Our Story

Roberto Maestas, El Centro de la Raza and the Dream. Roberto Maestas was principal founder and long-time executive director of El Centro de la Raza. Maestas was recognized as an inspired leader and a leading advocate for social justice, and was respected around the world for his ability to build multiracial alliances.

Even before the start of El Centro in 1972, Maestas’ life and work were guided by Dr. King’s vision of the “Beloved Community” – a world where poverty, racism, and social inequality could be eradicated through multiracial unity and community and civic engagement.

Maestas dreamed of creating a community that fully embodied the values that El Centro has promoted since its inception – the same values that guided Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community.

fouramigosEl Centro de la Raza now has the opportunity to make the Beloved Community a reality with the development of Plaza Roberto Maestas.



TOP RIGHT – Roberto Felipe Maestas, Principal Founder and long-time Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza. 

BOTTOM RIGHT – The Four Amigos and Multiracial Unity. More than forty years ago, Roberto Maestas formed a bond with three other Seattle leaders – the late Native American leader Bernie Whitebear, African American community leader Larry Gossett, and Bob Santos, a prominent voice in the Asian American community. Nicknamed The Four Amigos, the partnership came to symbolize Seattle’s success in fostering multiracial unity and purpose. At Plaza Roberto Maestas, public art will honor them and the diverse communities that have shaped El Centro de la Raza, and the Beacon Hill neighborhood.