls right into Spring, it seems there has never been a better time to engage in the community, and to influence the direction of the neighborhood, city, state, national, or even global community. The El Centro de la Raza community is working hard to promote equity in our schools, in law enforcement,  and in the immigration system. We are also working to expand the "Beloved Community" through a diverse-income development, called "Plaza Roberto Maestas" in our south parking lot. All of these efforts would not be possible without YOU, and our supportive community of bright-minded people, both young and old, who care enough to give of themselves, and to get engaged!

We are honored to be the recipients of the 2013 Futurewise Livable Communities Award! We are so looking forward to the incredible opportunity to partner with Futurewise in creating a sutainable future that is equitable for working families, for the environment and for the community! Please read more about the award below. Mil Gracias Futurewise!

We cannot complete this project without funding! You can make a difference in the community by helping us to gain the attention of the state legislature in our request for a $3 million budget allocation for the Plaza Roberto Maestas! We need the support of the five senators listed below. If you live in one of these senators' legislative districts, please call or email your senator today! Talking points are provided here.

Senator Tim Sheldon, 35th District – (360) 786-7668 email
Senator Andy Hill, 45th District – (360) 786-7672 email
Senator Joe Fain 47th District – (360) 786-7692 email
Senator Rodney Tom, 48th District – (360) 786-7694 email
Senator Jim Honeyford, 15th District
– (360) 786-7684 email

Text is provided in the legislative emails, however, please feel free to edit and format as needed. If you have any questions please call me at (206) 957-4613 or our Capital Development Director Stephen Deal at (206) 957-4607.


Estela resized 2
Estela Ortega
Executive Director

P.S. - And of course, visit our website to stay up-to-date on the happenings at El Centro de la Raza and in nuestra comunidad - our community.

Students Advocate for Reform on Latino Legislative Day

On Friday, March 15th, 30 middle and high school students made the trek to Olympia along with 10 staff members of El Centro de la Raza to participate in Latino Legislative Day.  After receiving a tour of the capitol building, the students spent the day meeting with state senators, representatives, and senators' aides to advocate for the DREAM Act and for funding for Plaza Roberto Maestas.

For some participants, the day held a powerful opportunity to share personal stories and to be heard. Francisco, a Hope for Youth participant, told his story to Hans Dunshee, Democratic Representative of the 44th District. "My brother went to college, and had to drop out because he couldn't pay for it. I have the opportunity to go to college now too, but if the DREAM act does not pass, I will not be able to apply for Federal Student Aid, and I will also have to drop out." Dunshee responded by insisting that borders should never be a barrier to a person's education. "I support the DREAM act," Representative Dunshee told Francisco, "and you WILL go to college." Mil gracias to both Francisco and Representative Dunshee for your courageous words. Conversations like this one are the building blocks of victory!

Although it was a long day, the students felt optimistic about the effort they made to engage their political leaders. Mil gracias Hope For Youth for your enthusiastic participation. Kee up the great work!


Bringing Diversity into the Seattle Police Force

SPD logo 2El Centro de la Raza has a long track record of advocacy in law enforcement. We will soon have an outreach program that will increase the representation of diverse communities in the Seattle Police Department. Sergio Camacho, a Youth Case Manager at Ingraham High School, is reaching out to young people, to immigrants and to other minority communities in an effort to make a career in law enforcement more accessible to those who can adequately serve and protect diverse people with cultural sensitivity and language skills. In addition to recruiting, Sergio will also conduct workshops to prepare potential recruits for the written and agility portions of the SPD screening. In close partnership with the SPD, Seattle colleges and universities, the Explorer Program (youth recruitment) and El Centro de la Raza's Veteran's Program, Sergio's work will be instrumental in ensuring that the SPD is able to recruit great officers who embrace Seattle's values!

El Centro de la Raza's first SPD recruitment workshop will be April 27th!
Please email Sergio Camacho for more information. Click here to learn more about how you can join the SPD, or click here to learn how to become a parking enforcement officer.

Futurewise Livable Communities Awards goes to...

Futurwise awardEl Centro de la Raza! Futurewise, a state-wide public interest group that works to promote sustainable and eco-friendly development in our communities, recognized El Centro de la Raza for our plans to build a mixed-use facility on Beacon Hill.

On March 20th, the Plaza Roberto Maestas development was selected for the 2013 Futurwise Livable Communities Award "because of its combination of affordable housing, leveraging public investment in transit, and green building, while preserving Latino cultural traditions." Mil gracias to our architects, SMR, Daniel Glenn, and Donald King for your wonderful work in helping us to develop the design and concept. Mil gracias, Futurewise, for this incredible honor, and for all of the hard work you do in the community to create a sustainable future!

