For the first time in more than a decade, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan at Cal State Northridge will host the organization's statewide conference beginning today.
Organization leaders said CSUN outbid several other schools this year for the responsibility of hosting the conference.
"Our Chicano Studies Department is considered one of the top in the nation, and this is a way of displaying our department and our professors," said Jesus Flores, a MEChA member and conference committee member.
More than 1,200 Latino students and their families from across the state will visit the campus and attend workshops and lectures on subjects ranging from Chicano studies in high school to Latinos in the arts.
The discussions, Flores said, are expected to focus on the current political climate that saw the passage of Proposition 209 and, earlier, Proposition 187.
But the main goal of the conference is for MEChA organizations to communicate with each other, he said.
For the first time the conference will include parents and siblings of CSUN members. "We want to educate them about what role parents take when their children are involved in MEChA," Flores said. "And give them a better understanding of what issues MEChA deals with."
The first night of the conference will include speeches by students. Saturday will feature speeches by CSUN professors Rudolfo Acuna and Juana Mora in the morning and workshops during the day. Sunday, organization leaders will meet to draft statewide resolutions on the issues brought up at the meetings.