Written by Amanda Cercado, digital editor, and Junior Duran & Jason Yee, staff reporters
A Spanish version of this story appeared in Issue 2.
MEChA, or “Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán,” is a club that focuses on discovering one’s culture and ancestry, as well as a service organization. “Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán” translates to “Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán.”
The advisor is Mr. Hector Torres, foreign language department, and the president is senior Ruby Saldivar. MEChA meets once or twice a month in room 503, and is open for anyone to join.
Mr. Torres became the advisor for MEChA to offer opportunities for students to serve their community by participating in service events, as well as to provide the tools to access their identities. For example, Mr. Torres said that in MEChA’s “ancestor find” activity, students look up where their ancestors lived and figure out what indigenous nations they belonged to.
MEChA provides ways to find students indigenous families by using websites like Ancestry.com and Familysearch.org.
MEChA also learns about their ancestors’ indigenous languages. Members of the club speak to their grandparents to learn more about their ancestors and to indicate which region they are from. This helps with learning about the indigenous tribes they are descended from as well as their cultures and languages.
Senior Jennifer Jimenez joined MEChA when she was a sophomore. She said that the club creates a safe and comfortable environment to learn about your background. She noted that MEChA highlights the importance of being knowledgeable of your culture.
Another member is senior Mariana Villanueva; she joined as a freshman because she thought it would be interesting to learn about her Chicano heritage and culture. Villanueva explained how she learned about her roots: “My parents are from Jalisco (Mexico) so I learned about the Aztec groups that lived there. MEChA really connects you to your roots.”
For anyone interested in joining MEChA, Villanueva said, “If you’re interested in learning more about your heritage, we do lots of activities that help you learn more about it.”