This weekend, from Feb. 16 to 17, the Chicana/o Caucus will be hosting the annual East Coast Chicano Student Forum Winter Conference, a huge convention that draws students from all over the East Coast. “We’re having about a hundred students from throughout the East Coast staying on campus for the weekend,” said Young. “We hope to see many Amherst students and faculty at the great events we have planned.” The schedule is packed for this weekend with attractions such as a mariachi band, comedians, Aztec dancers, graffiti artists and other Chicano artists, such as Lalo Alcaraz, illustrator of Professor of Spanish Ilan Stavans’ book, “Latino USA: A Cartoon History.”
Like the majority of the Chicano population at Amherst, most of the speakers and artists participating in the conference are from the West Coast. Some highlights include Mayor Omar Bradley of Compton, CA, an African-American mayor of a predominantly Chicano neighborhood, and two representatives from Padres Unidos, a group of Spanish-speaking parents that are working to better children’s education. “Our speakers are not the typical ivy league academics or literary figures, but rather grassroots organizers and leaders who struggle everyday with hard social realities and have strong political voices,” noted Young.
This year, the Chicana/o Caucus also participated in the breakdancing event with Amherst B-Boys and invited speakers from the Chiapas Media Project in conjunction with Outreach. They also plan to throw a Cinco de Mayo celebration, which has been complete with a salsa band and food from Veracruzana in previous years.