The history of M.E.Ch.A.

During the end of the 1960s and early 1970s an era known as the Chicano Movement began. During this time, the Raza youth brought their political activity to a new level. A growing awareness erupted throughout California, the Southwest and into the rest of the country. In Los Angeles, students walked out of their high schools and demanded Chicano Studies, more Raza teachers, and an end to the push out rates in the schools. La Raza Unida Party provided an alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties. The Brown Berets, the United Farm Workers Union and Cesar Chavez, the Chicano Moratorium marches protesting the Vietnam War, the journalistic writing of Ruben Salazar, the artistic works of the Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF), and mucho mas contributed to the growing consciousness of a people.

In April of 1969, the Chicano Coordinating Committee on Higher Education organized a conference at UC, Santa Barbara. Twenty-nine campuses were invited to send two delegates and the remaining spaces were reserved for faculty, administration, and staff. There were plan for only 100 people, but over 100 attended, with a high number of students than expected.

Out of this conference in Santa Barbara, discussions of a master plan for curriculum needs and a focus on services needed on the campuses began. From this meeting of active Raza, Mexican-American Studies was changed to Chicano studies. The Chicano identity evolved further when the formation of el Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) occurred.

The CSU, Sacramento chapter of M.E.Ch.A. has existed since 1969. Over 30 years of resistance!

What does M.E.Ch.A. mean?

M.E.Ch.A. is an acronym for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan. In the decision that was made in Santa Barbara in 1969, the reason for the change to M.E.Ch.A. was to emphasize Chicanismo and the philosophies that define it: learning our history, becoming politically aware and involved, having cultural pride, helping the community, uniting our gente, and developing our youth.  M.E.Ch.A. is also a training ground for Raza youth. It provides them with an opportunity to organize, become educated, educate others, and to believe in the potential of the Chicano community. It is a political consciousness that rejects assimilation and embraces a difference. It is a rejection fo a history that ignored Raza and an open mind for the truth. CSUS M.E.Ch.A. is an organization that seeks to bring the needs of all Raza to the attention of the University.

What is Chicanismo?

Chicanismo involves a personal decision to reject assimilation and work towards the preservation of our cultural heritage. Therefore, the term Chicano is ground in a philosophy, not a nationality. Chicano is a state of mind, not a birthright. Recognizing that all people are potential Chicanas and Chicanos, we encourage those interested in developing a total commitment to our movement for self-determination for the people of Aztlan to join MEChA.

M.E.Ch.A.'s purpose at CSUS

  • To increase unity among Raza at CSUS and la comunidad.

  • To promote education among Chicanos for the betterment of our gente.

  • To promote and retain our culture through special cultural events sponsored by M.E.Ch.A.

  • To educate and encourage participation of Raza students in political policies, issues, and processes that concern them.

  • To form a working relationship between la comunidad and M.E.Ch.A. de CSUS

  • To recruit Raza students to CSUS.

  • To retain Raza students at CSUS.

  • To provide a sense of familia amongst Mechistas at CSUS.

    **As written in the CSUS M.E.Ch.A. bylaws, Article 1, Section 2

Who can join M.E.Ch.A.?

Students who are enrolled at CSU, Sacramento and are interested in serving the Raza community are welcome to our organization.


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