José Martí Child Development Center Renovations Complete!

NeighborhoodsLogo2010_2We have new flooring, paint, plumbing fixtures and more in the José Martí Child Development Center. Voluntary seismic renovations have made the building safer, increased building longevity and reduced maintenance costs. Plumbing renovations replaced old piping, brought systems up to code, made the system more efficient, and replaced worn and outdated fixtures. So come to El Centro de la Raza and flush a shiny, new toilet!
Mil gracias to…

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Senator Patty Murray
  • Washington State Taxpayers and Gov. Gregoire, Hon. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, Sen. Adam Kline, Rep. Sharon Tomiko-Santos, and Rep. Eric Pettigrew for State funding support
  • Seattle Department of Neighborhoods - Neighborhood Matching Fund
  • Project Steering Committees
  • Environmental Works
  • CDK Construction Services, Inc.
  • Blue Monkey Painting – Ruben Rolón
  • Architects Without Borders – Dave Helton and Rose Rodriguez
  • Engineers Without Borders – Carmen Cejudo
  • Plumbers Without Borders – Carmen DiGregorio and Dom DiGregorio
  • Mallory Paint Store
  • Microsoft volunteers
  • Starbucks volunteers
  • Seattle Works volunteers
  • University of Washington School of Law volunteers
  • Jose Marti Child Development Center parents and families
  • El Centro de la Raza volunteers and staff
The José Martí Child Develoment Center is Expanding!

With the renovations complete, we now have added space for expanding our preschool! Beginning April 1st, full time spaces are avalable for preschool-age children. Click here to learn more, or contact Hilda Magaña at (206) 957-4627.

Seattle Public Schools to Host Community Meetings on Updating the District’s Strategic Plan

Seattle Schools logoSeattle Public Schools will host five community meetings to share information and ask for public comments about updating the District’s current Strategic Plan, Excellence for All
The updated plan will guide academic and operational priorities for the next three to five years and include ongoing benchmarking to measure the District’s performance.

Community meetings will take place April 1, 2, 6, 8 & 9th 2013
Click for more information on times, locations, and interpretation. 

Father Alejandro Solalinde at Seattle City Hall

Father Solalinde
A Celebration of Immigrants and Refugee Human Rights

April 11, 2013
7:00 - 8:30 PM
Seattle City Hall
600 5th Ave, Seattle WA 98104

Defender of Immigrants and Human Rights Activist Father Alejandro Solalinde is the Director of "Hermanos en el Camino", a shelter and center for immigrants passing through Southwest Mexico. The center provides food, lodging, medical care and legal assistance for people migrating from Central and South America. This is a FREE event! Please join us! Click here for more information.

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Saturday | May 4th, 2013 | 1:00pm-5:00pm
At El Centro de la Raza

Butterfly for newsletter with caption
Free Admission and Parking
Music & Prizes
Children's Activities
Craft and Informational Booths
Traditional Mexican Food for Sale

Performances by:
Ce Atl Tonalli Danza Azteca
Cheif Sealth MEChLA Dance Group
José Martí CDC Desfile 


The Seattle Fandango Project!

Seattle Fandango video Screen shot The Seattle Fandango Project is a dance group that uses the 400 year- old tradition of Fandango jarocho to build and transform communities. Watch the Youtube video to learn more about The Seattle Fandango Project, and look forward to seeing the dancers and musicians perform at Cinco de Mayo!

JMCDC Desfile Cultural Fashion Show Looking for Participants of all ages!

If you have a traditional costume or outfit, and would like to participate in the Desfile Cultural fashion show, please call Hilda Magaña at (206) 957-4627.

Mil Gracias to our sponsors, the Seattle office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and Sysco!  Click here to RSVP

King County Community Tobacco Cessation visits El Centro de la Raza
No SMokingEl Centro de la Raza staff welcomed Paul Zemann from King County's Community Tobacco Cessation Partnership, which focuses on providing education and resources for treating tobacco use and dependency. Paul shared with us the effects of tobacco on health and lifestyle and gave us some tools to use in helping people quit.  We look forward to sharing this information with everyone in our community through trainings on the effect of smoking. These trainings will be available to our Hope For Youth program and ¡COMADRES! as well as the general community. Enrique, our Smoking Cessation Program Coordinator also helps prospective quitters access the Quit Line and other resources. If you would like more information about the Smoking Cessation Program at El Centro de la Raza, please contact Enrique Gonzalez at (206) 957-4640. Mil Gracias to the Muckleshoot Tribe for the funding that makes this program possible!

