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Hi! My Name Is Nick. And I'm a MEChista

Caring for nuestra comunidad doesn't mean we're against anyone

By Nick Pacheco
Published on LatinoLA: September 5, 2003


Hi! My Name Is Nick. And I'm a MEChista


INT. COMMUNITY ROOM - NIGHT
The room is filled with an eclectic group. Men and women over 35. Some wearing faded sarapes and others in their unbuttoned Men?s Wearhouse suits.

NICK:
Hi! My name is Nick. (pause) And I?m a MEChista.

GROUP:
Hi, Nick!

NICK:
It all started so innocently. I was at UC Berkeley, feeling homesick and I called my big brother. He said I needed a dose of Boyle Heights. He said he knew of this group that could make me feel better. It was called MEChA.

ADRIAN:
That?s how I started. First, you feel disconnected with the university and then, you go to a meeting.

NICK:
They always start you off with a free meeting. There you are in a meeting minding your own business, making friends, and next thing you know you?re thinking of ways to bring more Latinos to UC Berkeley.

SARAH:
Exactly! I chaired the recruitment committee at first, then they got me to chair the community service committee. Now, I can?t even go visit my parents without feeling like I should volunteer at the youth center.

NICK:
Yeah, I know what you mean. I even began spending MY financial aid to help people in the community. And all those long meetings debating and arguing over whether we should serve alcohol at our Cinco de Mayo event. Whether the Coors boycott was still on? Were grapes okay to eat?

SARAH:
Did you have that ?pendejo? who thought we could finance the revolution by winning the lotto? Remember, when the lotto first started and it seemed only Mexicanos were winning. One guy thought we should all buy lotto tickets and the State could pay for the liberation of Aztlan.

NICK:
No, but we had those guys that always talked about the liberation of Aztlan and their mythical hero ? Joaquin Murrieta. I couldn?t stand how they would waste our time. They never seemed to have any practical ideas or suggestions on how to make the campus a better place for Latinos or how to get our students active in the community. And they never seemed to enjoy the dances until we played Spanish music.

SARAH:
They didn?t bother me half as much as those fools on campus who would call MEChA a racist organization. Here we are, on an American college campus that requires we allow ALL students to be part of our group. Our student charters stated we would not tolerate racism, sexism, or homophobia and they still didn?t get it.

NICK:
I know, and they would get all uncomfortable when we would talk about the Southwest being stolen from Mexico. For them, ?manifest destiny? was like walking on the beach and picking up seashells. Oh, look, here is Colorado, here is Arizona, here is New Mexico ?

ADRIAN:
? and if you put California next to your ear you can hear all the Mexicans losing their land and the Native Americans being ?converted? to Christianity.

Look, just because we started caring about our people and ?nuestra comunidad,? doesn?t mean we were against anyone. Che Guevara said that a revolutionary is driven by love. Love for their people. That?s why I enjoyed MEChA. We were a group of people who loved each other and tried our best to be a family. And like all families we didn?t always agree.

And those ?Aztlan promoting? members, to me, were like my uncle who always gets drunk at the family gatherings and he has an opinion on everything.

ITEM #2
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
ITEM #2

We interrupt this novela with another trivial news flash. At the MTV Video Music Awards, Ben Stiller declared the winner of the Viewer's Choice Award was Cruz Bustamante -- of course he was kidding. But more importantly, Ben knew Cruz and I?m sure Cruz is grateful for the plug.

At the end of the day, anyone willing to fall for the lies regarding MEChA was not going to vote for Cruz anyway. Nothing anyone says will change those minds. For those of you interested in seeing an actual MEChA student constitution here is one from UC Berkeley -- http://www.berkeleymecha.org/documents/bmc.html and to avoid an east coast/west coast feud here is one from Brown University -- http://www.brownmecha.org/.

ITEM #3
And now to something not trivial.
ITEM #3

I fondly remember the five of us kids jumping into my dad?s 1978 Chevrolet station wagon. That gas guzzling baby used to lug us around to all our little league practices and dance classes. Sometimes, the entire little league baseball team players would pile into it. Even after the big gasoline shortage crisis of the early 1970s, that 1978 station wagon only got 16 MPG combined -- which isn?t much better than today?s Ford Expedition?s 15 MPG combined.

I wonder how my dad would have felt if one night he came out and saw that station wagon in flames. I?m sure the eco-terrorists from Earth Liberation Front (ELF) had no idea if a working class family owned that Expedition in Monrovia they fire bombed. And they probably didn?t care.

Why haven?t our progressive leaders denounced these individuals and their tactics? Why do the members of ELF seem to get a pass? Why isn?t the media spending as much time on ELF as they have on MEChA? Could it be because elves aren?t brown?



About Nick Pacheco:
Contact Nick at nick@northeastobserver.com




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