100 Students Graduate from the José Martí Child Development Center

This year, 100 children completed their final year of preschool and graduated from the José Martí Child Development Center (JMCDC). JMCDC staff, teachers, and families gathered to celebrate and honor the students who worked hard all year long and made outstanding progress in all areas of development (social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language). They are now ready for their next step: Kindergarten!

JMCDC at Hirabayashi Place honored 15 graduates at an event on Friday, June 21, at their rooftop playground. Chef Francisco prepared a delicious meal for the families, and the children decorated the space with their original artwork. The children gave performances; singing songs in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. Everyone enjoyed an exceptional performance from a group of ballerinas from Little Angel Studio accompanied by live piano music and music by a DJ! Also, Early Learning Program Manager CiKeithia Pugh congratulated the children and their families and presented them with their own take-home bag and a book for their participation in the Raising a Reader program. Finally, the teachers presented each child with a diploma, with many cheers from the crowd.

JMCDC on Beacon Hill then celebrated their 85 graduates on Thursday, June 28, at the Centilia Cultural Center where families first shared a potluck dinner provided by our kitchen and parents. The families and children then enjoyed a presentation by the spectacular Danza Azteca, followed by each class sharing their own cultural songs, poems and dances – in English, Spanish, and one class even recited a poem in Mixteco! We ended the night with certificates presented to the children for all their hard work and accomplishments throughout the year.

Mil gracias to the ECEAP and Step Ahead programs for making it possible for many of our students to attend preschool and the Seattle Public Library for supporting early literacy. We also want to thank our performers — Danza Azteca and Little Angel Studio — for sharing their beautiful traditions with the children, and many thanks to all of our parents for supporting their children’s educations and for their involvement in the program. Last but not least, a BIG congratulations to our graduates for a great year — we are so proud of all of our students and wish you the best of luck in kindergarten!

 

Tobacco 21 – Minimum Legal Sale Age (MLSA)

  • Washington state will be limiting the sale of tobacco and vapor products (including e-cigarettes) to persons under the age of 21 starting January 1, 2020.
  • We are one of seventeen states that have raised the minimum legal sale age (MLSA) for tobacco products to 21.
  • The state bill does not penalize youth possession; instead, it targets sellers of tobacco and vape products.
  • Other cities or states in the U.S. may face an implementation challenge because of existing rules and provisions that penalize buyers of tobacco or possession known as PUP (Purchase by Underage). When this law is enforced, it is anticipated that youth who are already addicted to tobacco and vape products may experience adverse consequences, For example, access to resources will be limited because they will be diverted. Young people of color will face noncompliance warnings at a rate disproportionately higher than their counterparts. Tobacco 21: Model Policy recommends a series of actions to adequately enforce this law. Steps include replacing laws and any criminal penalties with a civil penalty structure and requiring clerks to be above the legal minimum age to reduce sales to minors.
  • El estado de Washington limitará la venta de productos de tabaco y vapor (incluidos los cigarrillos electrónicos) a personas menores de 21 años a partir del 1 de enero de 2020. El estado de Washington es uno de los diecisiete estados que han aumentado la edad legal mínima de venta (MLSA) para Productos de tabaco a 21.
  • El proyecto de ley del estado de Washington está dirigida a los vendedores de productos de tabaco y vapeo (el proyecto de ley no penaliza la posesión de los jóvenes).
  • Otras ciudades o estados de los EE. UU. pueden tener un desafío con la implementación del cumplimiento de la ley debido a las reglas que se dirigen a los compradores con las disposiciones que penalizan la compra o posesión de tabaco por parte de PUP (Compra por parte de un menor de edad). Puede haber otros desafíos con esta ley, ya que pueden tener consecuencias adversas con los jóvenes que ya son adictos, desviar los recursos policiales y crear un enfoque desigual contra los jóvenes de color.  Es por eso que el Tabaco 21: Modelo de Ley recomienda reemplazar las leyes y las sanciones penales con una estructura de multas civiles, los empleados deben estar por encima de la edad mínima legal para reducir las ventas a los menores, y estas leyes deben aplicarse adecuadamente.

Apply for the Unidos in Finance Cohort Starting in August

Unidos in Finance: Free college certified, 8-week training where students will gain the necessary knowledge to begin a career in the financial sector. Our upcoming training begins August 12 – October 2, M-W from 9 AM – 12 PM.

Requirements:
18 years or older
Authorization for employment in the U.S.
High school diploma/GED
At least six months of customer service experience
Bilingual (English/Spanish preferred)

Unidos in Finanza: Programa gratuito, certificado por el Colegio Comunitario Highline. En ocho semanas, obtendrás los conocimientos necesarios para emprender una carrera en el sector financiero. Recibirás apoyo para conseguir trabajo después del curso. Nuestra próxima clase comienza el 12 de agosto del 2019 al 2 de octubre del 2019, de lunes a miércoles de 9 AM a 12 PM.

