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Roshea Romero
9 years ago

Roberto was a man of distinction..he led the way for many in Wa State and gave unconditionally of himself to the cause...my family (Denver, Colo.) was heavily involved in the cause La Raza...The Revolution....long live the leaders for brown skin...and what they stand for...we all know what we mean by that...never give up The Peoples Rights and their commonalities in life..

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ANNABELLE GROVER
9 years ago

I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS ONLY IN HIGH SCHOOL I MOVED TO SEATTLE. I WENT WHERE THE ACTION WAS THE INDIAN CENTER THAT COMBINED WITH EL CENTRO BUT I DIDNT KNOW I WAS GOING TO A MEXICAN DANCE YA IT WAS FUN BUT NO WAY COULD DANCE LIKE THAT LOL. AND THE TIME YOU CAME TO TAHOLAH AND I MADE YOU MY CLAM CHOWDER AND YOU WERE KIND EVEN IF I FORGOT THE BACON. OH HOW I WILL MISS YOU YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN THE NATIVES HEARTS LOVE YOU BRO.

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Alfredo Calixto
10 years ago

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Alfredo Calixto
10 years ago

I am sorry to findout that Roberto passed. I am uploading two photos I took of him when we were in Dallas Texas with Bank of America for training. Here he is in front of El Centro College in Downtown Dallas

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Alfredo Calixto
10 years ago

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Alfredo Calixto
10 years ago

Hi here is Roberto pointing to the window were the shot was fired that killed President John Kennedy while he stood at the X marking the stop where the President was shot. So sorry i did not het a chance to send these to him before. Alfredo Calixto, Chicago, IL

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Virginia Anderson
10 years ago

I am grateful for the opportunity to have traveled through decades of Seattle's history at the same time as Roberto. My first meetings with him were in the 70's when he lobbied Model Cites and Seattle's DHR for funding for community programs. I learned from his humor and heartfelt advocacy. I learned from his courage. He changed the stereotypes and became part of the soul of the establishment community he challenged. I remember him holding my new daughter and laughing with delight. I remember him laughing in committee meetings and at rallies; his humor punctuating passionate speeches of liberation and equality. I remember him laughing and talking to the crowd last year as the YMCA honored him and his legacy with the AK Guy award. I am grateful we came together to honor him when he was still here and able to bask in the admiration, love and gratitude of the City he served.

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Jordan Van Voast
10 years ago

Seattle and the world lost a great leader on September 22. I was fortunate to get to know Roberto a little bit as I wandered the hallways of El Centro de la Raza, where CommunChi has lived these past nearly four years. I'm guessing Roberto had many thousands of amigos. That was his nature - humble and outgoing. Helping people was his business, so naturally, he talked to anyone whose world even remotely touched his orbit. On one of our last conversations, he shared with me how he remembered being a teacher at Franklin High School the day after Dr. King was killed. The heaviness in the classroom was palpable that morning and one boy finally broke the silence, voicing the grief that everyone felt. "Mr. Maestas, why?" Roberto said there was a long silence after the boy spoke, and that was one of the most difficult moments of his life, finding the words to answer his question. "What did you say?", I asked him. "I just did my best", Roberto said, "people always need hope for a better world." May we all follow in Roberto's compassionate footsteps.

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Sue Singer
10 years ago

I only knew Roberto for a little over a year but I consider myself very lucky to have met him. What a wonderful soul! His love for his family and all children was so open and genuine that I suspect he was child at heart himself. I will never forget the delight he took in playing a few games of vintage pinball in my basement this summer, talking all the while about the hours he spent playing those games in his younger years. Roberto will be missed by all he touched, and few of us can say we've touched more people in our lifetimes.

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UW Student
10 years ago

Just leaving a note of sympathy and respect for Mr. Maestas. A big inspiration and a pivotal individual not only for Seattle but for the region. His efforts and advocacy for others touched many people, many lives and many communities.

