Mechista of the Week: Cathy Calderón

Cathy Calderón, Class of 2017

Cathy Calderón, Class of 2017

Cathy Calderón, Class of 2017

Residential College: Davenport

Hometown: San Fernando, California

High School: Granada Hills Charter High School

Why did you join MEChA? My curiosity and admiration for MEChA has grown over the last decade due to my involvement with an Aztec dance group called Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, which has worked on various community events with MEChA. I had never joined MEChA because there was never an established organization at any of my schools and I always wondered what it would be like to be a Mechista. I knew from the moment that I got accepted to Yale that I would join MEChA for these reasons and to further my knowledge of political and cultural issues affecting the Latino community in order to work towards social justice and equality for all.

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA?  I am a volunteer interpreter at the free HAVEN clinic, which provides health care for people without health insurance. I am planning on becoming a volunteer at the New Haven Free Public Library to help younger students improve their literacy. I will always be a member of Cuauhtemoc because it is the root of my passion for social justice and I never stop learning from my fellow dancers.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA?  So far, I really enjoyed the Café con Karaoke event that the scholarship committee put on because we had great food and company, oh, and we made a soul train happen. Although I wish this issue did not exist, I enjoy protesting for workers’ fair wages in front of Gourmet Heaven because protesting makes me feel alive (come out and support, Fridays at 5:30 pm!). I am grateful to be part of such a passionate and active group and have made some of my closest friends through MEChA de Yale.

Mechista of the Week: Isiah Cruz

Isiah Cruz, Class of 2017

Isiah Cruz, Class of 2017

Isiah Cruz, Class of 2017

Residential College: Ezra Stiles College
Hometown: Union City, New Jersey
High School: Saint Peter's Prep (Jersey City, NJ)
Why did you join MEChA? I joined MEChA because I wanted to contribute to the Yale Latino community in every way possible and MEChA is a great means of doing so. The group is one of the oldest Latino organization at Yale and I love the overall mission to engage in social justice. Our fellow hermanas and hermanos could use an extra hand.
What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA? I am working both as a Freshman Liaison at La Casa Cultural Center and as an Oral/Written Translator at Yale Law School. As for extra-curriculars, I am on Sabrosura (Latin Dance Team), Ivy Council, Quest Scholars Network, Freshman Class Council and in the process of establishing a non-profit organization.
What is your favorite experience with MEChA? My favorite experience with MEChA was my first meeting with the group. The energy was great and we got to the heart of why I went to the meeting in the first place: how we as a group can help our surrounding Latino people. We spoke about the wage theft issue at Gourmet Heaven and other challenges that we face as Latinos. The meeting truly inspired me to fight for others to have equal opportunity and hope.

Mechista of the Week: Ava Tomasula y Garcia

Ava Tomasula y Garcia, Class of 2017

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.