At the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) changed its name to UnidosUS.

The announcement of the name change for the country’s largest Latino civil rights organization was made on Monday night during an annual conference in Phoenix.

“We are excited to announce that we are now UnidosUS. As we have over the course of the past 49 years, we will continue embracing change and ensuring that our organization is evolving and addressing the critical needs of the Latino community,” UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía said in a media release. “In unity there is strength, and in strength there is power. Unidos is a call to action for all Latinos, but also signals a message for others to join us and to come together united in the best interest of the country and all Americans.”

According to the release, the organization took three years in examining a new name change. It said that “the UnidosUS name more accurately reflects the increasing diversity within the growing Latino population in the United States and the need to join forces to ensure the community continues on a road to progress and prosperity.”

In an NBC News story about the name change, reporter Suzanne Gamboa wrote that research from the organization concluded that “the NCLR name was outdated and did not resonate in the community.”

“Also the research showed it was turning some off, particularly young and more diverse people,” Gamboa wrote.

Over the past few years, however, the organization was criticized by mostly conservative groups for having “La Raza” as part of its name and saying that it has led to division between Latino and white communities. As the Associated Press noted in its story about the name change, “Literally translated, “raza” means “race,” but that is not the definition of the word. The term for “the people” was coined to describe the various races Mexican people come from. Chicano civil rights activists popularized it in the 1960s and 1970s and it’s faced backlash today.”

Reaction online about the name from the Latino USA community has been mostly negative. Here is a sample of online comments:

José Camacho: “No me gusta ?? it’s simply a tactic to engage with more white/pc ‘allies’ who would prefer not to be associated with the strong connotation of La Raza! Weak, weak, weak!”

Adrian Chavez: “They can change the name, but it won’t change the fact that the conditions still exist that caused them to include the word ‘Raza’ in the first place ?”

Ruben Romero Burrola: “I’m in Arizona, I didn’t even know the organization was still relevant. I guess “La Raza” is too harsh for their white corporate donors anyway??”

Yolanda Estrada-Muñoz: “I have always respected the NCLR because it had faced adversity head on. THIS IS A COP OUT.”

Luis Angel Viniegra: “Good luck… Good-bye… RIP NCLR.”

Alfonso Martinez: “Great idea Janet Murguía! The update is timely and exciting.”

What do you think about the name change? Add your comments below or tweet @LatinoUSA.

2 thoughts on “The National Council of La Raza Is Now UnidosUS

  1. the new name change is a good idea, the history of accomplishments-and what it will do at-present-and future” is what matters. Today’s challenges for the advancement of the Latino is foremost( UnidosUS” ) does not have enough public exposure, You cannot reach those that need help while you hide in your offices what you can do to create cells in as many cities as possible volunteers would be proud to help. Hispanics-Latinos” are-a formidable force all we need is a trigger to educate-train to compete in this new industrial revolution your suits-ties and smart dress will not accomplish your goal put your face out front we the people will do the rest.

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