United Way Tax Prep

It's tax time again, and El Centro is a United Way tax-prep site!
In 2012, United Way’s 650 Free Tax Prep volunteers prepared 14,400 tax returns, returning clients $20.7 million in tax refunds to the community! If figuring your taxes seems a daunting task, or if you'd like help making the most out of available tax deductions, come to El Centro de la Raza and step into the Salvador Allende room on the basment floor, room 106.

Tax-Prep Schedule:

January 15th - April 15th, 2013
Tuesdays 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Thursdays 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am - 2:00pm

Volunteer Spotlight

Elisa Graceffo joined El Centro de la Raza, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., for a Day of Service! During this event Elisa, along with over 50 volunteers from Microsoft, the University of Washington School of Law, CDK Construction Services, Architects Without Borders, Blue Monkey Painting, CDK Construction Services, and the parents of José Martí students. Volunteers spent the day preparing the offices and classrooms for painting by removing doors, spackling walls, painting cubbies, sanding corners, and taping edges. With their sleeves rolled up, they were able to assist in the transformation of El Centro de la Raza’s Child Development Center!

"I was looking for a volunteer project that my group at Microsoft could do to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day," says Elisa, "El Centro de la Raza seemed to stand for many of the same ideals as Dr. King, and I thought it would be a great place for our group to spend the day, helping them prep for renovation." Mil Gracias Elisa and the all the MLK day volunteers!

MLK Day of Service group 2

Microsoft Volunteers on the MLK Day of Service. Elisa is on the left in blue!
Congratulations to ESL Class Graduates!

After 3 months of hammering out verbs, adjectives and prepositions, our ESL class students can triumphantly declare they are English speakers! ESL classes at El Centro de la Raza are taught in collaboration with Seattle Central Community College and are designed to help students achieve English proficiency for the citizenship exam, for job placement, and other critical life activities. Congratulations to the teachers who received the "Certificate of Excellence" from SCC, and to students who have completed the course! You are on your way and we wish you every success!
ESL Completion 2

Poetry Workshops Help Youth Form a Strong Identity

Youth in El Centro de la Raza's Hope For Youth program are learning new ways to express themselves! Hector Eduardo Marquez Garcia is an eighth grader at Denny International Middle School. He has been writing poems since third grade. He is inspired by the women he loves. In the future, he would like to be a published poet.

For Her
I need help trying to figure out this equation
Why does you plus me equal so amazing?
Stressing out, can’t live my life without you by my side
It’s like all the emotions come together and collide
When I look deep in you, I could see the world through your eyes
While gazing, I see a whole paradise
I feel butterflies in my stomach when I have you near
Seeing you everyday brings my smile to ear to ear
Quiero que sepas que no puedo vivir sin ti
You’re like an angel from above that was sent down for me
Yo quiero ser tu esposo, tu mejor amigo
Get in one knee, entregandote este anillo
Saying “I love you chiquita, tu eres mi amor
You have the key to my heart, the duena de mi corazón.”

-Hector Eduardo Marquez Garcia

El Centro de la Raza Events!           
                April 4:     Café con el Centro de la Raza
                April 13:   Legal Clinic
                April 16:   Spring quarter Spanish classes begin
                April 20:   Tamale-Making class

               May 4:      Cinco de Mayo Celebration
               May 17:    Legal Clinic
               May 20:    Tamale-Making Class


Anuncios y Felicitaciones
Announcements & Congratulation


Parking for a Cause at El Centro de la Raza!

El Centro has opened its temporary light rail parking lot to the public located at 2524 16th Ave S in Seattle next to the Beacon Hill Light Rail Station. The lot is minutes from downtown and the stadiums for Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners games! Proceeds benefit El Centro’s 33 human services and community building programs. Please call (206) 957-4603 or email for monthly parking or airport passes.

We have 2 Zipcars living in our South Parking Lot!

Conveniently located next to the lightrail station, this neighborhood now has access to "wheels when you want them"! Click here to visit the Zipcar website and set up a Zipcar membership in support of El Centro de la Raza's programs and services!



"Force for Change" - Real Change Article on SPD recruitment
►"SHA releases plan to relocate Yesler Terrace residents" - Story

►"EEUU Revisará Separación de Families con Indocumentados" - Story

"Doctors Urge F.D.A. to Restrict Caffeine in Energy Drinks" - Story
►Tens of thousands rally to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline - Story

Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for up-to-the-minute news and information!

