First and foremost, I would like to thank Students for Justice in Palestine for reaching out and ensuring that a MEChA representative was present at the 2nd National Students for Justice in Palestine. We truly appreciate this grandiose gesture.
MEChA is a nationwide organization that emerged from the Chican@s Movement in 1969 and has been standing strong ever sense. MEChA is an acronym that in compasses the embodies the vision of justice. The M stands for Movimento, or movement. A movement that is continues and will withstand the test of time. It will not stop until our Raza is fully liberated, as is SJP's movement. E stands for Estudiantil, students. During the Chican@ movement, students were heavily involved in challenging the systems of oppression that they face in their day-to-day lives, especially in reference to the education system. High school students would unit to walkout of the school systems that were not offering them proper education, cultural competence, and were still segregated. Students are a key component for the Chican@ movement, as well as in present. C stands for Chican@, which symbolizes more than a form of identification, but also an ideology that serves as a form of resistance to combat forced assimilation in the United States. Chican@ also emphasizes the importance of taking pride in one's indigenous roots, in a society that too often seeks to shame people of their indiginality. Through the philosophy of Chicanismo, our Raza conserve the rich cultura of our ancestors. Lastly, the A stands for Aztlán, which is related to the unity of our Raza that goes beyond geographical constraints.
MEChA was founded on the principles of self-determination for the liberation of our gente. We believe that political resistance and education of our people will lead to change in society. "MEChA must bring to the mind of every young Chicana and Chicano that the liberation of her/his people from prejudice and oppression is in her/his hands and this responsibility is greater than personal achievement and more meaningful than degrees, especially if they are earned at the expense of her/his identity and cultural integrity. MEChA, then, is more than a name; it is a spirit of unity, of sisterhood and brotherhood, and a resolve to undertake a struggle for liberation in society where justice is but a word. MEChA is a means to an end" (El Plan de Santa Barbara). These philosophies are applied to all our companer@s seeking justice for all, including SJP.
So, how did National MEChA officially endorse the global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israeli occupation you might ask?
It all started in the sun-filled state of Arizona, where the heat isn't the only thing burning, but also, the fire ignited in the souls of those fighting for the rights of people who are being explicitly exploited by unjust government policies and corporate interest; A burning fire that each and every one of us in this room has within.
During MEChA's 19th annual National MEChA Conference, MEChA as a whole, voted to endorse the global call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel, not only because of the brutal abuse of power executed by military occupation & the application of settlements towards a people, but because our Raza can relate to the concept of invasion, dispossession, occupation, exploitation and discrimination.
One cannot discuss the origin and prosperity of the United States without addressing the manner in which land was accumulated through forceful removal of the native people based on the premise of racial class difference. Under the law, native people and African Americans were not citizens of the U.S. and therefore could not own land. These reasoning were applied to Mexican natives after the Treaty of Guadalupe, which should have protected their right to citizenship. That gave Anglo-settlers the lawful "right" to dispose and challenge property titles of Mexican landowners. The accumulation by the oppressors can also be seen in present day Palestine. Both communities are being treated as disposable commodities, not as human beings; twisted and morphed like an object to benefit the corporate interest.
And Yes, our struggles are distinct to our people, but defiantly relatable. At the end of the day, all oppression is oppression regardless of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, ability, and so forth. and an impediment to one's free choice.
There was just no way we could not stand in solidarity with you all. We are brothers and sister, and we couldn't stand idly by and not take action. Oppression takes place at the global scale. This is not only a Palestinian issue, a Chican@/ Latin@ issue. It is human rights issue, an environmental issue, a global issue.
We have to learn how to relate to each others communities, understand each others history, stuggles, needs, and personal life stories, in order to create long a long lasting coalition; that goes beyond business matters and that truly evokes us at our core. Nuestra familia. Our family.
You see, our unity scares people. Two radical groups working together, challenging systems of oppression. In a society that too often refuses to acknowledge it even exist.
Damn, I'd be scared too.
We will not stop, because our cause is too powerful, too important. We will not stop until our communities stop being treated as communities to corrupt governments, and corporations, whom benefit from the oppression and death of our people.
So today, I stand before you all, to solidify MEChA's endorsement of Boycott, divestment, and sanction towards Israeli occupation. As well as starting and continuing building our solidarity work.
Our struggle will not be easy, and it might not be short, but together, we can make liberation possible for all. Our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls will not let us give up. With each other's support, we will succeed, because La union hace la Fuerza. Unity creates strength.