MEChA: Cultural Appreciation and Pride

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Erika Martinez, Staff Writer

Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan) is an ongoing club not only here at Helix, but at a multitude of high schools and colleges nationwide.

Our club seems to provide a feeling of unity and family between many different cultures while focusing on Latin roots. Students also receive community service hours when they sign in. Seniors receive a sash at graduation representing their membership in the club.

Throughout a student’s time in the meetings, which occur every Wednesday in room 410, they learn and experience many different things about what the roots and origins of their culture are as well as how to appreciate it, according to Brenda Meza-Jackson, the advisor and Spanish teacher at Helix. During the 2016-2017 school year they helped our own local communities by participating in a Chicano Park clean up.

The classroom is filled including students standing in the surrounding edges. Some of the activities which take place include Lotería, a Latin form of BINGO, discussions as to how to improve the community and campus and benefit the Latino population, and of course, everybody’s favorite part, potlucks. These potlucks usually have foods of Latin flavor that are brought in by the  members.

Elisa Vasquez, a sophomore who joined MEChA during her freshman year, she says “The environment is hectic yet comfortable. Every week when I walk into the room I’m eager to find out what’s taking place and what we have planned.”

MEChA not only is filled with fun activities, games, and food, but it provides a safe place and teaches important life qualities and skills. Many members say they have learned a sense of responsibility and characteristics they feel they can carry with them throughout life.

“In the short time I have been in MEChA, I have learned what it means to be strong-willed, as well as how to keep control of situations and be involved with my culture,” states Penelope Amado, a sophomore who recently joined MEChA after being encouraged by friends who were already involved with it.

For others, it has given them a way to feel involved with the school while connecting to themselves and those around them. MEChA accepts people of all cultures and origins and is always open for new members.