Foundations of M.E.Ch.A.
The Chicana/o Movement, of the late 1960’s helped spark cultural and historical pride in our people. Chicanxs demanded to be treated as equals denouncing assimilation and acculturation. Chicanxs expressed their pride through poetry, literature, art and theatre.
In March of 1969 the Crusade for justice organized the first National Chicano Youth Conference in Denver, Colorado. At this conference the Plan de Aztlan was drafted; giving way to the Chicano movement. This document asserts that Chicanxas must work to better the conditions of their communities.
Following the National Chicano Youth Conference, In April of 1969, over 100 Chicanas/os met together at the University of California Santa Barbara to formulate a plan for higher education; El Plan de Santa Barbara. With this document they were successful in the development of two important contributions to the Chicano Movement: MEChA and Chicana/o Studies.
The contributions of the Chicano/a Movement are numerous and continue to be valuable to our society today.
The Goals of MEChA
• To affirm and celebrate our diversity amongst our members. This affirmation and celebration is significant in the development of positive and strong cultural identity among Raza students.
• To involve students in discussing and acting on social-political issues relevant to our community. Political activism is significant in producing civic-minded youth in our communities.
• Developing leadership among students. Provided students the opportunity to learn group dynamics, planning, staging of organizational activities, leadership development and host of other skills transferable to other settings.
• Academic achievement and completion. We strongly believe that self determination of our community is based on an educated community. This notion of academic achievement and completion is significant in terms of leadership, economics and community.
• To build a sense of carnalismo or unity among Chicanxs and all other students on our campus and in the community.
• Prior opportunity for students to share and be connected with MEChA students of local, regional and national high schools and colleges.
• Educate ourselves and others about Chicanx culture, history, traditions and accomplishments.
• To build relationships with youth to get underprivileged students into college and onto success. Also, to serve as a bridge for students making tetras between high school youth.
The “A” in MEChA is for Aztlan:
Aztlan was the homeland of the Mexicas. Geologically it is believed to be the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. Today we see Aztlan not necessarily as a defined territory. Instead, it is more of an idea, in which Raza no matter class or specific nationality sees one another as familia. It is a means of unification. It is an understanding and realization that we share a common experience living as Raza in US society.
Our Guiding Documents
MEChA has three guiding documents: El Plan de Aztlan, El Plan de Santa Barbara, and the Philosophy of MEChA. Our guiding documents serve as the base for MEChA. They serve to guide our organization and outline our philosophy and principles.
Our Governing Documents
Each chapter is governed by its respective constitution, central constitution, regional constitution, state wide constitution, National MEChA constitution, and Philosophy of MEChA.
MEChistA - An individual who adopts the philosophies of MEChA
Chapter - The group of MEChistAs at a particular campus that work together.
Central - A collection of chapters in a particular are or state/s.
Region - A collection of chapters/centrales in a particular area or state/s (There are ten regions in MEChA: Alta Califas Norte, Alta Califas Sur Calpulli Montañas del Norte--Utah belongs to this region, Centro Aztlan, Centro Califas, Este Aztlan, Mictlampa Chiuatlampa, Midwest, Pacific Midwest, and Southeast Tejaztlan).
National - The ten different regions in MEChA compose our National MEChA.
MEChA: Bottom Line
MEChA is a training ground for leadership. Through participating and coordinating MEChA events, one can gain invaluable leadership skills. MEChistAs also have the privilege of helping fellow students and their community in addition to finding a sense of identity and self-empowerment. It is a learning and fulfilling experience that helps develop a political consciousness and provides a sense of familia.
Our gente still faces the same problems of the 1970’s, Chicanx junior high, high school and college push out rates have risen since 1969, forcing many Chicanxs to life in poverty. These factors along with growing right wing trends in the nation are combining to work greater hardship on Chicanxs. New repressive and racist immigration laws are continuously directed at our gente. Thus, MEChA’s spirit of activism is conducted within experience and expression for the betterment of our community.
Fore more information please email one of our officers, or stop by one of our meetings. Local high schools if you are interested in creating a MEChA chapter in your school please contact our advisor, Rudy Medina.