Francisco’s Story

Francisco* has been a participant in our Senior Program for the past two years. He has neither a home nor family members. He faces the elements when he is not sleeping at a shelter. Before the sun rises, he must leave the shelter per policy. As a result, he arrives at El Centro de la Raza earlier than other Senior Program participants in search of a friendly place where he can stay warm.

He enjoys the culturally appropriate meals that we provide in a congregate setting. His favorite dishes have chicken in them, and he also loves to drink coffee. Aside from eating a nutritious meal every day, Francisco is socializing with others who speak his language, rather than isolating himself.

There is more to the Senior Program than a nutritious meal and opportunities to socialize. For example, last year, Francisco joined the computer literacy 8-week class for seniors and learned how to use a laptop.

Thanks to King County’s partnership, El Centro de la Raza is now a Senior Hub. We are expanding the operating days and hours of our Senior Program so that seniors, like Francisco, can now attend our daily programming and have access to resources. Francisco says, “I am so glad you guys are open on Mondays again because I didn’t have anywhere to go on those days.” Francisco greatly benefits from being in our Senior Program because he can remain an independent, engaged, and active community member. We are glad to have him here.

Los Eternos Indocumentados

We have joined 20 local organizations in co-sponsoring a bilingual film showing and discussion of Los Eternos Indocumentados, which tells the story of exploitative corporate control in Latin America, backed by the U.S. government, and how it has led to the plundering of natural resources, incitement of brutal wars, and forced migration. As the crisis of migration grows, this film will give us an opportunity to learn about and share ideas of how to stand in solidarity with fair treatment of the migrant families at our borders.

The Seattle Interfaith Migrant Rights Network (SIMRN) and the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA-PNW) are co-hosting this event. Local experts will be present to answer questions during the discussion following the film. Click to learn more about this event and get free tickets. Seats are limited!

Note: The building’s entrance, doorways, and bathrooms are all wheelchair accessible, there will be Spanish interpretation during our discussion, and we will prioritize front row seating for people who are hard of hearing.

Support Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Proposed Legislation

Domestic workers play a critical role in Washington State’s economy. They are mistreated in the sense that they lack legal protection for their employers. In short, they have no basic workers’ rights. Domestic workers, such as nannies and housecleaners, are largely women and people of color. The current law is such that they do not qualify for overtime pay and disproportionately experience workplace harassment and discrimination.

Thanks to OneAmerica’s leadership, other community-based organizations are supporting a proposed statewide bill named Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in this legislative session. They are leading the efforts to address economic inequities for the benefit of our communities. We hope you join us in ensuring that all domestic workers are:

  • Paid at least the minimum wage of Washington State.
  • Guaranteed overtime pay for more than 40 hours of work a week.
  • Entitled to rest and meal breaks, or pay (if breaks must be missed).
  • Protected against employers from confiscating personal documents, such as passports.
  • Neither discriminated against nor harassed.
  • Legally eligible to fight wage theft, harassment, and abuse.

If you believe that all workers, domestic workers included, are entitled to fair wages and basic work protections, please contact your legislators and let them know that you think so. Domestic workers and we need your support to pass this bill. You do not need to be a worker or employer to support this significant proposed legislation.

To take action in support of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights bill, click here to submit a letter. Enter your contact information and address so that when you proceed onto the next page, the system will recognize in which district you live. This part is important because legislators advocate only for constituents who live in their district. If you would like to include additional commentary into the auto-generated letter, type it directly into the designated box. When you are ready to submit your letter, click the button and the system will automatically forward your letter of support to your legislators.

To call your legislative representatives, verify who represents you based on your geographical area by visiting this link. Enter the required fields with your information and click “Find my District.” A list of elected officials’ names should appear on the screen. These representatives are responsible for advocating in support of your interests and concerns. When you click on each representative’s name, a separate tab will open in the same window of your browser. Navigate to the corresponding tab for your representative’s numbers. When you call, let them know that you want them to vote in support of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

Mil gracias in advance!

Sound Transit Link Light Rail: Connect 2020

Sound Transit has recently announced publically the implementation phase of its Link Light Rail’s forthcoming expansion to the East King County area. They have already begun preparations, and here is what riders need to know.

Rather than shut down service entirely during new track construction, Sound Transit will implement its Connect 2020 plan: over ten weeks in January 2020, trains will run at a reduced frequency of every 12 minutes, and riders continuing through downtown Seattle will need to switch trains at Pioneer Square Station. Passengers will experience longer delays between trains, crowding, and increased travel times.

