UnidosUS Hails President Biden’s Announcement Awarding Its Former President and CEO Raul Yzaguirre the Presidential Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON, DC— Earlier today, President Joe Biden announced that Raul Yzaguirre, former President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS), will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement:

“Today we are so proud, honored, and moved that our President Emeritus Raul Yzaguirre will receive our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his decades of distinguished and tireless service to his country and to his community. We congratulate Raul for this well-deserved tribute and applaud President Biden for recognizing one of the most respected and admired figures in the civil rights movement and in the Latino community. Raul is a pioneer and trailblazer who has dedicated his life to fighting for justice and equality, and he holds much of the responsibility for building the Hispanic civil rights movement into the force that it is today.

“Raul is a visionary who understood that we must both celebrate the unique differences within the Latino community and unite behind collective goals in order to achieve progress. He made this vision a reality during his 30 years at the helm of the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS). During his time as President and CEO, it grew from a tiny, struggling organization with a small budget and a handful of Affiliates to an American institution recognized as one of a dozen of the most impactful nonprofits in the U.S., with nearly 300 Affiliates. And in his tenure, NCLR became a key player in lifting up the Hispanic community and was responsible for countless policy changes on issues such as education, homeownership, immigration, healthcare, and workforce development that have had a profound impact on millions of people, including Latinos.

“Raul was never afraid to take on a fight, especially when it was on behalf of those without a voice or power. He always managed to walk the fine line between relentless advocacy for a cause while being open to compromise, a quality so rarely on display today.

“Raul has worked since he was a youth to give the forgotten much-needed recognition, the voiceless a voice, to right egregious wrongs, to unite a growing and diverse community, to build bridges with other communities, and most of all, to fulfill the promise of America to all who call it home. That his legacy and contributions to our nation are at long last being celebrated is monumental. Raul’s story is a story every American should know.”