Requisitos:
Mayor de 18 años
Autorización de empleo en los estados unidos
Diploma de secundaria/GED
Al menos seis meses de experiencia en servicio al cliente
Bilingüe (inglés/español preferido)

If you have any questions, please contact: / Si tiene alguna pregunta, por favor contacte a:

Jessica Gonzalez – Phone: 206-957-4620; Email: jkgonzalez@elcentrodelaraza.org
Cecilia Acosta – Phone: 206-957-4624; Email: cacosta@elcentrodelaraza.org

Strategy to Reverse the Youth E-cigarette Epidemic Nationwide

The tobacco industry’s primary targets are teenagers and young adults because they are the leading age groups to experiment with smoking. Nearly 90% of cigarette smokers first try cigarette smoking by age 18, and 98% first try smoking by age 26. We face a rampant public health crisis because of health care costs, diseases, and deaths caused by tobacco use.

As a strategy to reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic nationwide, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) voted for a bipartisan bill that will raise the federal minimum age for purchasing any tobacco product from 18 to 21. This has already happened in Washington State and many other states, but this national compromise is unprecedented.

Tennessee and Washington State are examples of states that can enact a federal bill without having to pass a similar state law. However, some states, like Kentucky and Virginia, are required to pass their own law to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21, in addition to the federal law.

La mayoría de los fumadores comienzan a fumar siendo niños o adultos jóvenes, y estos grupos de edad son el objetivo principal de la industria del tabaco. Aumentando la edad del tabaco a 21 años ayudará a evitar que los jóvenes comiencen a fumar y a reducir las muertes, las enfermedades y los costos de atención médica causados por el consumo de tabaco.

Como estrategia para revertir la epidemia juvenil de los cigarrillos electrónicos en todo el país, el 26 de junio de 2019, el Comité del Senado de los Estados Unidos sobre Salud, Educación, Trabajo y Pensiones – HELP – votó a favor de un proyecto de ley bipartidista para reducir los costos de atención médica que incluía una legislación de compromiso bipartidista que aumentará la edad mínima federal para comprar cualquier producto de tabaco de 18 a 21 años en todo el país.

El compromiso bipartidista legislativo Alexander-Murray del Comité de Salud de los Estados Unidos – presidente del comité Lamar Alexander (R-TN) y miembro designado Patty Murray (D-WA) – no requiere que todos los estados aprueben sus propias leyes, a diferencia del proyecto de ley bipartidista McConnell-Kaine – líder de la mayoría del Senado Mitch McConnell (R-KY) y el senador Tim Kaine (D-VA) – que incluye una disposición que requeriría que cada estado apruebe su propia ley de aumentar la edad de consumo de tabaco a los 21 años (además de la ley federal).

Senator Patty Murray Introduces Bill to Protect Migrant Children

The Stop Cruelty to Migrant Children Act would end family separations at the southern border, strengthen health and safety protections for children and families, and provide additional guardrails and stronger standards to ensure that government funds are not used to traumatize or harm asylum seekers. This mistreatment towards migrant children and their families in border facilities are reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps’ appalling conditions and traumatic impact.

Per Senator Murray, “This legislation is just a step toward mitigating the harm done to these kids and holding those responsible accountable, but it’s a critical one we must take immediately before the kids in our care are even further hurt and traumatized.”

Thank you to the leadership of Senator Murray and other Senate Democratic leaders for looking out for our children as the Trump Administration creates and enforces nationalistic policies overnight. Click here to view a section-by-section breakdown of the Act and a one-pager for the bill.

Let’s Talk Primary

Primary Elections happen at the local and state levels and they precede a general election. Primaries represent a critical time when voters exercise their civic duty by selecting the candidate they believe should be their party’s candidate to run for elected office during the General Election. Primary Elections are important because they determine which convention delegates and party leaders will represent us in the General Election.

Timeline and Dates to Remember
Washington State’s Primary Election is on August 6 meaning it is less than a month away. If you have not updated your voter registration or registered to vote, do not delay because now is the time. Leading up to Election Day, eligible voters can register eight days before and in-person registration on Election Day itself. Online registration is a quicker way to register.

  • July 29 to August 5 – Last eight days to update or register online or through mail.
  • August 6 Primary Election Day. In-person registration is an option, but you must do it during business hours or any time before drop boxes close. They close promptly at 8 PM.

How Do I Register?
Whether you plan to register online, by mail, or in-person, the most important thing is that you do register and vote. This is a great opportunity to jump in and be a part of the conversation during a politically troubling period. It is worth the time to invest in your community by making your voice heard in the election process. Are you ready to register to vote online today? Follow this link to get started on the next steps: MyVote.

Updates: How We Are Responding to ICE Raids

For the month of July, we have two major updates to share. First, in response to the imminent ICE raids, we have been meeting with various local stakeholder groups to ensure that our community members know what to do in the event of an ICE encounter. Second, we have been working alongside our partners to include an automatic adjustment for inflation in all Human Services Department contracts.

How We Are Responding to ICE Raids
Today, immigrant communities are hunkering down yet again to prepare for imminent ICE raids. Adults are avoiding seeking care for their health. Families are practicing their religion behind closed doors. Children are not getting the education they deserve because they are afraid to attend school.

