by Betty Mendoza
Chicano awareness, political awareness and community outreach are just some goals on the agenda of a group of students attempting to form a Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlàn organization on the La Verne campus.
Since September MEChA, translated in English as The Chicano Student Movement of Aztlàn, has been working toward becoming an official club with about a dozen members.
“It’s a matter of paperwork,” said Carolina Guillèn, a sophomore anthropology major.
Students have the required number of members and have already written their constitution.
If MEChA is approved, they will be able to conduct official meetings with a definite time and location.
“There is a need for another Latino club on campus,” said senior psychology major Ignacio Urena. “We want a stronger identity and unity.”
MEChA was founded in the 1960s when minorities were fighting for a better future and civil rights.
The first group was formed at UC Santa Barbara in 1969. Since then, many college campuses have organized their own MEChA chapters.
In 1982 ULV formed its first MEChA club, but it was later replaced with the Latino Student Forum because many students thought they had to be of Mexican descent to be a member.
“Chicano doesn’t necessarily mean you’re Latino or Spanish,” Urena said. “It’s a philosophy.”
MEChA’s mission is to promote higher education, culture, history, self-determination and political involvement.
The club opposes racism, homophobia, sexism and oppression of any kind according to MEChA members.
“It’s been difficult,” said freshman journalism major Laura Bucio. “Many people have stereotypes and think we’re radical activists, but we’re not. We just want to help the community.”
Associate professor of sociology and MEChA advisor Hector Delgado and Gregorio Daniel, a student in the graduate program in education at ULV, have been assisting the students in forming the organization.