The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) – a group that’s dedicated itself to fighting for Latinos since 1968 – has changed its name. And though the organization has defended its former moniker in the past when right wing groups – who literally translated “la raza” to mean “the race” and not the community/people – accused NCLR of having racist ideologies, the change comes for entirely different reasons. According to NBC Latino, the organization chose its new name, UnidosUS, to foster unity among Latino communities and to appeal to younger generations.
The name change is years in the making. “We’ve been working really hard on this process for some time,” Janet Murguía, the group’s president and CEO told NBC Latino. “It was our community that led us to the UnidosUS name.”
The group’s reasoning is that a name like UnidosUs immediately tells someone that it’s based out of the United States. So even if that person doesn’t speak English, he or she will have a better understanding of the organization. Also, members of Unidos believe the shorter name will stick with people more easily, and promote unity with other groups as well.
“I believe in unity there is strength and in strength, there is power,” Murguía added. “We see ‘unidos’ as call to action, but it also does signal a message to join us and come together and do what is best for our country.”
About three years ago, the NCLR conducted a survey to receive feedback on its name. It learned that many, especially young people and those from diverse backgrounds, didn’t respond positively to the name. With some seeing the former name as outdated and millennials making up a large portion of the Latino community, they began looking into name changes ahead of its 50th anniversary, which takes place in 2018.