December eNews - El Centro de la Raza




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El Centro de la Raza Monthly eNews

Report on All-Cuts Budget Reveals Racial Disparities

Estmad@ Amig@,

The report Facing Race: How Budget Cuts are Increasing Racial Disparities has just been released by Washington CAN! The publication explores the impact that all-cuts budgets have had on existent racial disparities in our state. Providing a thorough analysis of the 2011-2013 biennial budget the report presents a disturbing picture of how budget cuts disproportionately affect communities of color.

As outlined in the report, the income gap has FacingRaceincreased over the past decade and the impact of the recession has not hit the population equally. Washington’s regressive tax structure disproportionately pressures the state’s people of color. Due to its inability to use a graduated income tax structure, higher-earners pay a smaller share of their income taxes than middle or low-income households. The report also examines the impact all-cuts budgets have had on education, criminal justice, housing, and more. It is apparent that ethnic divisions in employment and economic standing have widened dramatically.

With the reality of budget cuts facing our state, it is made vitally clear by the report that our legislatures must know the impact that all-cuts budgets have on our communities of color. These are issues which impact all communities: Click here to read the report and become more informed about the impacts of all-cuts budgets.
Siempre bienvenidos, nuestra casa es su casa.
Estela Ortega
Estela resized 2
Executive Director
PS - And of course, visit our website to stay up-to-date on the happenings at El Centro and in nuestra comunidad - our community.

Communi-Chi Special Fund Raiser

In celebration of its upcoming 5 year anniversary in Suite 301 at the El Centro community center and the approximately 15,000 low-cost acupuncture treatments offered to the community during that time, our neighbor, CommuniChi Acupuncture Clinic wishes to recognize and support the interconnectedness and unity of its social service-oriented mission with that of El Centro de la Raza.Communichi
Beginning Monday, 12/19 until 12/21, anyone wishing to experience acupuncture can make an appointment at CommuniChi: 
100% of proceeds will go to El Centro!
Offer details:
Appointment required. 1 treatment per person. Dates: 12/19-12/31/11. Open to all - whether or not you have visited CommuniChi before. Donations to El Centro are fully tax deductible. For more information on CommuniChi, visit
Or call Communichi at (206) 860-5009. Para informacion en español, click aqui


El Centro Christmas Tree Sale is Underway!

Our selection is stocked with trees supplied by a local tree farm that is owned and operated by Adrian and Evencio Gonzalez, two brothers originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. photo[1]The Gonzalez brothers grow their trees in the area of Onalaska, WA and produce some of the nicest Christmas trees available. Due to their growing and pruning expertise, they are sought after by some of the state's largest Christmas tree growers. They continue to grow their own small business by producing some of the most beautiful Norman, Douglas, Noble and Grand Firs around.
Thanks to the Gonzalez brothers, we are able to offer our fresh, locally grown trees.
By purchasing your Christmas tree from El Centro you can support both small, local business, as well as support our many human service and community building programs. You can call ahead to pre-purchase by phone (206) 957-4605 or email and then visit El Centro to pick out your favorite tree!

Las Posadas: Community Gathers to Celebrate
* Las Posadas Photos courtesy of Janitzio Garcia photographer

On the evening of Dec. 12th El Centro hosted Las Posadas and our 2nd annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. By gathering together we have helped pass on to our children and youth our traditions, celebrations, and symbols to give us all the strength and the courage to keep struggling for success in building the Beloved Community. We were delighted to have more than 500 people in attendance for the special song and dance performances, posadas, Christmas tree lighting, pictures with Santa, children’s activities and community holiday meal.
This well-attended gathering had a variety of cultural holiday traditions with representation  from Veracruz, Mexico to Peru’s El Carmen region. The evening included performances by many artists, such as Ofelia Alanis Torres (El Centro board member), the Seattle Fandango Project, Danza de Negritos Troupe presenting La Rama, the Beaconettes and  A La Carte.
We extend our deep gratitude to all who helped make this event memorable, with a special thanks to Jaime Bautista & Carlos Perez for meal preparation and to the Beacon Hill Merchants Association for co-sponsoring the event.

