Showing posts from July, 2019

Once a MECHista, Always a MECHista No Matter the Name

Editorial by Álvaro Huerta, Ph.D I first learned about MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlán) during UCLA’s Freshman Summer Program (FSP) in 1985, as a 17-year-old freshman. My humorous efforts to pass myself off as younger by joking that I was “actually” a 7-year-old math prodigy at UCLA in that year aside, I eventually joined the campus chapter. Many moons later, I still stand by MEChA’s mantra: “Once a MEChista, always a MEChista.” No offense to my friends who graduated from historic Cathedral High in Los Angeles, where it seems a similar slogan had served as to stoke alumni pride long before MEChA was founded in 1969. Moreover, I’m certain being a proud, life-long Cathedral “Phantom” never precluded anyone from becoming an equally committed MEChista. Shocked to learn of the name change to MEChA proposed during the MEChA National Conference 2019 at UCLA earlier this spring, I didn’t know whether to cry or yell. Given that my youth unfolded at one of the toughest

Symposium Recalls Youth Liberation Conference 50 Years Later

In 1969, over a thousand Chicano youth from across the U.S. gathered in Denver, CO for a Movimiento conference. By Abel Salas and Anthony Ortega On March 30th, the Chicano Movement Symposium Series presented its second annual installation of a program that seeks to encourage study and discussion and healthy, constructive debate on meaning and results of Chicanismo, outside of the university setting. In keeping with that goal, according to organizer Anthony Ortega, about 100 guests attended the free symposium, titled Aztlan Then And Now: 1969 Chicano Youth Liberation Conference held from 11am to 4pm at the Church of the Epiphany in Lincoln Heights. The location was particularly well chosen in light of the fact that much of the planning and organizing in preparation for East L.A. Chicano student “Blowouts” in 1968 took place inside the very same church, more than a year before the Chicano Youth Liberation Conference was held in Denver, Colorado. Convened by the Crusade for Justi

African Americans in Boyle Heights: An Untold Legacy

Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, a Boyle Heights legacy. Inset: Minnie J. Jackson. Photo courtesy of Pamela Davis/Andy Takajian and the Lawrence Family Archives . By Shirlee Smith In the neighborhood, the schools, the cemetery, the churches, the workplace, the political movements… we were everywhere, especially if and when being there meant being a part of building and sustaining this vibrant multi-cultural enclave. Our organization seeks to develop a historical perspective documenting the early arrivals and the continuous influx of our elders into an enclave well known for its significant place within the history of Los Angeles. Less familiar are the contributions our elders made to Boyle Heights from its earliest days onward. As members of “Boyle Heights - African Americans Were There,” an organization we are pleased to introduce within the pages of Brooklyn & Boyle , we work to present the facts surrounding our existence. We work to restore our history. And just as importantly

EL CHICANO: Superhero Action Film Plays Big and Shows Heart

Raúl Castillo as Diego Hernández who dons a mask as obsidian knife-wielding, motorcycle-riding superhero . Review by Alci Rengifo El Chicano is both a throwback and a sign of progress. It gives us a genuine, big screen Latinx superhero while basking in classic midnight movie style. This is the kind of guilty pleasure you should seek in an old school neighborhood movie theater, wherever they still exist, and cheer on a costumed avenger who wields an Aztec war knife. Writer/director Ben Hernández Bray borrows from every recognizable superhero movie trend, updating it all with the polished veneer of a Latinx vision celebrating the Eastside of Los Angeles. Raúl Castillo plays Diego Hernández, an LAPD detective from East L.A. who still feels connected to his neighborhood and lives with wife Vanessa (Aimee García). His brother Pedro had been a bright prospect years ago, but was gunned down in a suspected drug gang conflict. When a warehouse riddled with the corpses of murdered ga