MECHA- Hispanic Heritage Month


Andrew Ross

M.E.Ch.A. and club officers during club tailgate.

The first aspect most people praise about John W. North High School is its diversity of people. Every day, an influx of unique people flow into the gates of the school. The different voices, accents and languages- some timid, some boisterous- create harmony and a buzzing atmosphere. Approximately 70% of the ethnic demographic of North is Hispanic or Latino.

Hispanic Heritage Month, spanning from September 15 to October 15, commemorates the impact and contributions of the Hispanic and Latino populations. 

From the papel picado and the mariachi, the days between October and September are a flurry of activities and vibrance. The spirit of Hispanic and Latino communities is one of close family bonds and an integrated community, connected by music, food and folktales.

While the culture is alive and palpable on Mexican, Guatemalan, Salvadorian and Costa Rican soil, it is less so on American soil. At least in Riverside, there are no flag parades or public displays of baile folklorico or mariachis. Celebrations seem to be either forgotten or done in the seclusion of one’s family table, perhaps with dishes like empanadas con champurrado for breakfast, pupusas for lunch, or a carne asada for dinner.

Alternatively, others celebrate the month with art and forms of expression. Senior Kaylie Lopez shares her way of connecting with Latino and Hispanic culture, “So I’m trying to go to the Cheech Marin Art Center in Downtown Riverside, which has a lot of Hispanic and cultural drawings and paintings. One of my favorite books is called The Poet X. And it’s about a girl who grows up in a community of Hispanic people and Christianity.”

John W. North shows representation of Hispanic and Latino culture through clubs and organizations such as M.E.Ch.A. M.E.Ch.A. is an acronym for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, encompassing a body of students from all cultures and backgrounds.

M.E.Ch.A. Vice President, Kaylie Lopez illustrates the club’s activities and involvement in the campus community.

“We celebrate Mexican Independence Day, which we did this month, which was called El Grito. We also celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month so we do different events or activities during our meetings to learn more about the Hispanic culture and the different countries. We also try to do fundraisers. So in a couple of weeks for Water Polo’s league meet, we’re going to be selling Auguas Frescas. So if anyone wants to come out, we’ll be there. We are also planning to do a couple [of] field trips out of school this year. Hopefully, it works out because we haven’t been able to because of COVID.”

M.E.Ch.A not only provides a place of opportunity for the development of Hispanic/Latino students’ connection with their roots, it also provides a learning environment for cultural awareness. M.E.Ch.A welcomes all students who are interested in their meetings every Thursday during Lunch in Room 701. 

Get involved in M.E.Ch.A:

Remind Code: 8d2ca6


Instagram: @jwnmecha