The Rhetoric of Aztlán: HB 2281, MEChA and Liberatory Education

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In March 1969 at the first national Chicano Liberation Youth Conference hosted by the Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado, a young poet named Alurista read "El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán" which forged the ideas of "the bronze continent" and "Aztlán" (Anaya and Lomeli 1). This historical document, often deemed a manifesto of Chicanismo, or a militant ethos1, advocated Chicano nationalism and self-determination for Mexican Americans. Today, it continues to be one of the founding plans of the student organization, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, or MEChA. MEChA, which "has been one of the more important student organizations to address the issue of education" (Vargas 378), focuses on the organizational goals laid out in the plan, including: Unity, Economy, Education, Institutions, Self Defense, and Cultural and Political Liberation. Included in this plan is the idea of "reclaiming the land of their birth," or the land annexed to the United States in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

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