National Council of La Raza

"NCLR" redirects here. For other uses, see NCLR (disambiguation).
National Council of La Raza
Abbreviation NCLR
Formation 1968
Headquarters Washington D.C.
Janet Murguía

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) (La Raza) is the USA's largest Latino nonprofit advocacy organization. It advocates in favor of progressive public policy changes including immigration reform, a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the country illegally, and reduced deportations.[1][2]

Founded in 1968, NCLR has regional offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Phoenix, San Antonio and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.[3] Janet Murguía serves as NCLR's president.[4]


In 1963, a group of Mexican Americans in Washington, D.C. formed the National Organization for Mexican American Services (NOMAS). The organization existed primarily to provide technical assistance to Hispanic groups and bring them together under one umbrella. NOMAS presented a proposal to the Ford Foundation to establish an organization that could provide technical assistance and organizational structure to the Mexican American community. The Ford Foundation hired Herman Gallegos, Julian Samora, and Ernesto Galarza to travel the Southwest and make a recommendation on how the Ford Foundation could help Mexican Americans.[5]

Gallegos, Samora and Galarza founded the Southwest Council of La Raza (SWCLR) in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1968. SWCLR was given financial support from the Ford Foundation, the National Council of Churches, and the United Auto Workers, and the organization received 501(c)(3) status later that year.[6]

In 1973, the SWCLR became a national organization, changed its name to the National Council of La Raza, and moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C. Early disagreements among the organization's leadership caused the Ford Foundation to threaten to withhold funding, resulting in President Henry Santiestevan's resignation and the election of Raul Yzaguirre.[7]

The Spanish word raza is often translated into English as race.[8] The phrase La Raza has a particular history in the context of political activism in which NCLR uses it. NCLR uses “La Raza” to refer to “the people” or “the Hispanic people of the New World."[9]

Beginning in about 1975, the NCLR began expanding its focus to include the issues of non-Mexican American Latinos. This policy was made official in 1979. By 1980, the NCLR was funded almost entirely by the federal government.[10]

When the Reagan Administration reduced available federal funding, the NCLR cut back the scale of its operations.[10] As a result, the organization began focusing on national policy and concentrating its efforts in Washington, D.C. After the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, state governments exerted more control over the disbursement of welfare funds, which led to the development of the NCLR's Field Advocacy Project to influence decisions at the state and local levels.


The organization holds an annual conference. In 2016, Elizabeth Warren[11][12] and Steve St. Angelo spoke at the conference.[13]


Prior to 2000, three-quarters of the organization's funding came from private sources, including individuals and corporations, and one-quarter of its funding came from the federal government.[14] As of 2015, the organization reported receiving 85% of its funding from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and 15% of its funding from the government.[15]


Some critics, such as conservative talk radio host George Putnam, call NCLR exclusionary in its approach to civil rights.[16]

César Chávez was a critic of "La Raza," stating to Peter Matthiessen of The New Yorker,

I hear more and more Mexicans talking about la raza—to build up their pride. Some people don’t look at it as racism, but when you say ‘la raza,’ you are saying an anti-gringo thing, and it won’t stop there. Today it’s anti-gringo, tomorrow it will be anti-Negro. We had a stupid guy who just wanted to play politics with the union, and he began to whip up La Raza against the white volunteers, and even had some of the farm workers and the pickets and the organizers hung up on la raza. [17]

Chávez friend and UFW staffer LeRoy Chatfield[18] stated,

That's one of the reasons (Chávez) is so upset about La Raza. The same Mexicans that ten years ago were talking about themselves as Spaniards are coming on real strong these days as Mexicans. Everyone should be proud of what they are, of course, but race is only skin-deep. It's phony and it comes out of frustration; the la raza people are not secure. They look upon Cesar as their 'dumb Mexican' leader; he's become their saint. But he doesn't want any part of it.[19]

See also


  1. Epstein, Reid (March 4, 2014). "National Council of La Raza leader calls Barack Obama 'deporter-in-chief'". Politico. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  2. Fox, Laura (November 6, 2014). "Latino Community Worries Obama Could Fall Short of Expectations". National Journal. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  3. "FAQs about NCLR". National Council of La Raza. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  4. "The Politico 50". Politico Magazine. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  5. Schaefer, Richard (2008). Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society. SAGE Publications. p. 934. ISBN 9781452265865.
  6. Anft, Michael (January 20, 2005). "Giving a Voice to Hispanics". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Archived from the original on February 24, 2006. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  7. "A National Organization". National Council of La Raza. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  8. "". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  9. "NCLR FAQs". National Council of La Raza. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  10. 1 2 Martinez, Deirdre (2008). Who Speaks for Hispanics?: Hispanic Interest Groups in Washington. SUNY Press. p. 82. ISBN 9780791493694.
  11. Cordeiro, Monivette. "National Council of La Raza kicks off Orlando conference with naturalization ceremony". Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  12. Sago, Renata (2016-07-22). "National Council of La Raza Conference To Kick Off With Senator Elizabeth Warren in Orlando". Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  13. "Toyota very optimistic about Latin America's potential". 2016-07-26. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  14. Adams, Florence; Rodriguez, David. Latinos and Local Representation: Changing Realities, Emerging Theories. Taylor & Francis. p. 67. ISBN 9780815333708.
  15. "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). National Council of La Raza. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  16. Putnam, George (2005-03-11). "One Reporter's Opinion – The Attorney General and La Raza". NewsMax. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
  19. Matthiessen, Peter (2014). Sal Si Puedes (Escape If You Can): Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution. University of California Press. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-520-95836-4.

External links

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