Help Us Save Metro Transit! April eNews
 eNews-Header 4
April 10, 2014
Estimad@ Amig@ {FIRST_NAME},

You may not know it, but residents of King County are coming up on a very important election this month. On April 22nd, Earth Day, there will be a Special Election in King County to vote on Proposition 1 which, if passed, will preserve our public transit system, fix our roads, and protect our economy and quality of life.
Thousands of people in King County rely on the Metro Transit service to carry out daily necessities such as getting to and from work or school, grocery shopping, and going to the doctor. You may be one of the thousands who ride the bus.
If Proposition 1 does not pass on April 22nd, up to 74 bus routes will be cut, and as many as 107 bus routes will be altered or reduced! This would be catastrophic for the countless low-income families that count on affordable, accessible public transit to get through each day and will likely affect your own commute as well.

I urge you to visit Move King County Now's website here to learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Proposition 1, and to read an opinion article that I co-authored with Denis Hayes about how Metro Transit cuts will have adverse effects on equity and the environment. The article can be found here.
Please help spread the word about this Special Election, as the unusual timing of special elections often catches people off guard, and we will need as many voters as possible to help pass Proposition 1 to save our buses.

Here at El Centro de la Raza, we will be holding a youth volunteer phone banking day on Wednesday, April
17th to get the word out about Proposition 1 and the April 22nd election. We would love to have your support in our efforts to do the right thing and vote to preserve our buses, and promote equity and safety for all. You can do your part by signing up to vounteer at other events to recruit voters for the April 22nd Special Election and spark the conversation wherever you may be. Mil gracias for joining us in the fight for social justice and dignity for all.


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!

Youth Job Readiness Training Program Prepares Rebecca for Life's Unexpected Challenges

Raquel is a senior at Franklin High School, and has been in El Centro de la Raza’s Youth Job Readiness Training (YJRT) Program since August 2012. When Raquel first came to El Centro de la Raza she was very quiet and reserved, keeping her ideas to herself and steering clear of activities. However, YJRT coordinator Cristina Jimenez noticed in her meetings with Raquel that she had great ideas and a desire to be more active in events and activities. With Cristina’s guidance and support, Raquel soon learned to be vocal with her ideas, share her talents and skills, and participate more actively in group projects and volunteer events.

Rebecca’s growth could not have come at a better time, as last summer her parents were hit by a drunk driver and Raquel’s family was faced with serious hardships. Injured from the crash, both of Raquel’s parents were forced to stop working in order to fully recover, leaving a significant void in the family’s income. Entering her senior year of high school, Raquel used the skills, training, and confidence she gained through the YJRT program to secure part-time employment to help her family pay the bills. Today, Raquel still feels the pressure of paying the bills while also being a diligent high school student. With her parents slowly returning to work, Raquel has been able to apply to local colleges and eagerly awaits their replies.
The Youth Job Readiness Training Program provides ELL students (English Language Learners) with employment skills to prepare them for the future. The program includes group projects and internships to apply and strengthen learned skills, as well as parental education and engagement. Click here to make a gift to ensure that youth like Raquel continue to thrive in the YJRT program.
El Centro de la Raza News/Noticias

Mayor Murray Signs Race & Social Justice Executive Order at El Centro de la Raza

Murray Executive Order April 2014
(Mayor Ed Murray signs Race & Social Justice Executive Order at El Centro de la Raza)

Last Thursday, April
3rd, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray visited El Centro de la Raza during our 24-hour fast for Immigration Reform to sign an executive order affirming the City of Seattle's commitment to the Race & Social Justice Initiative (RSJI). Mayor Murray was accompanied by Patricia Lally, Director of the Seattle Office of Civil Rights and long-time friend of El Centro de la Raza who shared the results from the Race & Social Justice Community Survey.

The purpose of the Executive Order is to strengthen initiatives to end institutionalized racism and promote racial equality. Click here to view the complete Executive Order, and click here to read the complete analysis of the Race & Social Justice Community Survey.

As The Center for People of All Races, El Centro de la Raza has played an important role in the advancement of social justice and civil rights for all people in the greater Seattle area. We were honored to host the Mayor's press conference, and it means a great deal to us that Mayor Murray recognizes the impact of El Centro de la Raza's programs, services, and events as we fight for the rights of the most vulnerable populations in our community and work to build unity accross all cultures.