BMA logo

Jose Marti CDC Goes to the North Pole

North Pole Trip DEC 6 2011 (113)[1]On Tuesday, December 7, through a special invitation by Delta Airlines, 16 adults with 92 children from our Jose Marti Child Development Center traveled to Sea-Tac Airport for an unforgettable trip to the “North Pole” via the “Santa Express!”
Click here to read more!

* Mil Gracias to Delta Air Lines, Shuttle Express, and all who made this possible!

 iLEAP Fellows Visit El Centro

Last month El Centro received 3 visitors from South America as a part of the iLEAP International Fellowship Program. The Program's purpose is to strengthen and expand the leadership capacities of social change leaders from around the globe. Visitors presented during our weekly Charla on the status of their own countries and the work they are doing in their particular area. Presenters: Vianes Siliesta, IMG_5906[1]attorney for domestic violence survivors (Honduras); Paola San Martin, civil engineer for rural communities (Honduras); and journalist Susana Vanera of El Salvador. Their visit was a chance for us to foster international relationships and to participate with our sisters and brothers of other regions in the struggle to achieve social justice worldwide.

Job Program Leads to Success

 Everyday our Employment Program at El Centro is bringing real change to the lives of job-seekers like *Alonso Estrada. He says, "I went to El Centro looking for work, looking for help to make a resume and use the computer...As a result I found a place where someone could help me find employment."
Click here to read more
*Name has been changed. / Quote has been translated from Spanish.

SPS: Equity & Race Advisory Committee

Seattle Public Schools is seeking unpaid volunteers from our diverse communities to serve on the newly-formed Equity and Race Advisory Committee, for terms of up to 2 years. The Committee’s purpose is to advise public school staff on issues of equity in education. Work will include periodic evaluations of – and input to – the District’s ongoing equity activities and implementation of recommendations. District staff will facilitate once-monthly meetings (with the possibility of more meetings on special issues). Interested individuals are encouraged to read more.

Major Renovation Project Completed for El Centro

IMG_6448Mortenson Construction and Architects Without Borders were back at El Centro again, and completed a pro bono renovation project of our main conference room! The work included a new ceiling, TV monitor for presentations, new whiteboards, gallery wall panel, new lighting and wiring, storage space and a paint job!

Mil gracias to all who contributed volunteer time, funds, and in-kind donations to this project. Mortenson engaged their subcontractors and vendors to donate time and materials. Architects Without Borders organized a Design Charrette in October to bring together architects, interior designers and decorators to provide input on the project and to design the renovations. A special gracias to Mark Drzewiecki, Mortenson Construction; Davide Helton; Architects Without Borders; Stephen Deal; United Way for making this project possible!
To rent El Centro's newly remodeled room 307 for your next meeting, conference or event please call (206) 957-4603 or email.

Save the Date for El Centro Events!

Holiday Gift Sale Happening Now!

There is a special opportunity to do some holiday shopping and help El Centro in the process. We have a special selection of items reserved from the 2011 Legacy Awards and Auction Banquet in September. Items included in our selection are unique and many quality items are available. You can buy these special items as gifts for your loved ones or as a special gift for yourself this holiday season. All proceeds from this sale go to the support of our 33 human service programs. To see the complete list of items and instructions to purchase, simply click here.

King County's 30th AnnualPicture (Device Independent Bitmap) 1
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration!

Workshops: 9:30-11 AM
Rally: 11 AM - 12:30 PM
March: 12:30 PM

Please save the date for the 2012 MLK celebration! Seattle has one of the largest annual MLK Day celebrations in the nation. Join the MLK Seattle Celebration Committee at Garfield High School for free workshops, a rally and march! The school is located at 23rd and East Jefferson Street in Seattle.

The theme this year is "Recapturing MLK Jr.'s Revolutionary Spirit!" Spread the word!For more information click here!

United Way MLK Day of Service

Join the United Way of King County on Monday, January 16th, 2012 for the National Day of Service honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Participate in projects that will have a lasting impact on our community. You can volunteer on your own, or get in the spirit with colleagues, family, or friends. El Centro will host 2 group projects: A Fundraising Program Marketing Plan Assistance project and a Donor and Volunteer Appreciation Assistance project. Volunteers can sign up for El Centro projects and other volunteer opportunities when they click here.

