SDSU’s MEChA invites local high school students to their 50th conference

The event focused on promoting higher education to students


Natali Gonzalez

A panel of past MEChA members speaks to students.

by Natali Gonzalez , Staff Writer

The Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan  hosted its 50th high school conference on Nov. 19, bringing together students for a day of speakers, workshops, food, and entertainment.

MEChA, a national organization with a San Diego State University chapter, is dedicated to promoting political awareness, cultural consciousness, and higher education. The conference serves as an opportunity for the organization to show high school students the importance of higher learning.

“When I was in high school, having programs like this really helped me see that it was possible for me to go to college and graduate,” said Rachel Cruz, a MEChA member from the University of San Diego chapter. “I think it’s nice to be able to represent students and advocate for their education. I want the high schoolers to see themselves in us.”

The event started with addresses from several keynote speakers. Vianney Harelly, a poet and artist, Carlos M. Montes, a Chicano activist and Gina Núñez-Mchiri, Dean of  SDSU Imperial Valley, were featured.

Students listen to keynote speakers at the beginning of MEChA’s 50th High School Conference. (Natali Gonzalez )

“They were really motivating,” said Pedro Beltran, a high school conference attendee. “I thought they spoke really beautifully.”

The speakers were followed by two workshop sessions where students could choose from several different topics. Options included environmental justice, ethnic studies, personal budgeting, queer intersectionality, pinata making and more.

“I’m most excited for the Chicanx identity workshop,” said Emily Garcia, a high school conference attendee. “It’s hard to balance your identity (as a Chicanx person) because you’re not from Mexico but you’re also not a person that can identify as fully American. So that workshop seems really interesting.”

Another workshop featured a panel of previous MEChA members, including lawyers, educators and activists who attended SDSU. They talked about the ways the organization helped them and where they are now, as well as offered advice to the students.

Núñez-Mchiri, who was on the panel as well as a keynote speaker, talked about the prejudices she faced from other students during her time at SDSU. She went on to become a two-time SDSU alumni and the dean at the university.

“The dean was really inspirational because she told us how much she went through and about how it never stopped her,” said Garcia. “That’s something I think we should take into account with our own lives.”

Students enjoyed lunch and entertainment, including traditional Chicano dancing and music, for the rest of the conference.

MEChA holds meetings on Tuesdays at 3:30 in the Legacy Suite of the student union. More information about their organization can be found on their Instagram and their website.