As an organization grounded in the Latino community of Washington State, it is the mission of El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races) to build the Beloved Community through unifying all racial and economic sectors; to organize, empower, and defend the basic human rights of our most vulnerable and marginalized populations; and to bring critical consciousness, justice, dignity, and equity to all the peoples of the world.
We envision a world free of oppression based on poverty, racism, sexism, sexual orientation, and discrimination of any kind that limits equal access to the resources that ensure a healthy and productive life in peace, love and harmony for all peoples and our future generations.
Our 12 Principles
The following are the twelve Principles that El Centro de la Raza “Familia” adopted in the fall of 1976, four years into our existence. It was a defining moment in our organization’s history for it clarified what we were determined to become as a new and innovative organization born out of the violent worldwide struggle to create a better world.
In essence these twelve principles become our “constitution” and have been critical in guiding us through the agony and ecstasy of our 37 years. They were adopted during a weekend statewide conference of students, farmworkers, academics, women, unemployed and organizers from Chicano/Latino, Black, Indian, Asian and White communities.
A special “Gracias” is reserved for the leadership of the exiled Chilean community for their extraordinary clarity and political maturity reflected in these principles:
1. To share, disburse, and distribute our services, resources, knowledge and skills to our participants, community, visitors and broader human family with all due dignity for their individuality needs and condition. To do so creatively with warmth, cultural sensitivity, fairness, enthusiasm, compassion, honesty and optimism in all areas of work.
2. To struggle to eliminate institutionalized racial, sexual, age and economic forms of discrimination which hamper the human potential in our society.
3. To support the majority of people in this country; i.e., all workers — including, but not limited to farm workers, factory workers, service workers and office workers in their struggle for collective bargaining rights, safety, benefits and just wages and salaries.
4. To promote the recapture of the culture, language and respect for the Chicano/ Mexicano/Latino community as a priority in all of our work, without falling into ethnocentrism; to strengthen and help the struggle to recapture the cultures of our sister communities.
5. To promote strong and positive working relationships with other minority communities in all areas of work, service, political and social activities.
6. To provide a collective, healthy, safe and friendly workplace for members of our community and all participants in our sphere of influence.
7. To struggle against all forms of racism, sexism, individualism, ageism, and violence in our work and our community center.
8. To struggle for the creation of programs and services which a society must provide for the development of our community and its people.
9. To struggle for a clean, safe, and nuclear waste-free environment for our people and future generations. To work for a rational use of natural resources in the interests of the preservation of Mother Earth and the peaceful development of humankind.
10. To support the rights of self-determination of Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos, as well as our brothers and sisters in developing countries around the world. To promote the development of foreign policy by our government which puts into practice principles of sovereignty, justice, democracy, self- determination, international respect, and above all, peace with dignity.
11. To strengthen the family as an elementary formation of society which contributes to the development of society as a whole. To help each other and our community fulfill roles as parents, spouses, sisters, brothers and children, based on the absolute equality of men and women. To respect and recognize the rights of children as full and privileged members of our society. To strengthen the extended family relations. To develop programs which fulfill our obligation as family members of the larger society to bring up the future generations with clear vision that leads us to recover our fighting spirit. To struggle to ensure that family life is nourished and respected. To protect the rights of women and children to live their lives free from any form of abuse: physical, psychological, sexual.
12. To struggle for a dignified human existence for all people in our society; for health care, housing, and full employment in equal educational opportunity, democratic processes in political and social affairs and an equitable economic system which eliminates the great differences in income which are the cause of poverty and deprivation.