United Way Tax Preparation

El Centro is serving as one of 16 tax sites for the United Way Tax Campaign 2012. Volunteers are needed to help working families keep more of their earnings. Last year volunteers prepared 13,320 tax returns, and returned $19.1 million in refunds to our community. No tax experience necessary: All new tax volunteers receive 2 days of training and are IRS certified. Volunteers work 4 hours weekly at one of 16 tax sites between 1/10 and 4/17. Training will be offered weekends through December and January. Intake volunteers also needed. Your time is valuable and we hope you will consider sharing some of it with taxpayers in need. Bilingual applicants are especially wanted. For more details click here.


Financial Literacy Classes
Clases del Manejo de Finanzas

Learn how to read a credit report, manage your spending and increase your savings to help set financial goals. Workshop dates run January-March:

Jan.30, 31, & Feb.2 at 9:30 AM – 12 PM or 5:30 PM – 8 PM
Feb.28, 29, & Mar.1 at 9:30 AM- 12 PM
Mar.26, 27, & 29 at 5:30 PM – 8 PM

Lunch and childcare may be provided at some sessions. For more information call Matthew Driscoll: (206) 957-4646 or email.

Alternatives to Foreclosure Orientations
Orientaciones para Alternatives de la Ejecucion

Jan.14, Feb.4, and Mar.3
10 AM – 12 PM

Are you at risk of falling behind on your mortgage payments or already behind?
Learn how to avoid foreclosure and what options are available to you, the homeowner. Contact Piero Prada: (206) 957-4633 or email

Overcoming Violence Through Hip Hop Artistry

Our friends at 206Zulu are organizing a series of events including school-wide assemblies to raise awareness of hip hop's true history and to showcase local Hip Hop artists. These events are focused onovercoming violence through the art form that is Hip Hop.El Centro, in partnership with Denny International Middle School's Proyecto Saber Program, is coordinating Hip Hop Poetry Classes!
Contact Alex Bautista for participation details: (206) 957-4620

Anuncios y Felicitaciones
Announcements & Congratulations


Rental Spaces Available at El Centro!

There are office spaces available for lease at El Centro de la Raza’s building on Beacon Hill. We have two spaces currently open: Main floor (531 sq. ft.) and top floor (1055 sq. ft.). Please contact our Facility Manager for more information at (206) 957-4603 / email

Continued Efforts for Juvenile Justice

Seattle Public Schools will begin selecting members for its Discipline Advisory Committee which will be focusing on discipline within the schools and areas that need to be changed. El Centro has begun working with the district to initiate Teen/Peer Truancy Boards at Rainier Beach High School and soon at Chief Sealth High School. The goal of the truancy boards is to help students develop plans to reengage in school and to address any issues that may prevent them from attending classes.

El Centro at Models for Change Working Conference

We attended the 6th Annual Models for Change CMYK_color_MFC_wa_logoWorking Conference on December 5th and 6th in Washington, DC and participated in various workshops and trainings. This conference focused on the work nationally as well as locally around the country on juvenile justice issues.

CNUC Organizer Visits El Centro

Luz Vega, lead organizer with Consjo Nacional Urbano Campesino (CNUC) in Tlaxcala, Mexico visited El Centro to present in one of our weekly Charlas. She shared with us the work she has been doing around urban and rural social movements. The Charla was open to the community and focused on lessons for women’s, peasant, and labor movements. To view a sample of her presentation click here or read more onling about the Mexico Solidarity Network.

Know Your Rights!
The Anti-Discrimination Provision
of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA)

The U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division has an office dedicated to ensuring that employers are not discriminating against work-authorized individuals based on their national origin or immigration status. It is unlawful to fire or refuse to hire certain workers because of where they are from or because they are not U.S. citizens. The law also protects workers where employers discriminate against them by asking for too many work-authorization documents or by rejecting valid documents. How can I tell if an employer is violating the law? What about E-Verify? What can I do? For more information / questions and answers:
Click here
to know your rights!

Social Ties Key to Treating Depression
Community Health Plan of Washington:

Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration. Sometimes that’s the problem. Pressure to gather with family and create memorable moments can strip the joy from the season. If you – or someone you are close to – feel sad, it’s important to know that depression is common, especially in older adults, and is highly treatable. Depression is a medical problem, not a personal weakness, and no reason to feel shame. Depression is treatable. You are not alone.
Please follow this link to read more.

