National Council of La Raza Changes Its Name to UnidosUS - Higher Education
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National Council of La Raza Changes Its Name to UnidosUS

by Gia Savage

One of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization has changed its name in an effort to appeal to a younger generation.

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR)—known for its advocacy civil rights work on behalf of Hispanic communities—is now called “UnidosUS,” which is translated to mean “united.”

The name change is an effort by the 49-year-old organization to reach out to a younger demographic at a time when attacks on immigration and health care are at an all-time high.

“While we have seen so much progress, the work our founders started 49 years ago remains unfinished,” said UnidousUS’s President and CEO Janet Murguia. “It is up to our generation and the next to finish the job.”

Marguia made her remarks earlier this week at the organization’s annual conference held in Phoenix. Murguia’s public call for young people to engage with the organization and to help complete the work of the founders signifies an attempt by the leadership to create an intergenerational movement for social change.

“However we rebrand or rename, it is important for us to go through the process and discussion of engagement of our constituents,” said Dr. Cristobal Rodriguez, an associate professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Howard University and an expert on Hispanic issues. “How do we understand the complexities and the politics around identities and names and what’s also both critically important  and at the same time  understanding how to engage that next generation of leaders?”

Rodriguez said the creation of NCLR in 1968 acknowledged the political climate at the time. He said that younger Hispanics now need to have a critical understanding of their history as they move into leadership positions.

Gia Savage can be reached at gsavage@diverseeducation.com

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