NCLR Mourns a Latino Hero

NCLR was saddened to learn of the passing of Louis Nuñez, a man who, in a long and distinguished career, served his community as an advocate, institution builder, and government official.

The son of a cook and garment worker, his record of accomplishment is almost too long to list. Among the most noteworthy, Nuñez:

  • Served his country in the army during the Korean War
  • Joined and later headed Aspira, the enormously important Latino-focused education, leadership development, and job training organization
  • Was staff director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights under Presidents Nixon and Carter, at the height of that crucial institution’s power and prestige
  • Led the National Puerto Rican Coalition, a vital national institution, for more than a dozen of its most formative years
  • Served his country, state, and community in many other capacities, including on the advisory and oversight boards for New York City’s Board of Higher Education, the City University of New York, the Attica Correctional Facility, and many others

But perhaps above all, Louis Nuñez was a seminal force in shaping the Latino civil rights movement. While he was a fierce advocate for the Puerto Rican community throughout his four decades in public service, he also sympathized with the plight of Dominican, Mexican, and Central American immigrants. Together with NCLR’s former President and CEO Raul Yzaguirre, former Mayor and Cabinet Secretary Henry Cisneros, and others, in 1988 he helped form the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), the most important coalition of national Latino organizations.

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Nuñez worked effectively across ethnic and party lines, with business and labor, in government and the nonprofit sector; his energy, vision, and commitment will be missed in each of these areas. NCLR extends its condolences to his wife Cecilia, his daughter Victoria, his entire family, and his friends and colleagues at our sister organizations Aspira and the National Puerto Rican Coalition. May he rest in peace.

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