This spring, after a competitive application process, Lincoln’s Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán, also referred to as M.E.Ch.A, has earned the right to host the organization’s yearly chapters conference.
M.E.Ch.A, an organization that seeks to promote Chicano unity and empowerment through political action, has a strong presence at Lincoln with a unique connection through the language department.
M.E.Ch.A originally was formed at the university level in the 80’s and 90’s and has since developed into hundreds of high school chapters around the country. The program is primarily student run with a teacher to advise.
The conference, which will be held April 13th, will entail a breakfast of traditional Latino food, special speakers and time to and discuss with other schools’ M.E.Ch.A chapters. Three different workshops are offered and it’s a key opportunity for networking as well. These workshops can range from offering different ideas or methods of protesting to being inspiring guest speakers. Chapters from an hour to an hour and half radius will be attending.
Lincoln’s M.E.Ch.A chapter has been attending conferences for years and says they felt like it was to the point that they too now needed and wanted to host and plan one. Each year a different high school hosts the conference.
Trevor Todd, a Spanish teacher, is the adviser for the Lincoln M.E.Ch.A chapter. He is on the MECHA statewide board as well and explained that he stepped back and it was the students who won the bid for the conference.
Todd explained that the conference along with M.E.Ch.A as a whole is a great opportunity and community for students to have. The conferences focus on leadership skills and other important life tools.
“It’s a leadership generator, developing skills and putting the word out there for causes that are going on, movements that are growing,” said Todd.
Students feel a deep connection to M.E.Ch.A and hold it in a high regard.
“The first time going to the conference is something magical, it’s inspiration, you get to meet people of your same community and other important people, then you just start to get a idea of what you want to do later on in life,” said Rosa Guerrero B?, who is in charge of communications for Lincoln’s M.E.Ch.A chapter.
“You just want to be involved, and involved, and then more involved,” said Guerrero.
Maya Fiallos, president of the chapter, feels that the conferences held by M.E.Ch.A are essential for seeing and learning what one can do and what needs to be done. Fíalos also mentioned the leadership tools it develops and the other benefits it reaps.
“The main point we want to set out with our workshops is to speak up in a different way than just protesting,” said Fiallos.
Through the workshops, the chapter will have the ability to teach and stress certain topics that they feel are important for students to take away.
“I think through this we are trying to create Latino leaders and role models,” said Dorene Kristin, Lincoln senior and activities director for the chapter.
After long discussions and plenty of fun, Todd and Fiallos both pointed out with a smile that the conferences always end the same way, with a dance