The National Council of La Raza announced at their annual convention in Arizona that they will now be known as UnidosUS. NCLR, as they were formerly known, is the nation’s largest civil rights organization for Hispanic Americans. In a press release, the organization’s president, Janet Murguia, said that the new name is designed in part to make the organization more appealing to millennials and the changes going on in the community. In my opinion, civil rights groups have advanced and protected Hispanics in immeasurable ways, but in recent years, they have found it difficult to remain relevant in a rapidly changing socioeconomic environment. Civil rights groups have historically focused on entitlements and other public policy for some of the most disadvantaged people in our society – really important stuff. However, the unintended consequence of this work is that it simultaneously supported a perception of Latinos and African-Americans to mainstream America as being from communities that are almost exclusively poor and challenged. Latinos increasingly want to see themselves as part of the mainstream and are interested in issues that more broadly affect their quality of life in America now and in the future. The next generation of Hispanic “civil rights” needs to focus much more on higher education, economic prosperity, technology, media, and non-partisan political advocacy. Here’s wishing UnidosUS nothing but success in the future!
We hear frequently how Latinos are not a monolithic community. In other words, we are not all the same. We come from different countries, have a variety of political views, and even eat different foods. I get all of that, but I also think focusing constantly on our differences versus our similarities undermines our political and economic power as a community...
This might be my most provocative blog in a while. Let me first state that I am happily married to a beautiful gringa. My kids are half- White and some of my best friends throughout my life have been White, so don’t let the title of this blog throw you.
A few weeks ago, Twitter was blowing up when John Leguizamo spoke out against the recent casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro in the independent film ‘Alina of Cuba’. Leguizamo took plenty of heat for his stance and was ridiculed by some including Bill Maher.