facebook-24x24

rally supporting daca rsStudents rally in support of DACA-protected students during an event organized by the reinvigorated student club Movimento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, more commonly known as MEChA.Silver City, NM – To address changes to Federal laws affecting Latino immigrants, one Western New Mexico University student organization has been recently reinvigorated and is sponsoring and hosting campus events that bring awareness to Latino issues and culture.

Movimento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, more commonly known as MEChA, aims to support and advocate for Hispanic students through twice-a-week meetings and occasional advocacy events. Engaging students with the Chicano culture and building awareness about the political issues that affect Hispanic students is one of MEChA's goals, said sponsor Bryant Chaffino, the Music Instructor in the Department of Expressive Arts who heads the university's award-winning Mariachi Plata group and stepped in as MEChA's faculty advisor this semester.

Other organization goals include ensuring there is a strong presence of the Hispanic culture on campus, advocating for the inclusion of more Hispanic history into WNMU curricula, and giving students a sense of belonging. MEChA also guides students through registering to vote or getting proper immigration documentation and helps them understand politics and government.

One of WNMU's oldest student organizations, MEChA had been dormant for a few years until Chaffino, and colleagues Dr. Magdaleno Manzanares, Dr. Felipe Ortego, and Dr. Miguel Narvaez revived it.

Membership grew from 10 to 21 students this semester, partially because Chaffino began requiring Mariachi Plata members to participate. "They need to know their culture, mariachi's history, and the role they play in continuing the legacy," he said.

While many of the club's members, whether Mexican-Americans or Mexican immigrants, are proud of and study their heritage, others need more schooling. "If it's not on social media they don't care," Chaffino said.

Preventing apathy is key to student success in general, Chaffino says. "A lot of millennials — and I fall into that category myself — feel entitled and think they don't have to work as hard as everybody else does. That's one bad habit I'd try to break. This group has proven to me that not all millennials are feeling like they're entitled. They're willing to work. They know what's going on. They keep up with current events. They're all interested and ready to represent," Chaffino said.

So far this semester, MEChA has organized one rally defending DACA students and held fundraising events. "They've already doubled their funds from last year," Chaffino says.

At MEChA's Monday and Wednesday meetings, the students circle up and discuss Chicano activism and current events.

"I didn't know much about DACA, but I found out that a lot of my family is under DACA," said MEChA Secretary, Darlene Chavez, who is a singer and violin player in Mariachi Plata as well as a Senator in the Associated Students of WNMU and an English tutor for WNMU-Deming. "We're more enlightened on the whole issue and topic. It's nice to learn the history of our culture so we can pass it on. It's not about being one paragraph; it's about having our own book."

MEChA President Eliana Luna is a violinist in Mariachi Plata. The senior was one of the original MEChA members and has been active with the club since it started back up again three years ago. "As a social work major, I was able to really get more of an insight and understanding of speaking for the people, advocating for the people. It was a way to practice what I'd learned in class. Education is one of those weapons that never dulls," she said.

MEChA historian Angel Almanza acts as Mariachi Plata's lead trumpet player, is a member of the drum line for WNMU's pep band, and plays trumpet in the school's jazz ensemble. The sophomore says MEChA has educated him about a heritage he hadn't considered much before enrolling at WNMU.

"I wasn't really connected with my Hispanic roots growing up. Skin color doesn't define who I am or what I do, but getting connected with my roots and my culture was enlightening. It makes fighting for our rights meaningful," Angel said. "It teaches us how to be a family. It's connecting with each other so we can get together and open each other's minds up."

Freshman and percussionist, Sergio Luis Salinas is the MEChA Treasurer and one of the leaders in Mariachi Plata. He enjoys the educational side of MEChA. "Until this year, I didn't know DACA existed. Chaffino has educated me on that and on the past, like how Cesar Chavez fought for equality. I never realized how lucky we are. Because of their sweat and tears and blood, we get to live this happy life," he said.

A member of the club for just three weeks, Salinas helped Chaffino put together the DACA rally and performed a piece of flash mob-style spoken word poetry during a Hispanic Heritage Month luncheon on campus. "That's just the beginning. There's way more to come," Salinas said.

From Mexican candy sales to public forums, MEChA members are staying focused on creating a greater dialogue and presence on campus. The club's next big event is a Chicano Street Fest that will take place in Old James Stadium on Thursday, October 12. The outdoor event will include live music, family games, and food vendors.

To keep up with what the club is doing on campus, follow MEChA de Western New Mexico University on Facebook or drop by the MEChA building (right next to the police station near the Student Memorial Building parking lot).

Live from Silver City

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
captcha 
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/about/submissions They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as the editor.

Welcome to our new version of classified ads.  We invite you our readers to post your own classifieds, which are available for viewing 24/7 and are very reasonable in price.

We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. It's a software problem, not easily fixable, other than showing fewer articles per summary page. If you are a frequent visitor, you might not mind fewer articles per page, but if you only come once in a while, you likely want to see more articles to browse. Write me at editor@grantcountybeat.com to let me know your feelings on this issue. 

Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

The Grant County Beat endeavors to post to the Elections page, under News, at the least, notices of candidates for Grant County races. Some candidates for statewide races have also sent their notices. 

The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

WARNING:

All articles and photos indicated by a byline are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ad on the Beat.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com, if you notice any problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.

If you subscribe to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

It's really easy to check to see if there's a classified ad. Just click on Classifieds in the blue menu and the page will open letting you know if there is a classified ad. Remember that your buying classified ads gives you a wide readership, as well as supporting the Beat. Post YOURS for quick results!

Note that if an article does not have a byline, it was sent to the Beat and written by someone not affiliated with the Beat

When you click on the blue and orange button on the upper left side of most pages, you will find out how you can help the Beat defray its expenses, which, with increased readership, continue to grow. You will arrive at a page that gives you options of how you can Help the Beat. All help is greatly appreciated and keeps the news you want and need coming into your browser.

Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com