(PNS reporting from WASHINGTON D.C.) The board of the historic student organization MEChA voted Wednesday to change the group’s name to something easier for its members to pronounce.
MEChA was born during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, and its name — Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán — was an artifact of its 1960s’ genesis. But Xicano activism waned in the ensuing decades; every year since 1968, for example, the number of baby girls named Xochitl has declined.
Members are no longer interested in getting back to their Nahuatl roots and Los Angeles local chapter male co-chair David Hernandez told PNS that there’s no need. “I mean, I already am from Aztlán, Whittier, you know? And we don’t speak Spanish here,” he said.
For several years, members of this Latino student organization have been unable to either pronounce the group’s full name or tell others what the acronym stands for. Thus, a change of name.
“We feel that the new name reflects our current place in this country better than the old Chicano name,” said MEChA female co-chair, Vanessa García. “It’s not just easier to pronounce, but it’s more friendly to non-Latinos, whom we are trying to recruit.”
The group’s new name, Movement to Ease Chicano/Hispanic Assimilation reflects the change from its original mission of promoting education and the study of history of Latinos in the U.S.
García told PNS this is because that most members only joined to add another extracurricular activity to their resume.
When some students still reported some difficulty in pronouncing the acronym MEChA, members voted to further change the acronym of the group to something even easier. After a short discussion they voted to change the name to Movement to Ease Hispanicness, or “MEH.”