El Centro de la Raza Raises Awareness & Solidarity Through 24-Hour Fast

Last Thursday, April 3rd was no ordinary day here at El Centro de la Raza, as over 40 staff and community members came together to participate in a 24-hour fast for comprehensive immigration reform. The day began with a fasting meditation session led by Jordan Van Voast of CommuniChi, followed by a viewing and discussion of Migration is Beautiful, a film about the power of art in the immigrant rights movement and the harsh realities of our broken immigration laws. In addition to our 24-hour fast, Executive Director Estela Ortega is also participating in a 48-hour fast in Washington, D.C. on April 7th-9th as part of the national We Belong Together movement. Click here to read the full story of Estela's journey to the nation's Capitol.

fast day
(Immigration reform sign decorated by JMCDC students, ECDLR community members participate in social justice discussions)

Although our fast is over, the immigration reform movement will not end until justice is achieved. The immigration laws in the United States are outdated, inhumane, ethically wrong, and in need of radical changes. President Obama has deported more people during his presidency than any other president ever, tearing over two million individuals away from their families in the last 5 years. Please take a moment to sign this petition to let President Obama know that we are united in our opposition to enforcement driven immigration laws. The more people who sign the petition, the louder our voice is! So sign the petition, share it with friends and family, and help us put an end to family separation.

'Four Amigos' Receive Legacy Award

four amigos award
(From left: Laura Wong-Whitebear, Larry Gossett, Estela Ortega, Bob Santos)

On March 14
th, Compassionate Seattle hosted a conference titled 'Compassionate Cities are Uncomfortable Cities,' at which the 'Four Amigos' (Roberto Maestas, Larry Gossett, Bob Santos, and Bernie Whitebear) received a legacy award for the lasting impact that their tireless work for social justice has had on our communities. Although two of the amigos (Roberto Maestas and Bernie Whitebear) have passed, their legacies live on. Receiving the award on behalf of Roberto Maestas was El Centro de la Raza's Executive Director and fellow social justice activist Estela Ortega. Estela and the Four Amigos founded El Centro de la Raza in 1972, creating an organization dedicated to fighting for human rights and a home for people of all races.

El Centro de la Raza Goes Wireless

Thanks to a generous Technology Literacy and Access grant from City of Seattle's Technology Matching Fund, El Centro de la Raza now has WiFi internet connection throughout our building! This grant not only helped us equip our building with wireless internet, but it will also allow us to train seniors how to safely use the web, email, and social media to improve their overall quality of life.

Access to the internet is a luxury that many people do not have, and an increasingly important resource for almost every aspect of life. The technological access gap that affects so many low-income and communities of color is known as the "digital divide," and this grant helps us take a significant step towards closing this gap in our community. Come visit us, and enjoy free access to public WiFi with your personal device!

Mil Gracias to Our Dedicated Volunteers!

national volunteer day
(Volunteers from King's High School beautifying El Centro de la Raza's campus)

In light of 2014 National Volunteer Week (April 6th-13th), El Centro de la Raza would like to recognize all of our volunteers and the tremendous difference their work makes. At its core, volunteer work at El Centro de la Raza strengthens our society and betters our community.

Last year, over 1,300 volunteers provided a total of 33,984 hours of service to El Centro de la Raza! According to the national estimated monetary value of volunteer hours, that means volunteers saved El Centro de la Raza a total of $749,085 in 2013! This year alone we have already recorded over 5,300 hours of volunteer service.

Our beloved founder Roberto Maestas would often refer to James Carville’s saying, “Outside of a person’s love, the most sacred thing they can give is their labor.” On behalf of everyone at El Centro de la Raza we are sending mil gracias to our volunteers for their time, talent, and energy!

If you are interested in volunteering at El Centro de la Raza please contact Alexia Klatt, Volunteer Coordinator at or (206) 957-4602.

A Critical Review of 'Cesar Chavez' Film
by Erick Iñiguez

March 31st would have been Cesar Chavez’ 87th birthday. Twenty one years after his death, we finally have a film.

