PHOENIX (CBSLA.com/AP) — The nation’s largest Latino civil-rights group is changing its name to make it less polarizing and more inclusive.
National Council of La Raza, or NCLR, announced Monday that it will be known as UnidosUS.
President Janet Murguia said the name change was three years in the making and was in response to members of the organization who felt the term “raza” was outdated and didn’t resonate with them.
Popularized by Chicano civil rights activists in the 1960s and 1970s, the term means “the people” – though it has also been interpreted more controversially as “the race” – and was coined to describe the various races Mexican people come from.
Murguia pronounces the “US” in UnidosUS like the abbreviation for United States but says it’s purposely missing the punctuation so that it can be interpreted as either “us” or “U.S.”
Apolonio Morales, political director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told USA Today the current political climate has helped to strengthen the group’s cause.
“I can’t point to an easier time to organize in recent history,” Morales was quoted as saying.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)