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Native American Lakota star What is MEChA?Native American Lakota star

© Please respect this copyrighted material. It is not to be duplicated for any purpose without explicit written permission from the copyright holder.                                                *Page Added on: 03/08/08
     The signing of El Plan de Santa Barbara marked the beginning of a consolidated student movement. In 1969, Chicano students from throughout California, Texas, Arizona, and other states, including a delegation from the University of Oregon, met in Santa Barbara to unify the Chicano Student Movement. It was at this conference that the concept of MEChA was adopted. Soon there after, hundreds of Chicano organizations throughout the nations, in colleges and high schools, also claimed MEChA as their own. Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan has become more than a name; it is a statement of who we are.

     Movimiento was chosen in recognition that we are much more than an organization, coalition, or partnership. We are a movement that strives for self-determination of our Raza by raising political, social, and cultural awareness. We aim to strengthen and liberate out people by working in solidarity to reinforce our cultural values and traditions, and redefine politics to meet our people’s needs. Together, as part of larger movement of people - farm workers, laborers, activists, scholars, politicians, professionals, and community members - we must move forward and fight for the rights and respect that nuestra Raza deserves.

     Estudiantil was chosen because our main struggles are for educational rights. We realize that access to education at all levels, especially an education that addresses our needs as Chicanos, is a crucial step in the advancement and self-empowerment of our people. Therefore, as students, we must initiate the appropriate action to receive the education necessary to determine our own destiny.

     Chicano is our identity; it defines who we are as people. It rejects the notion that we are an insignificant minority group that should assimilate into the Anglo-American melting pot of materialism, greed, and intolerance upon us. It is a symbol of Resistance as well as a symbol of Unity amongst Mexicanos, Salvadorenos, Chilenos, Puerto Ricennos, Cubanos, and all other Raza. Chicano has come to represent the strugles and fight of all Latino peoples. It is a demand for self identity and respect, and at the same time, an assertion of the pride we have for our unique history and culture that has sprung from both our European and indegenous ancestors. It is the clearest expression of national and mental consciousness, as well as the loudest demand for self-determination, that we can express.

     Aztlan was the legendary homeland of the Aztecas – the Mexica and other Chichimec tribes – before they migrated southward and settled in Anahuac (the vally of Mexico). During the height of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement – El Movimiento – Chicano activists adopted Aztlan as a unifying, nationalistic symbol that embodied the experiences of the Chicano people. It became synonymous with the vast territories of the Southwest, brutally stolen from a Mexican people marginalized and betrayed by the hostile custodians of the Manifest Destiny. It also initiated the rebirth of our consciousness as indigenous people, whose history and heritage have overcome the forces of European colonialism in order to inspire us today. Aztlan, then, symbolizes the return to our ancestral roots of origin; it affirms our true identity and defines our destiny as Chicano people.

Info obtained from http://www.uoregon.edu/~mecha/aboutMecha.swf

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