Expectations are both high and low for the release of Chicano Union leader biopic “Cesar Chavez.” Some are thrilled to see Chavez’ story finally told on the screen.

For many, this is just another attempt by Hollywood to give crumbs to the Latino community–a fast-growing segment of moviegoers. There are others who worry the film will not represent history accurately, simply echoing the well-worn legend: the pacifist lone organizer who mobilizes farm workers just by speaking and hunger striking.

And the biggest concern for a lot of Chicanos and Latinos: “I hope it’s not corny and cheesy like other ‘uplifting historical’ biopics.” Going in to see the film, I landed somewhere in the middle of these arguments... Click here to read the rest of Erick's review.

Erick Iniguez is a Youth Case Manager at El Centro de la Raza and Coordinator for Hollow Earth Radio.

Save the Date/Reserva la Fecha

Join El Centro de la Raza for a Special Screening of 'DOCUMENTED'

Citizen University, Define American, El Centro De La Raza and OneAmerica invite you to attend a special screening of a very special documentary film DOCUMENTED by Jose Antonio Vargas.

In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in an essay published in the New York Times Magazine. DOCUMENTED tells his story.
We are pleased to host this special pre-release screening in Seattle. Please help us spread the word about this important film and invite others to join us! Groups are encouraged to attend! The screening will be immediately followed by a conversation with the film's writer, director and producer Jose Antonio Vargas and Eric Liu.

You may purchase tickets online. Please contact Jena Cane with any questions: or (206) 650-5804.

Come Celebrate Día de los Niños at El Centro de la Raza's New Park!

On Wednesday, April 30th, 2014, El Centro de la Raza will be celebrating Children's Day/Día de los Niños with family activities and a ribbon cutting ceremony for our newly renovated Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park and César Chávez Demonstration Garden from 10-11 a.m. Refreshments provided, please RSVP to or (206) 957-4611 for planning purposes.

children in park with thank you 

Santos Rodriguez Memorial Park is named in honor of Santos Rodriguez, a 12-year-old boy from Dallas, Texas whose tragic death is a reminder that our fight for racial equality is far from over. Santos was killed in 1973 by a police officer who had arrested Santos and his 13-year-old brother under wrongful suspicion of robbing $8.00 from a soda machine. The story of Santos Rodriguez reminds us all of the importance to respect, love, care for, and protect all of the children of the world. Click here to view park hours, click here for a more detailed story about Santos Rodriguez.

For more information or to RSVP, contact us at (206) 957-4611 or


Join Us for Cinco de Mayo 2014!

cinco de mayo front image

El Centro de la Raza’s 9th Annual Cinco de Mayo Celebration is fast approaching! This event is free to the public and will take place on May 3rd, 2014, from 3-8 p.m. at El Centro de la Raza. We expect at least 800 people from Beacon Hill and surrounding neighborhoods.

  • Our Cinco de Mayo event will include a "Desfile Cultural” or cultural fashion show where we invite children, youth, families, and community members to participate by wearing their traditional clothing to celebrate our cultures. Contact Hilda or Enrique if you would like to participate: (206) 957-4619 or
  • We are looking for help with set-up, greeting, ticket sales, children’s activities, and more! Please contact Alexia Klatt, Volunteer Ccoordinator, at (206) 957-4602 or to sign up!
  • We are also seeking local vendors to sell crafts, textiles, and more! 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. We provide all vendors with a table and two chairs for the event. For more information about vendor booths, please contact (206) 957-4630 or

Click here to view the 9th Annual Cinco de Mayo event flyer.

March With Us! 2014 May Day March and Rally

Join the El Centro de la Raza community on Thursday, May
1st for the annual May Day March for immigrant and worker's rights! The event is organized by El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition. The rally starts at Judkins Park, click here for more information in Spanish and English.

May Day March and Rally MAY 1 2013 (52) 2
(El Centro de la Raza community at the 2013 May Day March/Rally)

Mark Your Calendars for Give BIG 2014!

TSF_GiveBig_logo_Theme_BLU 2
The Seattle Foundation's annual online giving campaign is back in 2014! Last year, El Centro de la Raza raised over $3,000 during Give BIG, and this year we are aiming much higher!