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Estela: Roberto meant so much to all of us. His passion, love and energy to bring justice to all of our people will never be forgotten. Thank you for sharing his brilliance with our community. His love of people will always shine in our hearts. Our love and prayers are with you and your family. Always. Helena Grant Stephens I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers as you mourn the loss of one so dear as Roberto. I am honored to have known him, and Seattle is a better place for his having been here to contribute so greatly to our community. On a very personal note, I am glad that our sons, Alec III and Michael (now grown) are among the many youngsters who got their pre-school foundation at Jose Marti Child Development Center. Peace & Love. Alec Stephens

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Raul Sanchez
10 years ago

Every time he saw me, he shook my hand and then turned to my daughter Marina whether 4, 5, 6 or 7 years of age Roberto will always say while grabbing her cheek and looking at her; "Mira que chulada, como estas?" Then Marina would turn to him and reply: "Muy bien" Then Roberto will give her a hug. The last time we saw him was when Martin Espada read at El Centro. I miss him, his voice, his straightforwardness, his sincerity and siempre caval y firme! Here is a very humble tribute to him, Don Roberto a great example. Roberto Es El Centro Thunderous voice, Friendly, Echoes through hallways El Centro, in the center Building bridges, smiling Shaking hands, shaking spirits His presence demands respect He owned his struggle Civil rights fighter Giving unconditionally He loved the earth Alone in the world The dust of Saint Augustine Long gone Himself a migrant farm worker Dug his hands In this warm earth Chicano Firme! Your example lives Justice now! Justicia ahora! Roberto contigo La Lucha Sigue Siempre! Raul Sanchez Seattle 9-25-10

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Sonia Palma
10 years ago

Raul, We really like your poem and would like your permission to read it at a public forum. Can you please contact me to further discuss? LatinoCityEmployees@seattle.gov Gracias! Sonia

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Chanin Kelly-Rae
10 years ago

Words cannot capture the grief, loss and sorrow that we all share with the passing of Roberto. To say that he will be missed, to say that his presence cannot be replaced, to say that we are without one of our strongest social justice champions……these phrases ring empty. Please know that we all stand with you, beside you Estela y la familia de el Centro de la Raza. Thank you so much for sharing Roberto with us all. We are forever in your debt. Peace and blessings.

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Roberto cared about, supported and worked with all people of color. I remember some years ago when our church burned, he showed up that very day of the fire with a van load of people to offer help. He has walked hand-in-hand with leaders from various ethic and racial communities. His passing is a tremendous loss for us all. Vaya con Dios mi amigo. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and all who knew Roberto.

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Carl Wassilie
10 years ago

As an indigenous Yup'iaq man from the Arctic, I recently attended a environmental justice forum in Seattle where I met Roberto. Despite never meeting him before, I immediately recognized him (and his strong heart) as a respectful elder and indigenous uncle in the community. Our brief encounter of power and enlightenment is an important process of connecting our brothers and sisters in the global justice communities; particularly bringing the Raven, Eagle, and Condor together again without borders. May the Creator bless all the family and friends in this time of loss; and let us celebrate the beauty that Roberto bestowed upon us all.

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Ted Hunter
10 years ago

Roberto was a true non-violent warrior, fighting for justice and equality for all. He drew others into the fight with his charm, charisma and call to fight for justice. Roberto and I first worked together when the City of Seattle was trying to close down El Centro de la Raza because it was hosting Tent City, a place for homeless people to live in peace. It was located at El Centro for just a few months, but the City Attorney at the time (Mark Sidran) found El Centro to be in violation of law and began issuing fines against El Centro, which made it difficult for El Centro to keep its grants coming in ("must be in full compliance with law"). Roberto called on me as an Attorney, as we had met in a Legal Clinic some years ago. We fought City Hall --- and won! It was a great victory, as we could show that the existence of Tent City on Beacon Hill actually provided increased business for the local businesses, and reduced crime in the neighborhood as shown by police and tax dept. statistics. However, the City still denied the permit we requested. We won in court, but the City took the case to the higher court. Fortunately, we then elected a new City Attorney who negotiated a famous Consent Decree with us that allows Tent City to be in Seattle as long as shelter is needed for homeless people. A great victory! And Roberto was there every step of the way to support, encourage, and urge us on. He even made me a Knight of the Sea Fair Court when he was King -- fun! We enjoyed laughs, stories and songs together. I will really miss him dearly.

