Facts and Questions
What does MEChA mean?
MEChA is a acronym for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.* (Chicano
Student Movement of Aztlan)
How was MEChA formed?
Prior to 1969, there were various Mexican Student organizations such as
the Mexican American Student Conference (MASC), United Mexican American
Students (UMAS), and Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO), throughout
the Southwest (Aztlan). In March 1969, students, teachers, and community
activists met at the University of California at Santa Barbara and drafted
El Plan De Santa Barbara, a Chicano Plan for Higher Education. At this
meeting, it was agreed upon that all participating student organizations
from here on shall be known as MEChA.
What is the difference between the terms Chicano and Hispanic?
The term Hispanic was promoted during the Nixon Administration
to label Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. without regard for their
cultural roots or identities. Simply put, Hispanic means a person is from
Spain or the Iberian Peninsula. However, the term Chicano originates from
the Mexica/Azteca people. Since the 1960's, the term Chicano has become
a political and cultural means of choosing our own identity and future.
Simply put, Chicano means that we are the descendants of the original
civilizations of this land (i.e. Mexica, Inca, Maya, Toltec) with our
own history, language, and culture.
Is Chicano meant exclusively for people of Mexican descent?
No, the term Chicano is inclusive to all Raza living in Aztlan. MEChAs
issues include: U.S. immigration, Central American & South American
political struggles, socio economic & political issues of Native Americans,
Is MEChA as radical as they say?
Yes. Only if you believe the right to a higher education is a radical
Is MEChA a political group?
No. Not only do we provide an opportunity to become politically aware
& active. We offer a broad experience of cultural, historical, social
programs, and activities.
7. What can MEChA do for me?
MEChA can assist you in the consciousness raising of our people and the
retention of our culture to help give our on-campus community empowerment
through awareness. On a individual level, MEChA fosters leadership skills,
self and group respect, and more friendships with Raza students. Most
important, MEChA can help us keep our education in focus and help answer
that fateful question, Why are we here?
Does MEChA only work on-campus?
No. MEChA has a direct link to community groups and we also have a nationwide
network of MEChA's at a Junior High, Senior High, Community College, and
How do you start a MEChA ?
Every M.E.Ch.A. is different depending on the location of the campus,
the demographics, and the support it receives from the campus and community.