The National Council of La Raza, which was founded in 1968 and is the largest Latinx civil rights organization in the U.S., has officially changed its name to UnidosUS. The group did not include punctuation in the US part of the new name, so it would be pronounced as UnidosUS, as in United States or as in us.
The organization recently wrapped its national conference in Phoenix and president Janet Murguía said the name change took three year of deliberations, and was in response to members who believe the NCLR name was outdated. "La raza," which was a phrase used by many Chicanos in '60s and '70s as a term of cultural pride. Though la raza can be translated to mean "the race," a more accurate definition is our people or our community.
Many conservatives have tried to distort the meaning of la raza and accused the NCLR of being racists or advocating for a "superior race," which the NCLR has always vehemently denied. Instead, the group's goal is Latinx inclusivity. Since the term la raza was coined by Chicanos, it's a name that didn't always resonate or reflect with the larger Latinx community, which includes Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and others.
“I think this is viewed as an opportunity and we see it as an opportunity to strengthen our organization, broaden our reach and expand our growth,” said Murguía. “And that’s going to be important as we see the challenges that we’re facing at this particular time.”
UnidosUS has tirelessly worked on behalf of Latinxs in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing.
On their website, they had this to say about the name change:
"Together we will build a stronger America by creating opportunities for Latinos. We envision an America where economic, political and social advancement is a reality for all Latinos, where all Hispanics thrive, and where all of our community’s contributions are recognized. Our commitment remains the same. Unidos is a call to action for Latinos and a message for others to join us and come together in the best interests of the country."
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