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Peggy Vargas
10 years ago

Roberto was a good friend to my late husband, Paul Vargas, and was best man at our wedding. There were backyard barbecues and a camping trip that included his 2 youngest daughters. That's what I will remember. May his family and friends find comfort at this difficult time.

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Beryl Fernandes
10 years ago

I met Roberto in the mid-1970’s through my mentor at the U of Washington, Claudio Arenas, Professor of Urban Planning. Together, we shared a passion for and commitment to working for those who had no voice, were trampled and often hopeless. Roberto’s unrelenting efforts helped inspire and mobilize those with crushed aspirations to continue fighting for themselves and others – transcending the divisive boundaries of race, religion and other human-made barriers. Several years ago El Centro’s after-school program asked me to serve as a volunteer mentor for a citywide student technology contest sponsored by Microsoft, and I gladly accepted. Not Latina myself, this was my first in-depth introduction to El Centro. I was touched by the warmth, support, respect and inclusiveness of the people at the center. As their project, the students chose to prepare a multi-media presentation of the after-school program, including El Centro’s dramatic history. The students diligently pursued this project and won Second Place competing against dozens of teams from middle through high school and community colleges, and impressing the Microsoft judges with their talent and community spirit. The students at El Centro reflected Roberto’s values and looked up to him as a loving father figure they would run up to and hug in the hallways. A long time mentor myself, I have a keen appreciation for the long-term benefits of the inter-generational mentoring and community building across cultures fostered by Roberto. Our last hug was at Mayor McGinn’s victory party and I’m so thankful for that chance.

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Pedro Meza
10 years ago

2002..our formal relationship started with El Centro. But indirectly...since 1980's (of what I remember), it started with his leg work @Radio KDNA. He was to me....a friend, mentor, my El Centro director, teacher, kdna mover, and model of justice. To us, as la comunidad del valle de yakima... era como el ranchero sembrando la cosecha. I and fellow neighbors being the cosecha. Fruit of justice is promising to bloom! As you say..."he will live [forever]" Que dios lo bendiga! -- -Pedro Meza

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Abby Ruskey
10 years ago

My heart goes out to Roberto's family and friends. I did not know him well, but I felt that he allowed me and others to know and be inspired by his love of all people. He emboddied the knowledge that humanity can, should and will do better. When I read of his death while driving, I cried and then I cried again when I read and learned more about him in the paper. May a thousand flowers bloom as his spirit and molecules join together with the other great leaders of the people and infuse us with the light and courage to live up to their example. For Roberto: Heaven is my father and Earth is my mother and even such a small creature as I finds an intimate place in their midst Therefore, that which fills the universe I regard as my body and that which directs the the universe I consider as my nature. All people are my brothers and sisters and all things are my companions Zhang Zai (1020-1077) opening lines, "the Western Inscription"

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Abby Ruskey
10 years ago

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Abby Ruskey
10 years ago

My heart goes out to Roberto's family and friends. I did not know him well, but I felt that he allowed me and others to know and be inspired by his love of all people. He emboddied the knowledge that humanity can, should and will do better. When I read of his death while driving, I cried and then I cried again when I read and learned more about him in the paper. May a thousand flowers bloom as his spirit and molecules join together with the other great leaders of the people and infuse us with the light and courage to live up to their example. For Roberto: Heaven is my father and Earth is my mother and even such a small creature as I finds an intimate place in their midst Therefore, that which fills the universe I regard as my body and that which directs the the universe I consider as my nature. All people are my brothers and sisters and all things are my companions Zhang Zai (1020-1077) opening lines, "the Western Inscription"

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I met Roberto at El Centro de la Raza in the spring of 1974; I was seeking services to better myself and found a new community center in the Seattle area, ran by an outspoken bearded head Hispanic man, who believed in equality for all races. I started to attend classes at El Centro and was able to have many opportunities to share with Roberto and his small staff, the stories of being raised in a farm worker’s family from the Yakima Valley. I remember telling them how my parents and all us kids from, the oldest to the youngest would be working in the fields, while a small twin engine plane would fly over us spraying mist of soft water to cool us down. Of course, we, as many other farm worker families, were unaware that pesticides were being sprayed. Roberto was a strong advocate for farm workers and spoke against the injustices and unfair labor practices that many farm workers endure. My father died from an unknown lung disease. Roberto made an important and strong impact to help many farm workers and their families. Roberto was a leader and a family man not just to his immediate family, but also to many farm worker families, my deepest and warmest sympathy to Chata (Estela), their children, and grandchildren. Roberto, rest in peace