Save the date for this year's Give BIG day on Tuesday, May
6th, and get ready to help us have our most successful day of giving yet! With your help we can raise essential funds to keep food in the food bank, empower youth to graduate high school and attend college, and help homeless families find shelter. Mark your calendars for Give BIG 2014 on May 6th! Click here to learn more about the Give BIG campaign.


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

Save the Date for our Annual Fundraising Gala:

  • Saturday, September 27th, 2014
  • Washington State Convention Center
  • From 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.
  • Reception, Dinner, Silent Auction & Live Auctions

Join us on September 27th 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.

Fourth Annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award Now Open for Nominations

maestas legacy award

Roberto’s life was dedicated to building the “Beloved Community” through multi-racial unity, and 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.
In honor of Roberto and his legacy the Fourth Annual Roberto Felipe Maestas Legacy Award will recognize two individuals, a woman and a man, who have exemplified Building the Beloved Community through multi-racial unity and working to eliminate poverty, racism and social inequity.
Legacy Award applicants can self-nominate or be nominated by someone else. Recipients are asked to participate in a video interview and attend El Centro de la Raza’s Building the Beloved Community Gala.
Deadline for application submission is Monday, June 9, 2014 at 5:00pm. Click here for more information and to view the application.

Join Our Auction Item Procurement Committee!

On September 27th, 2014, El Centro de la Raza will hold its annual Building the Beloved Community Gala. To make this event a success, we are looking for volunteers to join our procurement committee. The procurement committee solicits donated items, gift certificates, or services from businesses to sell in our silent or live auction. If you’re creative, out-going, and full of ideas, we’d love to have you join us.

Procurement Committee meetings take place the last Tuesday of each month at 6:45 p.m. For more information, contact Anne Pfeifle, Events Coordinator at or (206) 957-4649.

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 this link to view fees for these featured classes:

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

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! Click here for more detailed information.
For site locations, hours of operation, maps, and more information visit or call 2-1-1. Anyone making under $58,000 annually can also file online by visiting

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 in 2014, on the second Wednesday of every month. 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

El Centro de la Raza's Homeownership Center is 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.

Our Community-Nuestra Comunidad

Support the Seattle 15 NOW Movement!

15NOW banner 2  

The $15/hour minimum wage movement is not a fad and it is not a phase; it is a significant battle in the ongoing fight for social justice, and we need your support to make this happen. Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is working harder than ever to garner support for the $15 NOW movement, and you can help by putting the 15 NOW Conference on your calendar for April 26th, 2014.

The Conference will bring together low-wage workers, 15 Now Action Groups, unions, Occupy activists, and community organizations from Seattle and across the country in an exciting day to educate, share our experiences, and hammer out a strategy to win $15 in Seattle and nationally. Click here to learn more about the 15 NOW movement, and click here to register for the 15 NOW Conference.


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 Applications are available online in seven different languages.


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.

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In This Issue:

Mayor Murray Signs Executive Order at El Centro de la Raza

El Centro de la Raza Fasts for Immigration Reform

'Four Amigos' Receive Legacy Award

Honoring Our Volunteers

El Centro de la Raza Goes Wireless

Erick Iniguez Reviews 'Cesar Chavez' Film

Special Screening of 'DOCUMENTED' With the Writer, Director, and Producer

Join Us for Día de los Niños and Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Be a Part of Cinco de Mayo 2014!

2014 Legacy Awards Now Open for Nominations

Support Seattle's 15 NOW Movement

Spanish Classes Ad Ashley

Tamale Class Ad 2

Mil Gracias April Funders:

Herrera Chiropractic, LLC
$1,000 unrestricted donation

Events Calendar:

April 12: Enchiladas/Salsas Class
April 15: Last Tax Prep Day
April 22: Prop 1 Special Election
April 26: Tamale Class

Cafe Ad 2


News Roundup:

Seattle trails Vancouver in car-free access to healthy food
Rising rents, rising towers push out tenants of modest means

More deportations follow minor crimes, records show
How children's books fuel mascot stereotypes

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 501(c)3 Nonprofit Tax ID: 91-0899927

Contact Us | 2524 16th Avenue South - Seattle, WA 98144 | 206-957-4652 | |

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