By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
The NCLR staff peacefully gathers to show our support of DACA/DAPA at the Supreme Court of the United States this past April.
“People have a right to be angry. We’re angry too. But violence is never the answer.” That is my message to the protesters who engaged in violent acts at a Donald Trump rally in San Jose last week. Due to that troubling incident and Trump’s despicable attack on U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel
, a lot of misinformation about NCLR—and the Latino community in general—is being pushed out by people who know nothing about my organization. I would like to clear up a few things.
First, NCLR does not condone and has never called for violence in our 50-year history as an American institution. We do believe in the right to engage in civil and nonviolent protest. We, ourselves, at NCLR have marched; we have fasted; we have picketed; and we have boycotted, but always in a dignified manner that is well in line with American values.
Donald Trump’s attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel is despicable. Saying that someone has an “inherent conflict of interest” because of their heritage is pretty much a textbook example of racism. It seems like any semblance of a fig leaf that Trump’s rhetoric is about immigration and his wall rather than animus toward an entire community of 55 million has been blown away.
For the record, Judge Gonzalo Curiel was a member of La Raza Lawyers Association, a respected network of local bar associations of Latino lawyers and judges in California. We are the National Council of La Raza, a different group and the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
There are in fact hundreds if not thousands of organizations, media outlets, and associations that use “La Raza.” There is nothing nefarious about the use of this term. It simply refers to the Hispanic people and it is a nod to our common heritage. But apparently that heritage is the reason Donald Trump believes he cannot get a fair shake from Judge Curiel. It brings back awful memories of more than a few people saying that Thurgood Marshall should not have been the first African-American Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court because of his long and storied involvement in the civil rights movement.