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Statewide M.E.Ch.A. conference starts today

Jarrod M. Graham

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Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan will kick off its spring 2003 Statewide Conference 6 p.m. today at Bakersfield College.

Some 500 students are expected to attend the conference, which is held twice a year, said conference co-chairman Hector Leonzo, who is a member of BC’s M.E.Ch.A.

The event — organized by the Centro CalifAztlan Region of M.E.Ch.A., which stretches from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara — is expected to offer attendees workshops on such topics as Argentine-born Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara and clearing up misconceptions about the “Sun Stone,” which is mistakenly called the “Aztec calendar.”

“One (purpose of the conference) is to educate ourselves,” Leonzo said. “We don’t usually have access to workshops like the ones we’re going to have at Statewide.”

In addition to the workshops, attendees will get a chance to see performances by mariachi musicians and a play, “The Meaning of M.E.Ch.A.,” during tonight’s “Noche de Cultura,” or “Night of Culture.”

Keynote speaker Dr. Jess Nieto, a former BC instructor and advocate for the Latino community, will make a presentation during the welcoming ceremony at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Also, conference-goers will participate in a march through downtown Bakersfield to protest state budget cuts after a rally 5 p.m. Saturday at BC’s Weill Institute, 2101 K St.

Leonzo said members of the public are invited to attend the conference, but they must register to do so. Registration runs from 6 to 11 p.m. today and 7:30 to 8:25 a.m. Saturday.

For more information, e-mail Leonzo at [email protected] or call the Chicano Cultural Center at 395-4532.

Conference itinerary

Friday, April 25

  • 6-11 p.m. — Registration
  • 8-11 p.m. — Noche de Cultura (Night of Culture)
  • 8:30-9:30 p.m. — Caucus Training

    Saturday, April 26

  • 6-7:25 a.m. — Sunrise Ceremony
  • 7:30-8:25 a.m. — Registration/Refreshments
  • 7:30-8:25 a.m. — Caucus Training
  • 8:30-9:25 a.m. — Welcoming
  • 9:30-10:25 a.m. — Workshop Session I
  • 10:30-11:25 a.m. — Gender Caucus
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:55 p.m. — Lunch
  • 1-1:55 p.m. — Issues Caucus
  • 2-2:55 p.m. — Workshop Session II
  • 3-3:55 p.m. — Sexuality Caucus
  • 4-4:55 p.m. — Workshop Session III
  • 5-7:25 p.m. — Statewide Action (Downtown rallies and march)
  • 7:30-7:55 p.m. — Dinner on your Own
  • 8-midnight — Entertainment/Dance

    Sunday, April 27

  • 8:30-8:55 a.m. — Communication Center
  • 9-9:55 a.m. — School Caucus
  • 10-10:55 a.m. — Regional Caucus
  • 11 a.m.-??? — Resolution Circle
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    Statewide M.E.Ch.A. conference starts today