Mechista of the Week: Juan Díaz

Juan Díaz, Class of 2015

Juan Díaz, Class of 2015

Juan Díaz, Class of 2015

Residential College: Morse College

Hometown: Atlantic City, NJ

High School: Atlantic City High School

Why did you join MEChA? I joined MEChA because I wanted to get involved with the Latino community, but also do it in a socially conscious way. I knew that MEChA did a lot of cool stuff around things like immigration, worker’s rights, and other community issues, and I wanted to be involved. It has ultimately been a very fulfilling and enlightening experience, and I have learned so much about myself and my community through MEChA. We attempt to eliminate injustices in a far more involved and more conscientious way than typical community service groups.

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA? In addition to being in MEChA, I’m also a member of Community Health Educators, where I teach middle school students a comprehensive health curriculum. I also volunteer on Saturdays at the HAVEN Free clinic, where I interpret. I also work at the Art History Department.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA? My favorite memory of MEChA is definitely attending ECCSF [the East Coast Chicano/a Student Forum]. It’s so great being able to go on a small roadtrip with some of your closest friends, and the conferences are pretty fun too! Our ECCSF conference in April will hopefully be a similarly wonderful experience. But most my most important experience is attending our weekly MEChA Monday night meetings, they are so refreshing and rejuvenating, especially on Monday nights!

Mechista of the Week: Adriana Embus

Adriana Embus, Class of 2017

Adriana Embus, Class of 2017

Adriana Embus, Class of 2017

Residential College: Timothy Dwight College (“the BEST!”)

Hometown: Columbus, Georgia

High School: Brookstone School

Why did you join MEChA? When I first visited Yale, La Casa Cultural was one of the deciding factors, and subsequently the diverse student groups it had to offer. Once I heard about MEChA de Yale, I knew I had to be in it; the energy and passion every single one of the members had for social justice was just so inspiring. In fact, back at home in Georgia, there were so many social justice issues I felt completely passionate about, but there was never a group to organize enough support. Here I feel so grateful that there is a group to fight for our rights as Latinos and also to act on those issues that affect our community the most.

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA?  I am a representative on Freshmen Class Council (FCC), which advocates for issues pertaining to freshmen on campus. I am also part of Sabrosura, Yale’s Latin dance team and a member of Steppin’ Out, Yale’s Step Team. Another one of passions is Yale Faith and Action and my involvement with Quest Scholars Network.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA?  So far, my favorite experience with the MEChA group was organizing last week’s Día de los Muertos Altar (Nov. 1) with other freshman in the group. Not only did I love working with the other freshmen, I loved learning about the Día de los Muertos tradition (since I’m Colombian and we didn’t really celebrate it back home)! Moreover, some Mechistas attended Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA’s) Día de los Muertos parade in Fair Haven on Nov. 2 and I absolutely loved getting out in the community and participating in this wonderful celebration. I also really look forward to MEChA weekly meetings because they foster great conversation, awesome memories, and inspiring people.

Mechista of the Week: Cathy Calderón

Cathy Calderón, Class of 2017

Cathy Calderón, Class of 2017

Cathy Calderón, Class of 2017

Residential College: Davenport

Hometown: San Fernando, California

High School: Granada Hills Charter High School

Why did you join MEChA? My curiosity and admiration for MEChA has grown over the last decade due to my involvement with an Aztec dance group called Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, which has worked on various community events with MEChA. I had never joined MEChA because there was never an established organization at any of my schools and I always wondered what it would be like to be a Mechista. I knew from the moment that I got accepted to Yale that I would join MEChA for these reasons and to further my knowledge of political and cultural issues affecting the Latino community in order to work towards social justice and equality for all.

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA?  I am a volunteer interpreter at the free HAVEN clinic, which provides health care for people without health insurance. I am planning on becoming a volunteer at the New Haven Free Public Library to help younger students improve their literacy. I will always be a member of Cuauhtemoc because it is the root of my passion for social justice and I never stop learning from my fellow dancers.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA?  So far, I really enjoyed the Café con Karaoke event that the scholarship committee put on because we had great food and company, oh, and we made a soul train happen. Although I wish this issue did not exist, I enjoy protesting for workers’ fair wages in front of Gourmet Heaven because protesting makes me feel alive (come out and support, Fridays at 5:30 pm!). I am grateful to be part of such a passionate and active group and have made some of my closest friends through MEChA de Yale.

Mechista of the Week: Isiah Cruz

Isiah Cruz, Class of 2017

Isiah Cruz, Class of 2017

Isiah Cruz, Class of 2017

Residential College: Ezra Stiles College
Hometown: Union City, New Jersey
High School: Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ)
Why did you join MEChA? I joined MEChA because I wanted to contribute to the Yale Latino community in every way possible and MEChA is a great means of doing so. The group is one of the oldest Latino organization at Yale and I love the overall mission to engage in social justice. Our fellow hermanas and hermanos could use an extra hand.
What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA? I am working both as a Freshman Liaison at La Casa Cultural Center and as an Oral/Written Translator at Yale Law School. As for extra-curriculars, I am on Sabrosura (Latin Dance Team), Ivy Council, Quest Scholars Network, Freshman Class Council and in the process of establishing a non-profit organization.
What is your favorite experience with MEChA? My favorite experience with MEChA was my first meeting with the group. The energy was great and we got to the heart of why I went to the meeting in the first place: how we as a group can help our surrounding Latino people. We spoke about the wage theft issue at Gourmet Heaven and other challenges that we face as Latinos. The meeting truly inspired me to fight for others to have equal opportunity and hope.

