Today, the Greater Seattle area has a vibrant Latino community spread across numerous neighborhoods and outlying cities. In some places, Latinos represent nearly 30 percent of the population. For example, Seattle’s South Park neighborhood and nearby White Center community are long established centers for King County’s Latino culture, serving as home to many Latino families and businesses. The cities of Sea Tac and Burien, in contrast, are emerging as relatively new and sizable, culturally recognizable Latino neighborhoods.
Prior to the 1940s, there were few Latino residents in the Greater Seattle area, or King County in general. But, during World War II, many Latinos migrated there for work in the wartime industries, especially shipbuilding and aircraft assembly jobs. These early economic migrants were primarily of Mexican descent, referring to themselves as Mexicans, Texans (those from Texas), and so on. In 1946, the Boeing aviation company laid off more than half of its workers in the post-war slow down, and most of those newly unemployed workers left King County in search of jobs elsewhere. Many returned to agricultural work in the Yakima Valley.
Starting in the late 1960s, a second wave of Latino residents came to the University of Washington. Almost all of them were recruited from farming communities in the Yakima Valley and were the first in their families to pursue professional careers. Those pioneers had a lasting impact not only on the University but the Seattle area in general. They brought a strong work ethic, pride in their culture, and more awareness for social issues affecting minorities, such as the national farmworker and labor rights movement at the time.
The 1970s, though, is the decade when the Greater Seattle’s Latino community began to flourish and take permanent root. The 1970s witnessed the establishment of significant social justice and community service organizations such as Sea Mar Community Health and the Center of Race, both of which have become strong voices for the Latino community in the region. The 1970s also brought new immigrants from other countries, seeking asylum from political upheaval. For example, the 1973 military coup in Chile sent many political refugees to the Seattle area. New arrivals from Central and South America continued to settle in the Seattle area in the 1980s and 1990s.
This special focus on Latino culture in the Greater Seattle area has identified sample destinations, or waypoints, to help illustrate the development of the Latino community in King County. Some of the themes (and sample sites) highlighted include:
Today, the Seattle metropolitan area has a vibrant Latino community spread throughout numerous neighborhoods and adjoining cities. In some places, Latinos represent about 30 percent of the population. For example, the neighborhood of South Park in Seattle and the nearby White Center community are established centers of Latino culture in King County, serving as home to many Latino families and businesses for decades. The cities of Sea Tac and Burien, in contrast, are emerging as new and identifiable neighborhoods of Latino culture.
Prior to the 1940s, there were few Latino residents in the Seattle metropolitan area and King County in general. But, during the Second World War, many Latinos immigrated here to work in the war industry, especially in naval work and aircraft assembly. These first economic migrants were mainly born in Mexico, Mexicans, or Texas-born Mexican parents, calling themselves Texans. In 1946, the aviation company Boeing dismissed more than half of its workers in the post-war slowdown, and the vast majority of these newly unemployed left the King County in search of work elsewhere. Many returned to field work in the Yakima Valley.
Beginning in the late 1960s, a second wave of Latino residents arrived as students to attend the University of Washington. Almost all of them were recruited from farming communities in the Yakima Valley and were the first in their family to seek a career. These pioneers had a lasting impact not only on the University, but on the Seattle area in general. They brought with them a strong work ethic, pride in their culture, and more awareness of social problems affecting minorities at that time, such as the union of peasants and the labor rights movement.
The Seventies is, however, when the Latino community in the Seattle metropolitan area begins to flourish and take root. The 1970s witnessed the establishment of significant social justice and community service organizations such as the Sea Mar Community Clinic and El Centro de la Raza; both have become strong spokespersons for the Latino community in the region. The seventies also brought new migrants from other Latin countries, who sought asylum from political turmoil. Newcomers from Central and South America continued to settle in the Seattle area in the eighties and nineties.
This special focus on Latino culture in the Seattle metropolitan area has identified a sampling of destinations, or waypoints, to help illustrate the development of the Latino community in King County. Some of the highlighted themes and sample sites include:
From dress shops to bakeries and restaurants, these businesses have kept Latino culture thriving. (See the Salvadorean Bakery, Panaderia La Ideal, Jalisco Mexican Restaurant (South Park), Decoraciones Ely, and more.)
Desde tiendas de vestidos a panaderías y restaurantes, estos negocios han mantenido viva la cultura latina. (Ver Panaderia Salvadoreña, Panaderia La Ideal, Restaurante Jalisco en South Park, Decoraciones Ely, y más).
The Students of ’68 (see video for the University of Washington) paved the way for more Latino students to pursue higher education. Proyecto Saber, a dropout prevention program started for the Seattle public schools in 1975, was based out of Chief Sealth High School. Places like Casa Latina today offer English language classes, among other programs. Bilingual schools such as Holy Family School offer classes in English and Spanish.
Los estudiantes del ‘68 (ver video de la Universidad de Washington) abrieron brecha para que más estudiantes latinos buscarán alcanzar una educación superior. Proyecto Saber, un programa de prevención de deserción iniciado por las escuelas públicas de Seattle en 1975, de base en la Escuela Superior Chief Sealth. Hoy en día, lugares como Casa Latina ofrecen clases de Inglés a la par de otros programas de apoyo. Escuelas bilingües como Holy Family ofrecen clases en Inglés y Español.
Several significant murals related to Latino heritage are scattered around Seattle, as well as many more examples of street art around various neighborhoods such as South Park. (See Kane Hall/UW, Ethnic Cultural Center at UW, El Centro de la Raza, and video segments.)
Considerable número de murales relativos al patrimonio latino están localizados por todo Seattle, así como muchos más ejemplos de arte urbano alrededor de vecindarios como South Park. (Ver Kane Hall/UV, Ethnic Cultural Center en UW, El Centro de la Raza, y videos).
Social Justice & Civil Rights/Justicia Social & Derechos Civiles.
Seattle has a strong history of Latino leaders who have formed prominent organizations such as Sea Mar, El Centro de la Raza, and Casa Latina. All of these serve as models for social justice, civil/labor/immigrant rights and health care services.
Seattle tiene una fuerte historia de líderes latinos que han formado organizaciones prominentes como Sea Mar, El Centro de la Raza y Casa Latina. Todos estos, modelos de justicia social, derechos civiles /laborales/migrantes y servicios de atención médica.
Churches can be anchor points for communities, and several churches in the Seattle area serve as cultural havens for Latinos. The churches here selected all offer masses in Spanish and some flavor of Central or South America.
Las iglesias pueden ser ancla en una comunidad, y varias iglesias en el área de Seattle sirven como refugios culturales para latinos. Las iglesias aquí seleccionadas ofrecen misas en Español y la atmósfera de Latinoamérica.