Newsletter September 2017


La Casa’s Family Resource Center

(FRC) offers direct support to walk-in clients at no cost Mon–Fri, 9am to 5pm, plus evening hours three nights a week. Call 805-965-8581.


Cafecitos on Wednesdays: A Family


Cafecitos is more than just a club. It’s a family—that meets weekly for coffee. It was a six-part life skills series in 2012 that has become five years of friendship and shared learning. Anyone can join. Spanish speaking is the only requirement.


Each Wed, from 10am to 12pm, the members gather to vent their problems and share their lives, memories, goals, and achievements. “Most are elders,” says Erika De Luna of la Casa’s Family Resource Center. “They have a lot of knowledge to share.” Every other week, a professional, requested by members, presents on subjects ranging from how to open a bank account to burial services to nutrition to immigration.


Along with elders, the group includes stay-at-home moms, mostly people who live alone. Cafecitos offers confidentiality and safety—to reach out, open up, and seek help. The group communes joyfully, with potluck feasts for holidays. “We celebrate everything,” says De Luna. And they share in each other’s grief and trials, attending funerals and hospital beds. De Luna recalls a member who joined at her family’s insistence and is now happier than ever.


“I believe that all of us, regardless of age, have a purpose, something the community can benefit from,” says De Luna. “When people get a certain age, they think they’re useless. The group brings them that hope—that knowledge—that they still do have purpose.”


To join, come to La Casa any Wed from 10am to 12pm.

Acércate, ven a La Casa los miércoles de 10am a 12pm.


Cafecitos meets every Wednesday to share and learn. ERIKA DA LUNA

La Casa’s Building Partners

Many nonprofit and community groups—La Casa’s building partners—have found a home at La Casa de La Raza community center.

Xochipilli SB: Dance, Roots, Family

Growing up, Fabiola Hernandez took every dance class she could. As an adult, she found her passion. Ballet folklórico is a wide range of dances with roots throughout Mexico. Colorful handmade costumes and musical influences from cultures across the globe speak to a rich, diverse heritage. (Las Polkas, for example, feature the accordion, a German instrument. Vera Cruz has African beats.)


In 2008, Hernandez found in la Casa de la Raza a home to share her passion. Xochipilli de Santa Barbara was born. The group, named for the Aztec prince of flowers, youth, joy, dance, and party welcomes all adults (13 plus).


One Xochipilli dancer, age 60+, joined by accident. At Casa for another class, he ended up watching the practice. He wanted to know, Could he learn? He’d stay in the back. Hernandez had other plans. For two years, he’s danced and even performed, the grandfather of their Xochipilli family.


That family, says Hernandez, fills needs many crave—exercise, pride in identity, cultural lessons, lifelong friendships (more than one married couple met at Xochipilli). She is grateful to community that supports the arts. “Like Casa,” Hernandez says. “If we didn’t have this place to practice, we would not be able to exist financially.” Xochipilli is one of many ways la Casa youth can tap into their vast potential.


To dance with Xochipilli, come watch a practice (Tues. and Thurs. 7–9 pm).

Para Bailar con Xochipilli, ven y observa una práctica (Jueves y Martes 7 a 9pm).


To watch dances from Baja, Nuevo León, Jalisco, and more, see Xochipilli’s annual show, Sept. 30 at Santa Barbara Junior High. Tickets are on sale now at Mayo’s (2704 De La Vina), El Potrillo WW (612 N Milpas), and El Rodeo (5798 Hollister.









Xochipilli of SB dances ballet folklórico. FABIOLA HERNANDEZ


Cultural Arts

The murals that line the walls at La Casa de La Raza are one of many demonstrations of La Casa’s commitment to highlighting and providing a home for local cultural arts.


Going Way Back for Forward-Thinking Radio Station!

All had a great, old-school dance night, and funds were raised to support KZAA lp FM, la Casa’s radio station for the Chicanx/Latinx community in Santa Barbara, thanks to DJ Wayback’s Old School All Stars.

La Casa’s newest offering—a radio station, KZAA lp—is rare. Radio licenses for small, independent stations aren’t easy to come by.


KZAA is radio for and by the Chicanx/Latinx community—exemplified by the station’s July fundraiser. A group of local DJs, headed by DJ Wayback, united to throw a classic, old-school dance gala. Complete with a full house, dancing and smiles galore, and of course great music, the night was a smashing success. “We like to do things with our talents that help people,” says Wayback (Victor Garcia). The group donated all proceeds. With similar shows, they’ve bought uniforms for the SBHS football team and supported la Casa’s youth center.


At KZAA, good times and coverage of important issues go hand in hand. At an August KZAA meeting, Casa Board President Michael Gonzalez spoke of fake news from DC and the need for “a voice that speaks to the issues that affect all of us.” Gonzalez looks forward to in-depth interviews with local elected officials. “Freedom is not a given,” he said. “We must fight for freedom and truth.”


KZAA will feature Chicanx/Latinx voices, and others rarely heard, to “counter inequities in access to public airwaves,” per KZAA’s mission statement, which promises “bold, current, alternative, and unexpected” shows that “promote social and economic justice.”


La Casa and KZAA are grateful to DJ Wayback, A-Bomb, DJ Chel, DJ Wicked, Frank Ramirez, John Morelli, and Victor Villalpando!


KZAA lp, 96.5 FM, is playing music now. Stay tuned for a variety of live shows. To learn more, participate, or have a show, visit KZAA’s Facebook or call 805-965-8581.

Message from the Board



On behalf of the Board of Directors of La Casa de la Raza welcome to this edition La Casa de la Raza’s newsletter. First, I want to say a great big Gracias to the 3,109 supporters of La Casa who stopped by the Casa Torta booth during the 2017 Fiestas and purchased and ate our delicious tri-tip tortas. Your continued support of La Casa is much appreciated. Another big thanks go to the countless volunteers and staff that make this annual fundraiser such a success.


As you know, La Casa has been in a financial reorganization for the past year and a half. I am pleased to share with you that, after filing for bankruptcy in May 2016, La Casa de la Raza will soon exit bankruptcy and pay off all of our debts that have accumulated over the years. The price for exiting bankruptcy is that La Casa de la Raza will be selling one-half interest in our property at 601 E. Montecito to a local developer and supporter of La Casa—Mr. Ed St. George. Please know that this sale is something none of us would do if other alternatives had been opened to us. That said, having Ed St. George as a co-owner and partner is something we can look forward to with much enthusiasm. Like many of us, as a youngster, Ed attended many of La Casa’s activities. He gets what La Casa is about and will help us move La Casa de la Raza to the next level in serving the needs of our communities.


As you read through the newsletter, you will rediscover what La Casa has done and is doing to strengthen our communities. Que viva La Casa de la Raza.


Michael Gonzalez, Board President