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Chicano club brings issue to light

 by Kendall Wright
 published on Thursday, October 4, 2007

<b>FLY LIKE AN EAGLE:</b> Sophomore male co-chair Bryant Partida makes the M.E.Ch.A eagle with senior female co-chair Silvia Rodriguez. M.E.Ch.A. de ASU sponsored the screening of the documentary “Walkout” at the Memorial Union Wednesday night./issues/news/702087
Morgan Bellinger / THE STATE PRESS
FLY LIKE AN EAGLE: Sophomore male co-chair Bryant Partida makes the M.E.Ch.A eagle with senior female co-chair Silvia Rodriguez. M.E.Ch.A. de ASU sponsored the screening of the documentary “Walkout” at the Memorial Union Wednesday night.
 

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Wednesday was the first night of many in which El Movimento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztla′n members, known as M.E.Ch.A. met for a screening and discussion of documentaries revolving around discrimination facing Chicanos in society.

The group screened "Walkout," a film based on Los Angeles protests related to 1968 discrimination against receiving an equal education in public school systems. After the screening the group discussed how issues in the movie still affect Chicano communities today.

One current issue discussed was the passage of Proposition 300, which makes undocumented students in Arizona no longer able to receive state-funded financial assistance.

M.E.Ch.A. members such as political science junior Sylvia Rodriguez, a co-chair facilitator of the club, said she believes this and many other movements restrict the opportunity for Chicano students to have an equal chance for a higher education.

"For us, it's important we recognize the value and importance of education in our culture," Rodriguez said. "Also, we try to create a unity between people here at ASU with everybody else of different ethnicities, cultures, and traditions."

According to 2006 ASU Institutional Analysis figures, Hispanic students represent about 12 percent of the University's population.

M.E.Ch.A. is working to improve those numbers of Chicano students in the University system recently by encouraging Tempe high school minority students to pursue a higher education.

But members of the group said the task has become more difficult since recent legislation has ruled against financial assistance and students worry whether they can afford college.

"People need to think about the types of challenges going on these days," said Bryant Partida, another co-chair facilitator of the club and political science sophomore. "Education is a prime factor in that."

The documentary "Walkout" was chosen in order to bring up similar challenges that students are facing today since the passing of recent legislation, Partida said. Films such as this encourage students to take a stand and educate students about the rights they deserve, he said.

"A lot of people now don't realize that if we keep letting them do the same racist acts against us now, it could go right back to the same thing it was in the sixties," said Chicano studies major and member Perla Islas. "People here are too worried about fitting in and assimilating, that speaking up about issues like this doesn't even cross their minds."

Reach the reporter at: kendall.wright@asu.edu.



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