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Photo on left: Shanika Parker, Jose Uriarte, Albert Green and Quilla Copeland
Photo on right: Margaret Boddie, Josephine Tamayo Murray, David Beke, Courtney Smith
and Ellen Hegenauer
Not pictured: Natalia Pierson
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Christmas Traditions

Orthodox Christian

“Some Orthodox Christians observe the Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds (those who visited baby Jesus) on January 6, followed by the Adoration of the Magi (three wise men or kings) on January 7 . . . Christmas Day is a public holiday on January 7 in countries such as Belarus, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, and the Ukraine. Some countries, such as Armenia, observe Christmas Day on January 6.” Why January 7? Many Orthodox Christians follow the Julian calendar that predates the Gregorian calendar which is more commonly observed by other Christians. January 6 is often a time of fasting and reflection. Orthodox Christmas is for feasting with family and friends. 

Ethiopian-Christians refer to Christmas as “Ganna” or “Gena.” Their celebrations here in the U.S. may include traditions brought from their native country, such as feasting on wat (a spicy stew of meat, vegetables and eggs) and injera (flat sourdough bread), and special music, church services and processions. Timkat, a three-day celebration twelve days after Ganna, is also celebrated and commemorates the baptism of Christ.

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During Advent in the Philippines, Catholics celebrate Simbang Gabi (“night Mass”). This is a time of nine days of Masses, or a novena, that “expresses their love for God and honors the Blessed Virgin Mary.” The novena concludes with a Mass on Christmas Eve. “The people display star-shaped lanterns, or parols, in their homes and as part of the procession at the beginning of Mass. The parol represents the star of Bethlehem and reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world.”

Experience a traditional Filipino Simbang Gabi at one of 80 local Seattle parishes that take part in the novena running December 15–23 this year (Seattle Archdiocese’s 2014 Simbang Gabi schedule). “Approximately 1,000 Filipino Catholics are expected to participate in a Simbang Gabi commissioning Mass at St. James Cathedral, with traditional dishes served afterward. This year’s commissioning Mass will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13.” Learn how to make your own simple and delicious meat adobo seasoned with garlic and bay leaves.

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Las Posadas is a 9-day celebration of Spanish origin celebrated today primarily in countries like Mexico and Guatemala and in the American Southwest. Las Posadas begins on December 16 and ends December 24. The roots of this celebration are in Catholicism but Protestant Christians also participate. During Las Posadas, people process from house to house singing, reenacting Mary and Joseph’s journey through Bethlehem. El Centro de la Raza is sponsoring a Seattle celebration, Las Posadas y Virgin of Guadalupe Day, on Friday December 12. “On Christmas eve, Las Posados culminates in all-out feasting at the Cena de Noche Buena when families gather for a traditional meal of romeritos (baked shrimp),bacalao (dried cod fish), roast turkey, Christmas salad, and mounds of sweet and sugary buñuelos. Especially in northern Mexico,and in Mexican communities in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona, festivities may include a Christmas tree, presents, or even a visit by Santa. However, Three Kings Day or Epiphany on January 6 remains a traditional day for gift exchanges in Central and Southern Mexico and throughout Latin America.”

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Join us for a literary exploration of how culture and race
shape our communities and the world.    

Featured Book Recommendation

Mary Coin
by Marisa Silver

In her first novel since The God of War, the critically acclaimed author Marisa Silver takes Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photograph as inspiration for a breathtaking reinvention—a story of two women, one famous and one forgotten, and of the remarkable legacy of their chance encounter.

In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of a road in Central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting the migrant laborers who have taken to America’s farms in search of work. Little personal information is exchanged, and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced what will become the most iconic image of the Great Depression. (Excerpt from review from barnesandnoble,com.) Learn more at the author's website and see a view Dorothea Lange's now famous photo,  "Migrant Mother."

If you would like to host a CCS/CHS Reads lunch and book discussion in your area, please contact Margaret Boddie.

