Chapter 10: "Si Se Puede!"1Chicana/o Activism in San Diego 1965-2000
16. What did MECHA do to protest the conservative trends in San Diego in the 1990s?
In 1996 the MEChistas joined organizations throughout San Diego ranging from the Chicano Federation to the American Civil Liberties Union in opposition to Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative. As part of its education campaign, the activists conducted teach-ins, marches, and rallies. The goals of the campaign included dispelling the myths about affirmative action, informing about the benefits and continuing need for affirmative action, and increasing the number of students registered to vote in the forthcoming election.
MEChistas also renewed and extended the celebration of the indigenous roots of Chicanos by participating in Sundance Ceremonies, Azteca dance troupes, and the Latino/Indigenous Peoples’ Unity Coalition organized by "
elders" such as
- Olivia Puentes-Reynolds,
- Mario Aguilar, and
- Luis Natividad
as well as supporting the Zapatista movement in Mexico. They also attempted to keep the concept of Aztlán and the memory of struggle and victory alive by contributing to the annual Chicano Park Day celebration.
They also supported the continuing efforts by the United Farmworkers to sustain the legacy of Cesar Chavez, inviting leaders of the organization to speak on campus and conducting education campaigns to raise consciousness among their peers regarding "
La Causa," the farmworker cause. After Chavez’s death, MEChistas such as Pedro Anaya, called for the designation of Cesar Chavez’s birthday as a state holiday to honor the labor leader. Across town at the University of California, San Diego MEChistas and other Chicana/o activist pursued similar actions.
Sí, se puede" is Spanish for "
Yes, it is possible" or, roughly, "
Yes, it can be done."