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Enrique Cerna
10 years ago

I was a cub news reporter at KOMO Radio, not long out of college. I was sent to cover a demonstration in downtown Seattle at the Federal Building. As I pulled up, I saw Roberto with a protest sign (not sure what he was protesting), railing loudly. I then heard Ken Schram, a KOMO Television news reporter sent to cover the demosntration say over the two-way radio, "This guy is at every protest. Is this all he does?" It did seem that Roberto was at every protest back then. But I soon learned it wasn't all he did. Some people liked him and some people didn't. Roberto could be loud and annoying, but he was always caring especially about people who were overlooked and disenfranchised. That's why he was loud and annoying, but most of all caring. Roberto and I became good friends. We made bets each year on the Apple Cup. He was a Dawg and I'm a Coug. Neither one of us paid off our bet if when we lost, but we gave each other a lot of crap when we won. I was always on Roberto to quit smoking. Estela told me to give him a hard time about it and I did every time I saw him.I know he tried, but he couldn't break the habit. I wish he had never smoked. Not long ago, I told him he was one of my heroes. He was touched. I told him he was a hero of mind because he lived his convictions and that's something most of us are not able to do. Roberto made Seattle a better place for all of us. I will miss him--a lot.

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Tom Byers
10 years ago

Only Roberto could have imagined that Seattle could become Managua's sister city in the midst of the Contra War. But that was his vision, and soon dozens of citizens from all walks of life were traveling to Nicaragua in "sister city delegations" arranged by El Centro. The movement grew so large that I sought, and received Mayor Royer's permission to go on one of those trips on his behalf. I remember that Roberto had become such a celebrity in Manuagua that the city's mayor hosted a party on the evening of Roberto's birthday, and in keeping with the festivities, lift many "Cuba libres" in his honor. The next morning, with a shattering headache, I awoke to an announcement that our party had been granted permission to go to the border, where the fighting was. In the back of the cattle truck we traveled in, I wrote this little scrap of a poem. I had always intended to give it to Roberto, but didn't remember until now. On the Road to Ocotal Breaking through the trees, the late morning sun coaxes steam from the asphalt that winds through the forest, north toward the trouble. Ahead there is a barricade. The soldiers there are serious as bayonets as they forage through a truck’s cargo. They're looking for guns, I suppose. But finding only pigs, they curse, then laugh, and become young boys again (Nicaragua, 1986) Farewell, my friend. Tom Byers

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Tom Byers
10 years ago

Only Roberto could have imagined that Seattle could become Managua's sister city in the midst of the Contra War. But that was his vision, and soon dozens of citizens from all walks of life were traveling to Nicaragua in "sister city delegations" arranged by El Centro. The movement grew so large that I sought, and received Mayor Royer's permission to go on one of those trips on his behalf. I remember that Roberto had become such a celebrity in Manuagua that the city's mayor hosted a party on the evening of Roberto's birthday, and in keeping with the festivities, lift many "Cuba libres" in his honor. The next morning, with a shattering headache, I awoke to an announcement that our party had been granted permission to go to the border, where the fighting was. In the back of the cattle truck we traveled in, I wrote this little scrap of a poem. I had always intended to give it to Roberto, but didn't remember until now. On the Road to Ocotal Breaking through the trees, the late morning sun coaxes steam from the asphalt that winds through the forest, north toward the trouble. Ahead there is a barricade. The soldiers there are serious as bayonets as they forage through a truck’s cargo. They're looking for guns, I suppose. But finding only pigs, they curse, then laugh, and become young boys again (Nicaragua, 1986) Farewell, my friend. Tom Byers

