Music Heals: Latino Organizations in Seattle Choose Their Favorite Songs

Music Heals
Albina Cabrera

Lee la versión en español de este artículo aquí.

"Music saved my life", "this song helped me overcome this", "without this album I could not have gone through that situation". Phrases like this, and its infinite variations, will have come out of your mouth, passed through your head, or at the very least been uttered by someone very close to you at some point in your life.

The thing is that music, for many of us, really is configured as a living soundtrack that builds our social imagination, determines the foundations of our memories, and helps us (really, truly helps us) go through moments, all moments, of our life.

My experience is one lived by many who upon emigrating from their country (with all the complexity that this entails), experience a true uprooting in all aspects including cultural and musical. To sing the songs of your favorite bands in your own language, the perfect line in the lyrics of a song gains meaning, and the rhythms, the trip, all that which is "listening to music", becomes voluntary and vital therapy to stay alive. 

I have reached out to some organizations that help, support, encourage and create content for the Latino community in Seattle and that work to expand access to resources and rights that would otherwise be impossible to access. Inequality is, in many cases, the cause of serious alterations in the stability and mental health of an entire community that has been doubly hit this year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, we joined in a collaborative playlist together that we created with the Latin songs that our friends from Casa Latina, El Centro de la Raza, Entre Hermanos, Seattle International Foundation, and Nepantla Cultural Art Gallery like the most.





As a vibrant, immigrant worker rights organization, Casa Latina empowers low-wage Latino immigrants to move from economic insecurity to economic prosperity and to lift their voices to take action around public policy issues that affect them. Casa Latina was founded in 1994, shortly after unprecedented numbers of Latino workers began arriving to Seattle. Since then, the organization has grown from doing street outreach out of borrowed spaces, to organizing job dispatch out of a trailer in a parking lot, to now providing a suite of impactful programs—including day labor dispatch, ESL classes, job skills & safety trainings, and community organizing for almost 750 worker-members—out of a three-building campus in Seattle’s Central District.

In addition to directly serving the Latino community in King County, Casa Latina has national impact as a model day worker center whose programs, curricula, and operations have been shared and implemented at worker centers throughout the country. Amongst other projects, our popular education model of English instruction and our worker dispatch software Machete are distributed widely. It’s through local and national change that we envision a future where the Latino community participates fully in the economy and democracy of this country.




Entre Hermanos' mission is promote the health and well-being of the Latino Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and questioning community in a culturally appropriate environment through disease prevention, education, support services, advocacy and community building. Through our programs, we provide holistic services and legal immigration representation, improve health outcomes and economic opportunities, end discriminatory practices, and increase political power and civic engagement.

"Toward the end of 2001, we received a charter by the State of Washington to operate as a nonprofit organization, through the corporate status offered by IRS Section 501(C)3. Since then, we continue to grow, thanks to our personnel, Board of Directors, volunteer corps, and educational and recreational activities. Looking forward to our 27th year of service to the Latino LGBTQ community, we continue marching into the future, always progressing and offering more services far and wide to Latinos in the State of Washington."




Seattle International Foundation (SIF) promotes good governance and equity in Central America through support for the rule of law and the strengthening of civil society.
Over the past ten 10 years, SIF has granted over $24 million to 243 organizations in 81 countries. In addition to its grants portfolio, SIF implements key initiatives in the region, including the Central America Donors Forum, the Central American and Mexico Youth Fund, Centroamérica Adelante and the Independent Journalism Fund.

The Central America & Mexico Youth Fund (CAMY Fund) supports young leaders in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua in designing and implementing projects to improve the lives of local youth and their communities.



El Centro de la Raza is a voice and a hub for Seattle and Martin Luther King, Jr. County’s Latino community as we advocate on behalf of our people and work to achieve social justice. Through our comprehensive programs and services, we empower members of the Latino community as fully participating members of society. We also work to raise awareness with the general public, and government, business and civic leaders about the needs of the Chicano/Latino community in the United States.

“Our organization has a strong commitment to the struggle for civil rights for all persons, regardless of race, and a rich history of services to the community. Many of our program participants come back to El Centro de la Raza to join our advocacy efforts, to volunteer, or just to visit. Along with our local work, we maintain an international perspective and connections and continue to work for positive social change in the global community.”




Is a multi-use space, hosting art exhibitions, a gift shop for artists and artisans, as well as a community space for events such as spoken word, music and arts related lectures and workshops. We are located at 9414 Delridge Way SW Seattle WA 98106.

Nepantla is a Nahuatl (Aztec language) term which describes being in the middle or the space in the middle. The term was popularized by Chicana writer/scholar Gloria Anzaldua. Most often the term references endangered communities, cultures or gender who due to colonialism/marginalization or historical trauma, that engage in resistance strategies of survival. Nepantla becomes the alternative space in which to live, heal, function and create. 

“The Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery brings voice to our community, it allows us to share our story to the larger Seattle Community. Your support is greatly appreciated.”


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