Brief History of Access
Stimulated to action by the recognition that students of color were not receiving the equal chance of getting into higher education, UCLA students began to investigate channels for implementation of the new urban and minority programs. In 1968, the Black Student Union and the United Mexican American Student (UMAS) decided to have a committee specifically for the admissions of Afro-American and Chicanx and Latinx students whose percentages of students at the university did not reflect that of the general population.
A program expanding the opportunities for higher education was implemented on an experimental basis at UCLA. This program was created in an effort to utilize untapped community resources, that is to say, students with unrealized high potential and the ability to benefit from higher education. This program that emerged from BSU and UMAS was called the High Potential Program, which started in October 1, 1968 under the Department of Special Education. The program would allow students from the community and nontraditional students- gang leaders, activist, etc, who showed potential to attend special classes at UCLA and eventually transition them to become UCLA students. Out of the 100 students part of HPP, 74 students were successful. The program ended after 1 year because 2 High Potential students and Black Panthers members were killed outside Campbell Hall.
On July 20, 1995, The Regents of the University of California adopted SP-1 Standing Policy 1 (SP1) as a resolution that prohibited the consideration of race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as criteria for admission to the University or to any program of study. As well as SP-2, a resolution that prohibited the consideration of the same attributes in the University's employment and contracting practices.
On November 6, 1996, the voters of California passed Proposition 209, which prohibits the state government institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity, specifically in the areas of public employment, public contracting or public education. After the passing of prop 209, the number of Chicanxs and Latinxs at UCLA drastically decreased.
MEChA saw the low numbers and decided to create a project that would help outreach to students from low income communities to make sure they had the resources to apply and reach higher education. As a response to prop 209, MEChA created Xinachtli, making it the second access- outreach project.
Xinachtli comes from the Indigenous Mexica language of Nahuatl, which transltes to "germinating seed." It is at this precise moment when a seed bursts that is neither plant or seed, but infinite possibilities. according to the Indigenous Mexica cosmovision, this is the time of true learning.
Likewise, MEChA Xinacntli adopts this view to incorporate learning and community with the vision of organic education.
MEChA Xinachtli is a student-run, student-initiated access project that aims to dismantle the Chicanx/Latinx Educational Pipeline by promoting higher education, raising socio-political awareness, and building student leadership among Latinx youth from local communities.
To get more information on how to get involved, visit their instagram page @mecha_xinachtli