This afternoon, I had the distinct pleasure to speak before Oregon’s collegiate MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan) Chapters at Portland State University (PSU) on the History of National MEChA (post-97), founding of the region, and thoughts on improvements. From my notes today: -1997, MEXA de Michigan State University (MSU) hosts Nationals. Conference and workshops disrupted. National Constitution adopted, National MEChA Coordinating Council (NMCC) created to unify national communication. National MEChA Chapters took over the National conference agenda, and removing MSU from the discussion and vote. I was a junior at Mount Vernon High School. -1998, MEChA de University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) hosts Nationals. Burly Chicano tells me and several students standing in lunch line, “this looks like prison.” Oregon MEChA Chapters provide testimony during the national resolution, ultimately leading to their removal from the discussions and as a whole lose voting rights at the regional (Pacific Northwest) and national level. I was at Skagit Valley Community College (SVC). -1999, MEChA de Phoenix Community College hosts Nationals. MEChA de SVC sponsors ALL Oregon MEChA Chapters to attend Nationals. -2001, MEChA de University of Washington hosts Pacific Northwest Regionals. I propose to Washington’s collegiate MEChA Chapters on Oregon’s request to become a region, requesting support and their blessing. Washington leaders grant support. -2001, MEChA de San Diego State University (SDSU) hosts Nationals. Washington and Oregon Chapters attend. During regional caucus meeting, Oregon departs to meet and discuss final details on the regional constitution before resolution circle. National Resolution Circle, Washington MEChA leaders open the discussion and introduce the resolution. Discussion and post-vote, Oregon becomes the 10th region, known as Mictlampa Cihuatlampa Region (despite over a dozen chapters voting against Oregon becoming its own region). We publish the Mictlampa Cihuatlampa Handbook in collaboration with Oregon MEChA Statewide. -2002, MEChA de University of Texas at Houston hosts Nationals. Oregon chapters attend, MEChA de Oregon State University (OSU) retracts bid to host Nationals. -2003, MEChA de University of California at Berkeley hosts Nationals. Oregon chapters attend, OSU Chapter does a last-minute bid to host Nationals (only chapter), and wins consensus. -2004, MEChA de OSU hosts Nationals. First time nationals is hosted in the northwest.
Citing @sacca, I propose the regional leadership focus on: doushebags, porn, and lube.
- Doushebags: leaders should be aware that there will always be doushebags looking to hijack the conversation, and the process away from what is in the best interest of the Chicano/Latino campus-community. Know who they are, be vigilant, and focus attention on the non-doushebags.
- Porn: porn as in what turns you on, and why are you in MEChA? We must focus on what excites each and everyone of us to invest our time here vs elsewhere. What excites our chapters, and what do we have to show for ourselves and accountability to the greater campus-community that produces results, i.e. OSU’s Xicanito tour, PSU’s Educate ya!, and UofOs Ganas Program as prime examples of exposing Oregon’s Chicano/Latino community to the possibilities of higher education, closing the achievement gap, etc.
- Lube: we must ensure we create the most seamless, efficient and innovative systems and pipelines from high school to higher education. Eliminate the sand, get rid of the obstacles, excuses, etc, and get to work.
10 Thoughts on Improvement:
- Stop the overlap. Institute inter-state regional conferences with Washington (rotate).
- Elect a college liaison to serve on the Oregon MEChA Statewide Board of Directors.
- Develop the pipeline from high school to college. Close the achievement gap.
- Staff a booth with MEChA recruiters at every MEChA Leadership Institute (Officers) and Statewide Conference (all).
- Keep a consistent message. Don’t confuse people.
- Get the job done, now. College has a very short life span.
- Don’t worry about what Oregon MEChA Statewide is doing. They’re doing it.
- When in doubt ask questions from others who’ve been there.
- Learn everything today and graduate. Tomorrow, get out there and execute.
- Lead from the front.