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The National Council of La Raza (“La Raza”) is a left-of-center Hispanic group that opposes many American immigration laws. La Raza describes itself as a civic-minded Hispanic advocacy group. Critics complain La Raza supports amnesty for illegal immigrants. La Raza believes that Hispanics in America are victims of terrible racism. La Raza opposes English-only laws. Critics contend that La Raza (literally translated “the race”) is part of a larger movement that seeks to extinguish United States borders and control much of the American west as the rightful owners of that land.
History and Mission
According to La Raza’s website, it is “the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States” and it “serves all Hispanic subgroups in all regions of the country.” La Raza works “to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans,” who are, in its estimation, an oppressed minority.
La Raza is an extension of the 1960s radical Chicano Movement. It “was inspired in part by Mexican intellectual Jose Vasconcelos and his notion of ‘la raza cosmica,’ a superior cosmic race.” In the 1960s, the Ford Foundation hired Herman Gallegos, Julian Samora, and Ernesto Galarza to head a national civil rights organization to advocate for Mexican-Americans. As a result of these efforts, the Southwest Council of La Raza (SWCLR) was founded in 1968. By 1973, SWCLR had become a national organization, now the National Council of La Raza. Today, La Raza vigorously advocates for racial preferences (affirmative action), bilingual education, mass immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens.
La Raza’s Institute for Hispanic Health works to reduce the incidence, burden, and impact of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS in the Hispanic community. La Raza’s Homeownership Network operates in 20 states and provides counseling on home buying and management. La Raza also has early childhood and secondary education programs which stress literacy, college preparation, and parental involvement. The organization’s education programs also address the needs of Latino and English language students through a network of community-based charter schools. In addition, La Raza works to increase employment opportunities for Latino youth through its Escalera program. Youth leadership is also stressed in the Líderes initiative that links youth development organizations around the country into one national network. Through these programs, La Raza provides technical assistance to its network of community-based organizations around the country working on the same issues.
La Raza’s policy team also works on a range of similar issues, including civic engagement, criminal and juvenile justice, wealth building, housing, education, and health. However, La Raza is most well known for its immigration advocacy. The organization advocates on behalf of Hispanics in the United States by conducting research and informing policy-makers about how proposed or existing legislation affects the Latino community.
La Raza co-sponsored the 2008 “Take Back America” conference. The Campaign for America’s Future and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) also sponsored the event along the AFL-CIO and other liberal groups. The primary mission of the conference was to mobilize voters to liberal causes. Calling it “the most expensive mobilization in history,” the liberal groups hoped to raise $350 million.
LA Raza also has ties to Democratic politicians. In January 2012, President Barack Obama selected former La Raza senior vice president, Cecilia Muñoz, to serve as head of his Domestic Policy Council.
In 1994, La Raza awarded Jose Angel Gutierrez its “Chicano Hero Award.” Gutierrez is a political science professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, who memorably stated in 1969, “[w]e have got to eliminate the gringo, and what I mean by that is if the worst comes to the worst, we have got to kill him.” In 2004, La Raza’s Chicano hero proclaimed, “[w]e are the future of America. Unlike any prior generation, we now have the critical mass. We’re going to Latinize this country.”
La Raza has espoused that much of the United States belongs to the Chicano people and seeks to return that land to them. In 2006, then-Congressman (now deceased) Charlie Norwood (R-GA) explained that:
In 2005, La Raza received $15.2 million dollars in federal grants, of which about $8 million was in U.S. Department of Education grants for charter schools. According to Michelle Malkin, “undisclosed amounts went to get-out-the-vote efforts supporting La Raza political positions.”
La Raza also has received funding from the American Express Foundation, the Allstate Foundation, the AT&T Foundation, the Bank of America Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Verizon Foundation.
Leadership (as of September 2011)
Janet Murguia, Chief Executive Officer (2008 Salary: $325,726)
Charles Kamasaki, Executive Vice President
Lautaro Diaz, Vice President, Housing and Community Development
Delia Pompa, Senior Vice President, Programs (2008 Salary: $152,119)
Sonia M. Perez, Senior Vice President, Affiliate Member Services (2008 Salary: $143,072)
Delia de la Vara, Vice President, Strategic Communications Group
Eric Rodriguez, Deputy Vice President, Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation
Dr. Jose A. Velazquez, Deputy Vice President, Affiliate Member Services
Raul Yzaguirre Building
1126 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 785-1670
Fax: (202) 776-1792
Email: [email protected]
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