MEChA conference sheds light on Latino issues

By By Jade Gray

By Jade Gray

Over 500 Latino/a students filled the Union on Thursday to attend MEChA’s 12th annual high school conference. Students traveled near and far for the event, which has been growing in numbers each year.Jennifer Merino-Moncado, a U sophomore studying pre-med, described what the event meant to her personally.”To me, it’s to give exposure to students about the university and to talk about things they have to deal with being Latinos,” she said,Moncado also mentioned that the discussions touched upon sensitive areas in society.”It was hard to even discuss the conversation about privilege, because people don’t like talking about if they’re privileged or not, there are lots of factors that go into those issues including socio-economics,” she said.Another MEChA member, Valary Pozo said that the high school students were asking interesting questions.”We want to show them how to access higher education and they are asking us how they can get here, these questions should be answered in high school,” she said.The group spread awareness about the event through sending representatives to local high schools, recruiting from the schools and putting up flyers.Discussions took place all throughout the Union, ranging from everything to financial aid, immigration and safe sex practices.Groups conversed about many topics including why more minority students drop out than their white counterparts or what role gender play into education,Dr Theresa Martinez, Assistant Vice President of Academic Outreach, summarized the goals of the conference through her speech.”My message is to believe in the power of community, we face a lot of oppression, we need to continue in higher education and activism,” she said.A group of high school students from East High said the MEChA did a great job organizing the event. Leni Solis, a sophomore at the high school, found a new interest in the conference.”College is fun! The event interested me in going to medical school,” she said.