Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Mallika Mitra Contributor
Although Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University differ in many ways, they are working together to establish a similarity: having a chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán on both campuses. According to Jonathan Romero ’13, who was one of the students to help legitimize MEChA at K in 2010, students at WMU are interested in starting a chapter of MEChA because of the need for “a more politically active student-led organization.”
“One of our demands that they totally agree with is empowering each other as students and to become allies and advocates for an actual community of social justice,” said Romero via email. “Encourage everyone to learn everyone’s story. Burst our campus’ bubble. And actually engage with the Kalamazoo community.”
Romero says that K’s chapter of MEChA was approached by the WMU students because of how it takes action and participates in events both on campus and in the Kalamazoo community. Although the students at WMU could benefit from receiving assistance from K’s MEChA students, students here could also benefit from having another chapter of MEChA so close. Romero believes that the development of MEChA at WMU will help “by building solidarity among students of both institutions.” He also says that having more MEChA students will allow students to take action in greater numbers and have another community of students to discuss issues that wouldn’t have been thought of or attracted attention.
Romero also talked about how the MEChA students at K could assist WMU students in starting their own chapter.
“It’s quite simple. We meet with them. Tell them how we got started. Remind them that each MEChA chapter can be different,” said Romero. These differences come down to the types of issues the members care about, the demographics and history of the institution, how many resources the school provides the students with, and how much support the group receives from the student body.
According to MEChA’s official national website, as of 2010 there are currently ten regions of MEChA in the US. If WMU succeeds in developing a chapter of MEChA, they will be recoginized in the Tierra-Mid Atl region.
Romero says that it is not only important to spread the messages and goals of MEChA to other schools, it is necessary.
“MEChA is not something that builds your resume. MEChA has the capacity to change your life,” said Romero. “MEChA helps you find paths to open doors. And if we run into closed ones, we make sure we find a way to get in. MEChA is a student movement and it will never die.”