This past weekend, MEChistas travelled to Philly for Penn’s Winter ECCSF Conference. We met incredible students from schools across the Northeast, attended engaging workshops, and heard speeches from incredible Latinos, including one by our own Yale alum, Marco Davis ’92, who spoke about the role Latino leaders will play in our nation’s future. MEChA de Yale congratulates MEChA de Penn on a job well done, and we look forward to welcoming ECCSF members at our own conference in April, on the topic Latinos & Health in US.
MEChA de Yale
by Karla Maradiaga, JE ’15
As a junior at Yale who had yet to attend any conferences, I was not sure what to expect at the last ECCSF conference at Mount Holyoke. Thoughts of speeches given by prominent professors and activists came to mind. But the Mount Holyoke conference was much more than that. The conference consisted of several workshops and events that fostered a discussion about the current issues that Chicanos and Latinos face today. One of my favorite discussions was about being a first-generation college student.
Many students offered their perspectives on struggles with the college application process, LGBT issues, socioeconomic status, the disconnect between family and academia, and a sense of obligation to keeping family in mind when formulating career goals. Although I am not a first generation student, my parents attended college and worked during the bulk of my childhood, and I am no stranger to financial difficulties and to cherishing every spare minute of time that my parents could offer. It was very uplifting to hear the perspectives of students that have struggled and overcome many of the same issues that I have faced, but that seem to be silenced in many of today’s universities, in which Latinos are horribly underrepresented. The conference also involved the appearance of Jose Gonzalez, one of the teachers in Arizona who fought against the school administration’s ban of ethnic studies in high schools.
Most importantly, though, the conference provided an opportunity to learn alongside Latinos of many different backgrounds and to begin to formulate friendships with scholars on the East Coast, some of which, I hope will last a lifetime.”
Ava Tomasula y Garcia, Class of 2017
Ava Tomasula y Garcia, Class of 2017
Residential College: Calhoun College
Hometown: Chicago/South Bend, IN
High School: Interlochen Center for the Arts (MI) and John Adams High School (IN)
Why did you join MEChA? I wanted to be part of a social justice group that did not limit itself to one area. MEChA knows that immigration is connected to education, to poverty, to voting rights, etc. It is hard to find such all-encompassing student groups!
What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA? At Yale, I am also part of FAIR College Counseling, Oye spoken word, and hope to get involved with the Women’s Center. I am trying to keep in contact with the groups I’m part of at home: Students for a Democratic Society, Occupy Education, and others.
What is your favorite experience with MEChA? I’ve really enjoyed the weekly boycott of Gourmet Heaven over wage theft – it’s the most visible project MEChA’s done so far this year and it’s great to see the direct effect it is having. Also, I like freaking people out and there’s plenty of opportunities for that on a picket line.
Photo by Román Castellanos (ES ’15)
On April 9, MEChA de Yale marched in solidarity with the New Haven community, members of the Black Student Alliance at Yale, the Association of Native Americans at Yale and Students Unite Now. Students marched from Beinecke Plaza to the New Haven Green during the National Day of Action for fair immigration reform with a realistic path to citizenship. The march was organized by the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance.
Photo by MEChA de Georgetown
MEChA de Yale @ Georgetown
Nine Mechistas attended the East Coast Chicano/a Student Forum hosted by Georgetown University on April 5 – 7. The theme was The State of Chicano/Latino Affairs: Claiming Our Future. Students attended a wide array of workshops, including Latino/as in the Catholic Church, the history of Mexican migration to the United States and the Student/Farmworker Alliance.
Photo by Harvard-Radcliffe Raza
Twelve MEChistas attended the East Coast Chicano/a Student Forum at Harvard from Feb. 15 – 17.
The theme of the conference was Latinos in the Media. Highlights include hearing “Noticiero” co-anchor María Elena Salinas give a speech on issues currently affecting Latinos, watching Mariachi Véritas de Harvard perform and eating burritos at Felipe’s Taqueria.
Read a MEChista’s blog on volunteering at the Haven Free Clinic on the MEChA Blog!