MEChA Facts and Questions:

1.   What does MEChA mean?
        MEChA is a acronym for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.* (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan)

2.   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.

3.   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.

4.   Is “Chicano” meant exclusively for people of Mexican descent?
        No, the term Chicano is inclusive to all Raza living in Aztlan.  MEChA’s issues include: U.S. immigration, Central American & South American political struggles, socio economic & political issues of Native Americans, etc.

5.   Is MEChA as radical as they say?
        Yes.  Only if you believe the right to a higher education is a radical belief.

6.   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?”

8.   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 University level.

9.  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.  Here's a link with a basic set-up HOW TO START A M.E.Ch.A.  If you need help building one, contact your local M.E.Ch.A.

*Aztlan: The homeland of the Aztecs, now the Southwestern United States.