Here are some highly recommended books that explore diversity. Books with stories about the Native American experience are highlighted.

African American, African
  • A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley
  • Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  • Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
  • Native Son by Richard Wright 
  • Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family by Pauli Murray
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Asian American, Asian
  • (The) Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan 
  • Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of WWII by Darlene Deibler Rose
  • (The) Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • Honolulu by Alan Brennert
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
  • Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford
  • When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe
  • Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
  • No Language but a Cry by Dr. Richard Anthony D'Ambrosio
  • Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford
European American, European
  • Children in the Holocaust and World War II by Lauren Holliday
  • Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of WWII by Darlene Deibler Rose
  • (The) History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter
  • How the Irish Became White by Noel Ignatiev
  • Mary Coin by Marisa Silver
  • (The) Nazis Next Door:How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men by Eric Lichtblau
  • Savage Continent by Keith Lowe
Filipino American
  • Dream Jungle by Jessica Hagedorm
  • When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe
  • 7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas
Jewish American, Jewish
  • Children in the Holocaust and World War II by Lauren Holliday
  • I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits
  • Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith by Gina B. Nahai
  • (The) Nazis Next Door:How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men by Eric Lichtblau
  • Savage Continent by Keith Lowe
Hispanic/Latino/Latina American
  • Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolpho Anaya
  • Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States by Seth Holmes
Middle Eastern American, Middle Eastern
  • Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith by Gina B. Nahai
Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native American, First Nation
  • (The) Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Daughters Are Forever by Lee Maracle 
  • Daughters of the Earth by Carolyn Niethammer
  • Extraordinary Acts of Native Life on the West Coast by Kathryn Bridge
  • Mary Coin by Marisa Silver
  • (The) Toughest Indian in the World by Sherman Alexie
  • Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit by Leslie Marmon Silko
Pacific Islander, Hawaiian American
  • Honolulu by Alan Brennert
  • Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
Southeast Asian American
  • (The) Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • (The) Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri



We gather in our diversity to challenge ourselves and our communities to love one another.

We gather together in our diversity to listen to and speak our respective truths.

We have everyone’s uniqueness, talent and gifts engaging people so they feel free to speak openly about issues and concerns.

We gather our diversity to celebrate our varied histories, cultures, and triumphs.


“Diversity and inclusivity in an organization cannot be accomplished in an unstructured and informal manner. Creating the enterprise necessitates a responsive, comprehensive, and effective methodology developed specifically for creating process innovation and lasting organizational transformation. The goal is not to engage in a series of unrelated activities and or quick fixes. Rather the goal is to create a process, which would transform the organizational structure and become a part of day-to-day operations.”
(Catholic Charities USA) 

CS/CHS Employee Pledge
CCS is committed to making our services, our agencies and our communities free of the divisive and dehumanizing ravages of racism. To live out this commitment every employee is expected to pledge the following:

I will not tolerate attitudes, behaviors, or statements that alienate, offend or injure any person associated with CCS because of their racial or ethnic origin;

I will enable and support all efforts to become aware of and eliminate racism and racist behaviors within CCS and the broader community;
I will take exceptional steps to identify and root out such biases, especially where there appear to be long-standing, institutional patterns of unacceptable behavior or lack of performance.
CCS is committed to employing staff that reflect the diversity of the regional population. Professional Ethics, Mission orientation and Cultural Competency trainings are required of all employees to assist the organization in meeting its commitments in this arena.
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MAT Co-Chair
Margaret Boddie

MAT Co-Chair
Jose Uriarte
Community Partners
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El Centro de la Raza
Click here to to visit the
El Centro de la Raza website.

Minority Executive Directors CoalitionClick here to visit the
Minority Executive Directors Coalition website.

United Indians of All Tribes
Click here to visit the
United Indians of All Tribes Foundation website
Click here to visit the
First Place website
Black Dollar Days
Click here to visit Black Dollar Days Task Force website


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