National Council of La Raza

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National Council of La Raza
Logo nclr.gif
Legal status non-profit organization
Ownership type Private, N/A
Founded 1968, by Herman Gallegos,Dr. Julian Samora,Dr. Ernesto Galarza
Headquarters 1111 19th Street NW Suite 1000
Washington , District of Columbia
United States
Industry Political Advocacy Groups

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) was the culmination of consultations by Herman Gallegos, Dr. Julian Samora, and Dr. Ernesto Galarza with local as wel as national Mexican-American leaders on the plight of Mexican Americans, funded by the Ford Foundation. Within a decade these men founded the Southwest Council of La Raza in 1968. At present, the National Council of La Raza is "The largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States."[1] The NCLR lobbies the government for racial preferences, [[bilingual education, stricter hate crimes laws, mass immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens by conducting its own applied research and policy analysis. Headquartered in Washington D.C. with 8 regional offices around the country NCLR works with over 300 community based organizations in order to provide services to "approximately 4 million Hispanic-Americans."[2] The current president is Janet Murguía.


The Civil Rights Movement

In the wake of the Civil Rights movement, Mexican-Americans and Hispanic-Americans noticed that they were being forgotten. Hispanic-Americans lacked the orginazational structure of African Americans in the form of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, CORE, SNCC, and the NUL. As a result of this lack of centralization, Hispanic-Americans were largely left out of new Civil Rights legislation. Following these revelations, the National Organization for Mexican American Students (NOMAS) lobbied the Ford Foundation to fund a study on the hardships put upon the Hispanic-American population. The Ford Foundation funded a major study on the Hispanic-American population at the University of California ay Los Angeles. Unhappy with the findings of the study the Ford Foundation commissioned a second study to be performed by three highly-respected Mexican Americans, Herman Gallegos, Dr. Julian Samora, and Dr. Ernesto Galarza. These men would travel throughout the Southwest and consult with prominent Hispanic-American activists and civil rights leaders in order to seek answers to the increasing questions regarding the civil civil rights of Hispanic-Americans.

Southwest Council of La Raza

The findings from the second Ford Foundation study on the hardships of the Hispanic-Americans further underscored the need for greater organization on both the grassroots as well as the national scale. The conductors of the study went on to form the Southwest Council of La Raza with funding from the Ford Foundation, the United Autoworkers Union, and the Council of Churches. Within a year the organization was given non profit status receiving its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. In 1973 the Southwest Council of La Raza decided to change its name to the National Council of La Raza and move its headquarters to Washington D.C. In the formative years of the organization it decided upon a non-partisan political viewpoint, costing the organization its political funding after refusing to endorse the Nixon administration[3], as well as committing to equal representation on the Board of Directors of men and women.

Organizational structure

The National Council of La Raza is prominent in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico through its eight Regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Through these regional offices the NCLR connects the affiliates in said regions by conducting quarterly affiliate meetings, sending out a newsletter, and creating a social network for the affiliates to better connect with each other. The national office works to lobby the government in representation of all affiliates as well as analyze complex national legislation and give advice and a summary to affiliates on the importance of the legislation as well as how the affiliates will be affected by said legislation.


The NCLR started a program called The Escalera Program which promotes economic mobility in Hispanic-American youth by supporting greater educational achievements and career planning by the youth. In 2008 the state of New Mexico partnered with NCLR to implement a statewide Escalera Program.

Public perception and controversies

Since the 1980s NCLR has come under fire from right-wing organizations for what they call "lobbying for illegal aliens." Lou Dobbs has often criticized them.


  1. "National Council of La Raza," Retrieved September 19, 2009 from [1]
  2. "National Council of La Raza:NCLR Affiliate Network," Retrieved September 19, 2009 from [2]
  3. "Formation of SWCLR," Retrieved September 19, 2009 from [3]