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Roberto
10 years ago

Tu corazon era grande, no solo querias luchar por ayudar a tu gente en Seattle, sino las luchas de los pueblos al Sur del Rio Grande. Me recuerdo cuando por el ano 1986 me invitastes a visitar Huatulco, Mexico, para explorar las posibilidades de inversion en Oaxaca y asi romper el bloqueo economico que sufria el pueblo de Nicaragua en la querra que Reagan nos impuso. Estas cosas no se olvidan y siempre te llevaremos en nuestra memoria historica. Gracias Tocayo. Roberto

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Lynn Stowell
10 years ago

The first President Bush established a Point of Light Award to be given to individuals and organizations that were making a difference in their communities. Clearly, Roberto, Estela, the staff, and El Centro met the criteria and were worthy of nomination. I approached Roberto and asked him that if nominated and selected would he accept the award without using the occasion to criticize the President or his Administration. We all know that Roberto never let an opportunity pass to "speak for the people". With that twinkle in his eye and wry smile on his face he said "let me think about that". He agreed to accept the award on behalf of El Centro if it was approved by the White House. It was approved and Roberto was gracious in his remarks while still making the point that the struggle continues to meet the needs of the poor, the children, the community. VIVA Roberto!

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Manuel Romero
10 years ago

Roberto was truly a valued friend and mentor. I had the privilege of meeting Roberto for the first time in 1997 when I was interviewing for the position of Executive Director for the Washington State Governors Office of Hispanic Affairs. Roberto asked me some very tough question. He must have liked my responses because he advocated for me to get the position, which I got. Roberto and I connected immediately because we are both from New Mexico but, more importantly we shared the same commitment for social justice. As director I often sought his council on a variety of positions. Roberto new the Latino community and the communities of color in Washington State had an advocate in the Governors office during my tenure there, perhaps this is why he asked me to be a member of the board of Centro de la Raza. I learned a great deal about Washington from my friend Roberto. His passion for social justice was contagious. Estela and to all Roberto's family, lo siento que se nos fue nuestro amigo y companero, sin embargo, siempre estara con nosotros en la lucha para la justicia. Atentamente, Manuel Romero

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Stefani Julius
10 years ago

I remember listening to Roberto Maestas speak in a Boise State University summer class in 2009 and heard his words as if he were a bee whizzing from flower to flower gathering pollen, while students and professor exchanged stories, thoughts, and ideas. I was inspired at that time to write a poem for him which he graciously received. Humanity, Humanity sing your song. Weave your melodic words as a bougainvillea spirals its thorn and flower. Vibrant colors kiss my vision, sharp points pierce my soul. Through beauty and pain the vine grows strong. From glory to glory let’s sing our song. Meandering on our journey while Living, Loving, Laughing, Dancing, and Fighting all the day long. I did not realize at the time that the bougainvillea is a native plant of South America. It is also found in the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, the Mediterranean region, the Caribbean, Mexico, South Africa, Kuwait, and the United States in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, South Carolina, and southern Texas. It can also be grown indoors. They adapt to wet or dry climates by transforming to deciduous or evergreen plants. The Bougainvillea. Roberto inspired transformation Abrazos, Stefani Julius

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sowslywophy
9 years ago

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.I'm attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

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Ashley Haugen
10 years ago

‎"All is beautiful and unceasing, all is music and reason." -José Martí. We miss you Maestas and will never tire in the struggle for justice. Gracias for the strength, love, passion, community, and humanity you instilled in all of us. We will always remember.

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Anne Stadler
10 years ago

I remember Roberto from the time of the occupation and the beginnings of El Centro. At that time I was working in television at KING Broadcasting. Roberto was a tireless advocate and organizer for social change and very pragmatic actions, and a very reliable source of learning and integrity. There were few people who could illuminate both the substantive and human levels of issues as well as Roberto. We met again after many years during the Seeds of Compassion. His capacity to include everyone, to find ways to expand the beloved community El Centro created, was remarkable. We have much to learn from his experience, his spirit, and his capacious heartful engagement with all of life. I'll miss him. I am so happy we reconnected the past few years. I embrace his family and those who worked closely with him.

