The history of La Raza Commission Center is one that was conceived and fostered by student political activism. La Raza Commission Center was originally founded by Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A.) in 1981. M.E.Ch.A. was born out of the barrios in 1969, at the height of U.S. social unrest as communities of color demanded social and economic justice. M.E.Ch.A. formulated its direction from the barrios, committed to grass roots organizing and taking actions on behalf of its communities. M.E.Ch.A. Commission changed its name to La Raza Commission Center in 1997 to ensure inclusion amongst all Latin@s and breakdown nationality division as we see social and economic issues and concerns in Latin@ communities related and interconnected.
Although the name of the Commission has changed to La Raza to make all Chican@s Latin@s feel included and to develop a comprehensive understanding of Latin America, its political philosophies still strive to maintain a progressive effort to improve the conditions of our communities. La Raza Commission Center believes all people should have unrestricted access to higher education, all people have the right to work to ensure descent pay with dignity, and all peoples have the right to self-determination. La Raza Commission believes a developed movement for self-determination is made by an enhanced cultural identity and civic involvement, as the politics of any people cannot be separated from their culture. This is why it is important for all commission activities be planned with this in mind.
The overarching goals of La Raza Commission are to promote the following: Cultural empowerment, educate others about Chicana/o Latina/o culture and histories, educate and provide avenues of discussion about diverse intersecting identities within the Chicana/o Latina/o community, promote Higher education to young Chicana/os Latina/os, recognize and honor Chicana/o Latina/o elders, strive for socio-economic justice; addressing political/social issues within the Chicana/o Latina/o community, recognize and combat gender inequalities.