Your Kids need Immunizations

Shots, (also known as vaccines or immunizations) help children fight many childhood diseases that could make them very sick. A lot of research has shown that shots are safe for your child to receive.
Click here to view a chart that recommends when your child needs a shot.For information about immunizations, please talk with your health care provider. For information on quality and affordable health care for you and your family, please call the Community Health Plan customer service team at 1-800-440-1561 or go to If hearing or speech impaired, call TTY 1-866-816-2479

*Community Health Plan provides coverage for people in 39 CommunityHealth 2WA counties. Members receive services from more than 2,588 primary care providers and 13,571 specialists at more than 563 primary care sites and more than 100 hospitals.

Paid Parking Lot Coming Soon!

El Centro will be opening a temporary parking lot to earn much needed revenue for our programs and services. The lot will be in-use until the ground breaking takes place to build a mixed-use development on the site.


► Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to Select Businesses for National Green Training Program: Story
► Education Roadmap Highlights Urgent Needs in King County: Story

► Hispanic Caucus Urges Senate to Confirm Ambassador: Story
► County in Maryland Seeks Hispanic Teachers as Role Models: Story
► UnidosNow Hosts Education Event for Hispanic Students: Story

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Report Reveals Racial Disparities
Communichi Special Fund Raiser
Christmas Trees at El Centro
Las Posadas & Tree Lighting

El Centro Kids Visit "North Pole"
iLEAP Fellows Visit El Centro
Job Program Leads to Success
SPS Seeks Volunteers for Equity & Race Advisory Committee
Save the Date: El Centro Events!
Anuncios y Felicitaciones Announcements & Congratulations
News Roundup
Easy ways to support El Centro:
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Support El Centro's 32 programs by simply clicking here!
Learn More About El Centro!
Visit our website by clicking here!
Be our friend! Join us on Facebook,
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Want to keep updated on what
El Centro is doing?


Tamale Making Classes
at El Centro de la Raza

10 AM - 12:30 PM, Saturdays: 
  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: 206-957-4611or email.

Spanish Classes
Now enrolling!

6-7:30 PM Tusdays/Thursdays: 
Winter Quarter: Jan. 17-Mar. 22
Spring Quarter: April 10-June 14
Summer Quarter: July 10-Sept. 13

Learn Spanish from native speakers in a unique educational setting!
Class fees help support our 32 Human Service and Community Building Programs. Adult-begginner to advanced level classes are available.
Click here to sign up!

For more details: 206-957-4611or email.

Un grupo de apoyo y de conversación para la mujer Latina!

Para más información favor de contactor a Angela Frith-Gomez: (206) 957-4641.

You're invited!

Café con El Centro logo
Cafe con El Centro:
At El Centro de la Raza
  Thursday, Jan. 5th

How can you become an integral part of the community at El Centro? You can start by RSVPing to an upcoming Cafe con El Centro!

The Cafe is a great way to introduce yourself to our executive director, Estela Orgega, 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!

Cafe con El Centro 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, Josh Stromberg:
(206) 957-4602 or by
Also see our website's volunteer section!

El Centro de la Raza relies on donations from our individual supporters to keep our programs running.
But we are also fortunate enough to have corporate and foundation sponsors and grants for many of our programs and services.

► City of Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Grant: $12600 for disaster preparedness.
Key Bank: $5,000 for financial literacy programs.
► View our Annual Report

Mil Gracias to all of our wonderful funders, sponsors and donors!
Ramon Soliz, President
Jeff Middelton, Vice President
David Gasca, Treasurer
Brenda Williams, Secretary
Roxana Amaral, Parliamentarian
Francisco Calderon
Dorry Elias-Garcia
Cristina Garcia
Ricardo Garcia
Victoria Kill
Pablo Mendoza

Janet Jaime Rodriguez
Madrienne Salgado
Urbano Santos
Ofelia Alanis Torres
With over 26,000 volunteer hours,  El Centro de la Raza serves 23,565 individuals and 11,518 families annually through the following programs and services:



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