🍴 'Make tamales not walls'

🍴 'Make tamales not walls'

Who's the guy standing outside El Centro? Let's find out... (📸: Ana Sofia Knauf)


WHAT IT IS: A gathering place for Seattle’s Latino community and an organization that fights for it. El Centro sits in the heart of Beacon Hill and advocates for social justice and human rights issues locally and beyond.

WHO STARTED IT: A local activist and Spanish teacher named Roberto Maestas. He worked with other locals who’d been part of civil rights demonstrations, Vietnam War protests, and rallies advocating for Native fishing rights.

THE PROTEST THAT CREATED IT: It started in 1972 during a local recession that rocked the whole city with mass layoffs and a struggling economy. South Seattle Community College lost funding for its adult education and English as second language programs (ESL). Roberto, who’d started those programs, led teachers, students, and activists to peacefully occupy the shuttered Beacon Hill Elementary building.

WHY THAT BUILDING? Because it was sitting empty. Activists wanted to convert it into a hub to help marginalized communities, including restarting Roberto’s ESL classes for adults and kids. “Nobody has a right to the superfluous when somebody else lacks the necessary.” That was a quote written on a blackboard inside El Centro during the protests and occupation.

HOW THEY WON: El Centro supporters occupied the unheated, empty school, City Council chambers, and Mayor Wes Uhlman’s office, where 18 members were arrested; over three months. After bringing their demands to the city and months of back-and-forth between the mayor and city council members activists were finally granted a lease for the building.

NOW THAT’S A DEAL: Activists negotiated a five-year lease for just $1 a year for the former school building to launch El Centro de la Raza. El Centro leaders eventually earned nearly $134,000 in grants from the city and state governments and bought the space for about $1.2 million in 1999.

TODAY: El Centro sits in the middle of Plaza Roberto Maestas, named in memory of Roberto, who died in 2010. There’s a statue of him outside the building.

QUOTABLE: “This is a home for the left out, the locked out, the people with noble intentions, and the people who want friendship and love, and maybe a small bowl of tortillas or enchiladas or caldolares,” Roberto Maestas told PBS in 2002.

AND THE EL CENTRO INSTAGRAMMY GOES TO… this pic taken by Grant Linter of local kids in El Centro’s youth program keeping its spirit of advocacy alive.

Want an excuse to check out El Centro for yourself? The space hosts events all year, including tonight’s Día de los Muertos celebration.


‘Beneath any campaign.’ Washington’s carbon fee initiative is a hot race in this year’s election, and now the “yes” campaign staffers feel like their opponents have crossed a line. Latino business owners across the state recently got mailed fliers from the “no” campaign and saw something unexpected: their businesses’ names listed as its supporters. Some of these business owners said they felt “personally misled” because they say the “no” campaign’s workers didn’t tell them what issue they were signing on to support. No idea what 1631 is all about? Check out our explainer here. (The Stranger, en Español via The Seattle Times)

‘Make tamales not walls.’ 👈 That’s what husbands Dennis Ramey’s and Osbaldo Hernandez’s t-shirts read at Frelard Tamales, which they co-own in Green Lake. The couple whip up meaty (and vegan!) tamales based on Osbaldo’s family recipes, including ones with “limey-spicy” tomatillo chicken filling. Osbaldo talks with food writer Bethany Jean Clement about his difficult journey to Bellevue as an undocumented tween and the teachers who helped make Puget Sound feel like home. It’s worth a read. (The Seattle Times)

Coming soon to Redmond… ‘Building X’ is a mysterious real estate project to expand Facebook Reality Labs, which focuses on augmented and virtual reality tech. It could open in 2021 — and Facebook is trying to fill job slots fast. (GeekWire, Puget Sound Business Journal)

More voting help. Yesterday, we rounded up some helpful voting guides from around Seattle to help you decide what to tick off on your ballots — and then we heard of a few more. 😅 To help you make sense of the carbon fee, police accountability, gun reform, and grocery tax initiatives, KUOW recorded debates from each pro and con side. Plus, reader Joseph Peha told us about Ready Set Vote, a site he co-founded that lets voters plug in their address, get voting recommendations from local orgs they trust, and create a voting cheat sheet. (KUOW, Ready Set Vote)

Psssst. Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour after Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday at 2 a.m. It’s like those sneaky, manual oven and microwave clocks want you to be late for brunch. ⏰ (USA Today)


🍴  TOMORROW: Learn how to whip up chicken mole with La Cocina School to support El Centro de la Raza with Foundation (Beacon Hill)

✍️  Wednesday Nov. 7: Hack your brain to boost your productivity at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn (Pioneer Square)

💰  Wednesday, Nov. 7:  Get tips on how to negotiate like a boss at this Foundation workshop (Queen Anne)

🌊  Wednesday, Nov. 7: Learn about local orca recovery and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s and local journalists’ thoughts about the election at Civic Cocktail (Belltown)

🍻  Saturday, Nov. 10: Visit Ballard’s best bars and raise a glass to mentorship at the 3rd Annual Big Brewers, Big Sippers Pub Crawl (Ballard)

💡  Monday, Nov. 12: Team up with local international students for trivia and beers at this event co-hosted by The Evergrey and the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (Capitol Hill)

🔬  Tuesday, Nov. 13: Dig into the science behind anxiety and depression at this Foundation event at Pacific Science Center. (Queen Anne) 🆕


👋  Remember loved ones at this Día de los Muertos celebration (Beacon Hill)
🍿  Get sultry and catch saucy films at the Hump! film festival — through Nov. 18 (Queen Anne)
🎟  Laugh it up at the Seattle International Comedy Competition— through Nov. 25 (All over)

🎨  Peruse aisles of comics and zines at the Short Run Comix Festival (Queen Anne)
🎶  Geek out about the Pacific Northwest’s hip-hop history (Central District)
💡  Team up with creative locals to tackle our world’s most pressing problems — thanks for the rec, Astghik Zakharyan! (Pioneer Square)
💪  Grab an apron and learn the basics of making chicken mole at this Evergrey partner event (Beacon Hill)

🎈  Play games and see performances celebrating Japanese culture (Central District)
🍿  Get nostalgic at this special showing of Sailor Moon R: The Movie (Capitol Hill)
👋  Oooh and aaah at gorgeous blooms at this orchid show (Blue Ridge)
🎨  See Post-It art by reader Rebekah Bastian and raise money for affordable housing (Ballard) 🆕

Going to one of these?
 Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. Learn what our emojis mean here, see more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membershipIs an event sold out? Hit reply to let us know and we’ll update the listing in tomorrow’s newsletter.


Our second birthday bash is less than a month away. 🎉 We’re going to raise a glass to everything we’ve done together these last couple years, and we’d love to make this party YOURS.

Want to take photos? Design posters? Make our birthday cake? Or do something else awesome? Drop your ideas here for the big event Nov. 29 and we’ll check in soon, party people.

Have a good one, all. — The Evergrey

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