El Centro de la Raza
2524 16th Ave. South | Seattle, WA 98144
Tel: (206) 957-4605 | Email:




Students Advocate for Reform on Latino Legislative Day

Bringing Diversity into the Seattle Police Force

Futurewise Livable Communities Award goes to El Centro de la Raza

José Martí Child Development Center Renovations Complete

Seattle Public Schools to Host Community Meetings on Updating the District's Strategic Plan

Father Alejandro Solalinde at Seattle City Hall

Cinco de Mayo with Seattle Fandango

King County Community Tobacco Cessation Visits El Centro de la Raza

United Way Tax Prep

Volunteer Spotlight

Youth Poetry

Easy ways to support El Centro de la Raza:
If   you use GoodSearch as your search engine, or do your online shopping through Goodshop, you can raise money for El Centro de la Raza without spending an extra cent! You may actually save money with Goodshop coupons!
GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!
Support El Centro de la Raza's 33 programs by simply clicking here! Automatic monthly donations are a great option to give all year long!
Learn More About El Centro de la Raza!
Visit our website by clicking here!
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Want to keep updated on what
El Centro de la Raza is doing?
Tamale Making Classes
at El Centro de la Raza
10 AM - 12:30 PM, Saturdays: 
Next class wil be April 20, 2013
Taught by a master tamalera!
Click here to learn more!
Class fee: $75 per per class - includes recipe & a dozen uncooked tamales.
Fees support our Senior Wellness Program which provides balanced daily congregate meals, social & educational activities, exercise classes three times weekly and meal delivery for homebound seniors.
For more details: 206-957-4611 or email.

Spanish Classes
6-7:30 PM Tuesdays/Thursdays:
Spring 2013 Class Schedule:
April 9 – June 13, 2013
Learn Spanish from native speakers in a unique educational setting! Class fees help support our 33 Human Service and Community Building Programs. Adult beginner to advanced level classes are available.
Click here to sign up!
For more details: 206-957-4605 or email.

Un grupo de apoyo y de conversación para la mujer Latina!
Para más información favor de contactor a Brenda Mendoza: (206) 957-4641.

                     You're invited!
Café con El Centro logo
Cafe con El Centro de la Raza:
At El Centro de la Raza
Next Cafe - Thursday, April 4th
How can you become an integral part of the community at El Centro de la Raza? You can start by RSVPing to an upcoming Cafe con El Centro de la Raza!

The Cafe is a great way to introduce yourself to our executive director, Estela Ortega, a board member, and staff from our programs. Learn the history of our roots, tour our building and programs, learn ways to get involved and network with like-minded folks. Share coffee & pan dulce with us!

Café con El Centro de la Raza takes place the 1st Thursday of every month. Call 206-957-4652 or email to RSVP. 
Coffee generously donated by Starbucks!
Get more involved! Can you devote 2-3 hours or more a week, month, year, or just one time? We always have the need for volunteers.
For details contact our Volunteer Coordinator,
Taylor Skoglund:
(206) 957-4602 or by Email.
Also see our website's volunteer section!
El Centro de la Raza relies on donations from our individual supporters to keep our programs running.

We are also fortunate enough to have corporate and foundation sponsors and grants for many of our programs and services:

Mil Gracias to all of our wonderful funders, sponsors and donors!
Ramon Soliz, President
Jeff Middelton, Vice President
David Gasca, Treasurer
Roxana Amaral, Secretary
Victoria Kill, Parliamentarian
Francisco Calderon

Dorry Elias-Garcia
Cristina Garcia
Ricardo Garcia
Rhonda Gossett
Pablo Mendoza
Janet Jaime Rodriguez
Madrienne Salgado
Urbano Santos
Ofelia Alanis Torres
With over 24,950 volunteer hours, El Centro de la Raza serves 18,633 individuals and 9,389 families annually through the following programs and services:
Basic Healthcare Enrollment
Bebes!  Infant Mortality Prevention
Café con El Centro
César Chávez Demonstration Garden
College Readiness
Community Meeting Space
Community Service
Crisis Advocacy
Cultural / Political / Social Events
Economic Development
ECR Transitional Housing
El Patio Apartments
ESL Classes / Spanish Classes
Financial Empowerment
Food Bank
Foreclosure Counseling
Growing & Learning Together
Healthy Cooking Classes /
   Nuestras Comidas
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
Senior Home Delivered Meals
Smoking Cessation
Tax Prep Site
Transit Oriented Parking
Veteran’s Services
Youth Case Management & Cultural
Youth Employment
Youth Technology Training
Youth Violence Prevention
Volunteer Opportunities

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