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Anonymous
10 years ago

I have many memories of Roberto, an awesome man, but the one thing I remember the most is him always being so happy to see me when I was little (well, all the time). He would pinch my cheeks and say, "Oh my beautiful Raquelita!" and then he would hug and squeeze me. He would do the same to my brothers and we would all feel special. He made every child feel like THEY were HIS favorite no matter what. He made all children feel important and he would always take time to hear what they had to say. He always has and always will have a special place in my heart because of that and I'm so blessed to have known him. May you rest in peace...until we meet again. I love you.

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Maria Medina
10 years ago

I remember bringing some of our students from Garfield HIgh School - their Club name was Razas Unidas to El Centro for a tour and hoping they would get to meet the Director. Roberto actually took time out of his busy schedule to meet with them and spent time talking to each student. He told them this was their home and his manner was genuine. He shared with them the history of the Seattle movement and gave much encouragement for them to continue their education. The students enjoyed visiting with Roberto and blossomed under his attention. It was impressive to see the students smiling, paying attention and absorbing the words of wisdom that Roberto was sharing with them. That was truly a memorable bonding moment for these students. This group of students graduated and many went on to attend college, are involved as mentors to younger Latino students and are community activists. Mr. Maestas made a lasting impression on this group. During our visit, Mr. Maestas tried to figure out which family I belonged to. He remembered eating homemade tortillas a my grandmother's house and said he knew many of my uncles and family members. It is a rare person who takes the time to find the commanilities that would help enhance communication. Many thanks to Mr. Maestas, his family and his staff for the ongoing and very important work they do at El Centro and for their genuine care and efforts to all who take part in the wonderful programs offered. Our communities have definitely been blessed by the work and years of toil from this very unselfish man and his family.

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Maria Medina
10 years ago

yekk3

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Peter Schnurman
10 years ago

I first met Roberto in 1970 along with Bernie Whitebear, Larry Gosset and Bob Santos. I worked with Roberto as a friend and colleague for more than 35 years or so until I worked with Roberto at El Centro de la Raza in the mid 1990's. Our working relationship was very close, collegial, and at the same time fiull of jokes,laughter and fun. I will miss Roberto as I miss Bernie. I am sad that he is no longer with us but his spirit lives on. I am proud and honored that I knew and worked with him. Because of Roberto, i grew and was able to help a bit make the community a better place for all of us who live here.

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Peter Schnurman
10 years ago

I first met Roberto in 1970 along with Bernie Whitebear, Larry Gosset and Bob Santos. I worked with Roberto as a friend and colleague for more than 35 years or so until I worked with Roberto at El Centro de la Raza in the mid 1990's. Our working relationship was very close, collegial, and at the same time fiull of jokes,laughter and fun. I will miss Roberto as I miss Bernie. I am sad that he is no longer with us but his spirit lives on. I am proud and honored that I knew and worked with him. Because of Roberto, i grew and was able to help a bit make the community a better place for all of us who live here.

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10 years ago

Roberto agreed to be my advisor for a Chicano Studies independent study as part of my Bachelor of Arts program in the Fall of 1991. As a result the focus of my life and career changed and I found a new home away from home. Roberto always welcomed me to El Centro where I was encouraged to volunteer in several departments, participate in Community University, become a supporter and spread the word in the greater community. He has continued to welcome me and my family into the El Centro de la Raza "beloved community" over the intervening years. I will miss him greatly.

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Tony Volchok
11 years ago

I have such great memories of Roberto stemming back to my Franklin days. I would hitch hike to school and Roberto would pick me up in his 51 New Yorker, baby blue . Several years later, i found a 51 New Yorker , the same make and model that he had driven. Through the years, I was able to take him for several rides letting him drive and remembering what is was like . He would just laugh and enjoy it. I shared many lunches with him and will always have the most wonderful memories of him. My class, the class of 70 will truely miss his coming to our reunion in a couple of weeks. I dont think Roberto ever missed a reunion or a chance to get together with old friends . He was loved and will never be forgotten. My prayers go out to all of the family . Im glad and proud to have been called a friend. Rest in peace Roberto. you will always be one of the FOUR AMIGOS.

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Enrique Gonzalez
11 years ago