Wednesday, April 4, 2012

“Sí, se puede!” : Palestinian civil society salutes US Chicano/Latin@ youth for their principled stand in support of BDS

At the 19th annual national conference of M.E.Ch.A. (Movímíento Estudíantíl Chícan@ de Aztlán), the largest association of Latin@ youth in the US, chapter leaders voted by a landslide decision to endorse the global call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel, due to its military occupation and settlement of Palestine.

The announcement that M.E.Ch.A. chapter leaders endorsed BDS comes on the coinciding international observances of “César Chávez Day” and “Land Day,” commemorating ongoing civil rights and anti-colonial struggles for Latin@s and Palestinians. The chapter delegations (including some 600 delegates) met in Phoenix, AZ last weekend, the site of the very first M.E.Ch.A. conference in 1993.

The local ASU M.E.Ch.A. chapter, who hosted the conference this year, was the first to endorse the BDS call prior to the conference.  Before M.E.Ch.A. could endorse BDS at a national level, ASU Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) President, Lina Bearat, attended an ASU M.E.Ch.A meeting to discuss BDS and ask for their endorsement.  Without that crucial vote of endorsement and support from ASU M.E.Ch.A. prior to the conference, ASU SJP could not have been able to ask for the endorsement of BDS by the national M.E.Ch.A. ASU SJP was also required to hold a workshop on BDS to educate the national members on the issue. Erin McGough, ASU SJP member, had the opportunity to discuss and hold a workshop on BDS at the national M.E.Ch.A. conference. The University of Arizona SJP collaborated with ASU, in all, on three educational workshops on Palestine given at the conference.

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The Palestinian BNC, the broadest coalition of Palestinian political parties, trade unions, NGOs and networks released a statement saluting M.E.Ch.A for their principled stand in support of BDS.

"Echoing the words of César Chávez, 'Sí, se puede!', our common aspirations for freedom, justice and equality are possible to achieve and we look forward to joining forces with M.E.Ch.A and the broader US Latin@ community in the struggle against injustice and apartheid."