These instances of what widespread fear can do to children and families must cease immediately. Recently, Senator Patty Murray introduced a bill titled Protecting Sensitive Locations Act, effectively blocking ICE raids from happening at schools and churches. The bill codifies the Department of Homeland Security’s existing policies and expands them to ensure that immigrants are able to access education, criminal justice, and social services without fear of deportation.

As a Sensitive Location since 2017, by definition, immigration enforcement activities are prohibited on El Centro de la Raza’s campus. It is critical that community members safely seek services. To that end, we have met with school district administrators, healthcare professionals, rabbis, and other nonprofit leaders to be better prepared for potential ICE encounters. To date, we provided two Know Your Rights trainings in Spanish over the radio. This outreach method allows us to reach thousands of people. Currently, we are building relationships with rabbis and Jewish organizations to declare synagogues as a Sensitive Location. It is important that community members can take sanctuary in a synagogue as well as other places of worship. This work is not easy, but it is necessary. Raids have no place in our schools, churches, daycares, community centers, places of worship – much less our country. We applaud the leadership of Senator Patty Murray and fellow community partners.

To learn more about Sensitive Locations, click here for the toolkit, which includes a list of FAQs. We are also offering workshops. For the schedule, please contact Adriana Ortiz-Serano, our Sensitive Locations Project Coordinator, via email at aortiz@elcentrodelaraza.org or by phone at 206-717-0089.

Automatic Adjustment for Inflation to HSD Contracts
Mil gracias to our allies who supported and rallied for the City’s historic piece of legislation to ensure nonprofits’ contracts with the Human Services Department (HSD) keep pace with inflation. Seattle City councilmembers voted unanimously for this law said to be the first of its kind in the country. The City recognized the work we are doing on their behalf to make our community a better place. While this law does not compensate all nonprofit contractors fairly, we are proud of this milestone because it is a step in the right direction. To send a thank-you note to your councilmembers, click here.

From Pre-K to Kindergarten

When Emily first enrolled in the José Martí Child Development Center at the beginning of the school year, she was very quiet and timid, and cried when arriving at school. The teachers supported her transition by helping her to learn the routine, make friends with her classmates and read books about feelings and emotions, and she began to develop confidence in herself.

Emily’s social/emotional development has progressed immensely, so much that she now shows great happiness to come to school each day and to interact with her classmates and teachers. She also loves to welcome guests who visit the classroom, giving them gifts and reciting poems or songs in both English and Spanish.

Academically, Emily has developed greatly in all areas of development. She recognizes and makes sounds of all the letters in the alphabet in both English and Spanish, and she knows numbers 1-100. By sounding out the letters, she is even beginning to read some words, including the names of all of her classmates! Emily’s first language is Spanish, but she can also now understand and speak in her second language, English, at the same level as her first language, holding conversations in English and enjoying books and stories in both English and Spanish.

Emily’s success is also due to her mother’s active involvement in her education. Even though she has two jobs, she frequently asks the teachers for bilingual books and other activities she can do at home to support Emily’s development.

Due to the supportive environment at JMCDC and at home, Emily now loves to learn and play and with her teachers and friends. By the winter assessment, she was already meeting all expected developmental levels, so when she starts kindergarten in September, she will be well-prepared for a successful transition to school!

Violet’s Transition

Violet, an African American woman and former service person who served in the US Army, initially came to El Centro de la Raza through a referral from 211-Crisis connections in June 2016. Like more than 50% of the service persons assisted by the Veteran Pathfinder program, Violet was experiencing homelessness during her initial intake interview. Violet also suffers from epilepsy and is physically disabled.

After her initial enrollment into the Veterans program, Violet received supportive services and was able to move from unsheltered homelessness to a shelter bed. Through our efforts at El Centro de la Raza, Violet was able to move into an apartment in Renton and was provided with a care aide to assist her with travel to and from scheduled appointments.

Violet returned to El Centro de la Raza in March of 2019 as a participant in our Food Bank program. Violet re-connected with the Veterans Pathfinder staff and now is able to access additional resources such as bus tickets, and veteran meet-up social engagements that enable her to stay connected to other veterans in the area.

Rosa’s Story: A Journey is Nonlinear

Rosa came to El Centro de la Raza looking for an opportunity to open her food business when she learned of the Business Opportunity Center (BOC). After learning more about the BOC, Rosa realized the exciting possibility of becoming her own boss. However, she first needed to improve her credit score in order to apply for a loan.

The BOC Coordinator referred Rosa to our Financial Empowerment program to begin financial counseling. Rosa went through the program and learned, in her native language, the importance of reviewing expending habits and how to pull her credit report. She left with a plan to pay down her debt aggressively and was referred to Mercy Corp’s Northwest IDA Grant Program to apply for a loan. After undergoing the extensive application process, Rosa received word that she was eligible to take out a $5,000 loan. She used that money towards obtaining a food cart.

She is grateful for programs at El Centro de la Raza, such as Financial Empowerment. She said, “Having these services helps our community further understand the importance of budgeting, a credit score, and money management.”

To learn more about the Business Opportunity Center, including getting on the waiting list, please contact Liliana via email at lparedes@elcentrodelaraza.org or by phone at 206-957-4636.