Hispanic Heritage Month:
National Council of La Raza
October 3, 2013
Name: National Council of La Raza
Janet Murguia, president and CEO, National Council of La Raza (photo: Jeff Malet)
The National Council of La Raza, formed to improve opportunities for U.S. Hispanics, has become one of the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organizations in the country.
The councils predecessor, the National Organization for Mexican American Services (NOMAS), was formed in the early 1960s by a group of Mexican-Americans in Washington, D.C. Feeling the lack of a Hispanic analogue to the National Organization for the Advancement of Colored People, NOMAS reached out to the Ford Foundation to conduct a study of Mexican Americans.
The upshot showed that Mexican-Americans needed more organized advocacy groups to work on their behalf at both the local and national level.
NCLRs predecessor was born: the Southwest Council of La Raza (SWCLR) in Phoenix, Ariz., in 1968. Its founding members forged it into a national organization, and changed its name to the NCLR in 1972.
Four decades on, the NCLR continues to conduct research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Hispanic perspective in assets and investments, civil rights and immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health.