This major transit line will serve riders to and from East King County at a total of 10 new stations and be operational in 2023. In addition to these changes, to prepare for the aforementioned construction, Sound Transit needs to reduce Link service for three weekends this fall. On the weekends of October 12-13, October 26-27, and November 9-10, there will be no Link service between SODO-Capitol Hill. Trains will run from Angle Lake-SODO and UW-Capitol Hill, and free buses will connect the six stations in between. To learn more, click here to read Sound Transit’s blog post.

*Photo credit: Aaron Kunkler with Redmond Reporter, October 9, 2018.

September 11: From Never Forget to Let’s Remember

September 11. This date is tragic for those who lived in the United States in 2001 and those who lived in Chile in 1973. These historical events are distinct, yet they share a commonality: extreme patriotism that violates human rights.

Our country was shaken up on and decades following September 11, 2001, when four planes targeted the World Trade Center complex and the Pentagon as part of al-Qaeda’s terrorizing plot. This mass murder claimed 2,997 innocent lives; for that, we offer our deepest sympathy for the victims’ loved ones. We also want to change the rhetoric that surrounds 9/11.

We rebuilt our country on one of its worst days. Let us not forget the resilience, kindness, and service that characterized our country’s finest hour and started its healing process. Thank a first responder or recovery worker. Talk to or check in with someone who might be struggling. Befriend someone who does not look like you. Instead of “never forget,” let us remember how our communities united in solidarity in the face of trauma, grief, and xenophobia.

On September 11, 1973, Salvador Allende was assassinated by a coup, ushering in 17 years of dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet’s rule. Allende co-founded Chile’s Socialist Party and was democratically elected as president in 1970. He was also known for his commitment to improving Chile’s conditions for the poor, workers, peasants, and women because they comprised the minority group.

Allende inherited political unrest and an economic crisis, which led the military to overthrow him. A group of the Chilean refugee community escaped from the coupe and arrived in Seattle where the Mexicano/Chicano community and multiracial partners were peacefully occupying the Beacon Hill School. Our Chilean friends were instrumental partners in developing El Centro de la Raza’s infrastructure because of their experience running their home country. In honor of the Chilean refugees, we named a room after Salvador Allende at El Centro de la Raza.

On both occasions, crimes were committed against humanity. International humanitarian laws and human rights were compromised. We civilians endured the fear of armed conflict. To heal a country’s factions requires peace, freedom, and solidarity – all of which can achieved by legal justice, defense of human rights, and measured and fair responses. That is why there is a struggle for justice. That is why we build the Beloved Community.

El Centro de la Raza Listed in National Register of Historic Places

Historically known as the Beacon Hill School, the building that is now owned by El Centro de la Raza was built in two phases and later renovated in 1931. The architecture was ahead of its time and remains mostly intact today. However, the school was forced to vacate and relocate to a more modern facility because of the growing student population. At the same time that was happening, people of color experienced limited access to education and other community resources because of cultural and political factors.

There was no longer a commitment to the War on Poverty. Students at South Seattle College whose English as a Second Language classes were defunded by the Nixon Administration then took action. What that looked like was a peaceful multiracial occupation of the abandoned building. This event pivoted the Chicano/Mexicano movement to the forefront of the minds of local elected officials and school district personnel. Our building quickly became a symbol of Seattle’s Chicano/Mexicano movement. The resulting direct connection with the Chicano/Mexicano community was recognized as a significant contribution to Seattle’s history. It is an honor to be listed as one of the most significant buildings in American history. This recognition helps preserve our building for future generations of which to be a part. Our building’s symbolic value is a timeless representation of multiracial unity during times of peril and prosperity.

We are a thriving hub for all communities to engage in civic action, celebrate culture through art, and increase community sustainability through transit-oriented, mixed-use development. Our 43 programs and services span across five major areas: Child & Youth, Human and Emergency Services, Education and Asset-building, Housing and Economic Development, and Community Organizing and Advocacy. Our on-site amenities include a dual language childcare center, 112 affordable housing units, commercial spaces, and a cultural center available to the community for rental. Visit us and tour our building. We would be happy to share more rich history with you and show our historic building’s murals that narrate the Chicano/Mexicano community’s movement over time.

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.

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.

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:
Cecilia Acosta – Phone: 206-957-4624; Email:

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).