Support of Separatist Organizations
NCLR has never supported, and does not support, separatist organizations. Some critics have accused MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán) of being a separatist organization and denounced NCLR for being a purported “major funder” of the organization. The reality is that in 2003, NCLR provided one chapter of the organization (Georgetown University) with a $2,500 subgrant to support a conference of Latino students—mainly from the Southwest and West Coast—who were attending East Coast colleges but could not afford to travel home for Thanksgiving. These Latino student groups hold mini-conferences with workshops and speakers, bringing together students who are often the first high school graduates and college attendees in their families.
According to its mission statement, MEChA is a student organization whose primary objectives are educational—to help Latino students finish high school and go to college, and to support them while at institutions of higher education. NCLR freely acknowledges that some of the organization’s founding documents, e.g., Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, contain inappropriate rhetoric, and NCLR also acknowledges that rhetoric from some MEChA members has been extremist and inflammatory.
NCLR has publicly and repeatedly disavowed this rhetoric as we have others that we believe are inappropriate, as we did when we criticized a pro-separatist Latino website for its racist and anti-Semitic views. We will continue, however, to support programs and activities that help more Hispanics enter and finish college.
Throughout its history NCLR has supported numerous initiatives to oppose all forms of unlawful discrimination; for example:
- A series of campaigns in conjunction with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund calling on all Americans to be tolerant of diversity
- Joint initiatives with the National Urban League, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics to identify and denounce hate crimes and other acts of intolerance
- Educational seminars and roundtables to expose and explore the causes of discrimination against Afro-Latinos and Indigenous Latinos, including instances of discrimination perpetrated by fellow Hispanics
- Public service campaigns with the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and other partners to prevent housing discrimination against minorities, families with children, and individuals with disabilities