Mechista of the Week: Ava Tomasula y Garcia

Ava Tomasula y Garcia, Class of 2017

Ava Tomasula y Garcia, Class of 2017

Ava Tomasula y Garcia, Class of 2017

Residential College: Calhoun College

Hometown: Chicago/South Bend, IN

High School: Interlochen Center for the Arts (MI) and John Adams High School (IN)

Why did you join MEChA? I wanted to be part of a social justice group that did not limit itself to one area. MEChA knows that immigration is connected to education, to poverty, to voting rights, etc. It is hard to find such all-encompassing student groups!

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA? At Yale, I am also part of FAIR College Counseling, Oye spoken word, and hope to get involved with the Women’s Center. I am trying to keep in contact with the groups I’m part of at home: Students for a Democratic Society, Occupy Education, and others.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA? I’ve really enjoyed the weekly boycott of Gourmet Heaven over wage theft – it’s the most visible project MEChA’s done so far this year and it’s great to see the direct effect it is having. Also, I like freaking people out and there’s plenty of opportunities for that on a picket line.

Mechista of the Week: Karla Maradiaga

Karla Maradiaga, Class of 2015

Karla Maradiaga, Class of 2015

Residential College: Jonathan Edwards

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

High School: Lamphere High School

Why did you join MEChA? I joined MEChA because immigration reform has always been an issue that has been very important to me since it affects my family directly. However, I really became interested in the immigration reform debate after learning about DREAMers. The thought that anyone who grew up in this country and loved this country in the same way that I do was being denied an education made me very upset, and I desired to act on these emotions in a productive manner. Furthermore, I was intrigued by the incredible ideas of other MEChistas when it came to debates about immigration reform and latino identity.

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA?  Aside from MEChA I am involved in MAS Familias, a math and science club at Yale that hosts weekly dinners at the residential colleges with Math and Science professors at Yale. I also volunteer at the Haven Free Clinic. One of my favorite activities is working at a daycare. The kids there always allow me to escape the Yale bubble, at least for a little bit!

What is your favorite experience with MEChA?  My favorite experience with MEChA was the immigration reform march that occurred a few weeks ago [April 9]. It was a very powerful, and moving feeling to unite with fellow MEChistas and fight for a common cause.  I also love the way MEChA made an effort to show their support for the community during that march, breaking the barrier between Yale and the community that is way too evident sometimes. It was also great to see various politicians unite with the community in the push for humane immigration reform.


Mechista of the Week: Salvador Delgado Fernandez

Salvador Delgado Fernandez, Class of 2013

Salvador Delgado Fernandez, Class of 2013

Residential College: Trumbull

Hometown: Blue Island, IL (near Chicago)

High School: Eisenhower High School

Why did you join MEChA? I originally joined MEChA because my sister, who is in charge of Georgetown’s MEChA chapter, kept telling me to do it. I had previously helped out at the occasional MEChA event, but wasn’t an official member. Then I joined this year, my senior year, and realized that I missed out on a lot of awesomeness over the past 3 years!

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA? I’m currently one of the Group Managers of Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Yale (yay dancing!), which has turned out to be nothing but fun. I volunteer as an interpreter at the HAVEN Free Clinic in Fair Haven, helping the community get healthcare. Aside from that, I also host two radio shows at WYBC, one being a Latin music show and the other a science talk show.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA? My favorite experience with MEChA was definitely the Café con Karaoke [March 1]. I had been wishing for the chance to do some bilingual karaoke, and then it happened! And because it was to start a scholarship for undocumented students, I felt a lot better about going to the event instead of getting work done. And chocolate caliente!

Mechista of the Week: Cristal Suarez

Cristal Suarez, Class of 2016

Cristal Suarez, Class of 2016

Residential College: Trumbull

Hometown: Visalia, California

High School: San Joaquin Memorial High School

Why did you join MEChA? I wanted to educate myself about issues important to the Latino community, and to discover the role I could play to encourage society to be more equal and fair. I also found that the MEChA community itself was very welcoming and I was encouraged to join by students I met at Bulldog Days!

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA? Being a freshman liaison at La Casa has been one of the most rewarding activities. I am also a part of Community Health Educators and I teach middle school classes on nutrition. I also volunteer at Yale-New Haven Hospital, through a program called the Living History Project. I prepare a narrative after interviewing patients in order to help their doctors better understand them. I have also loved being a part of BookMarks, where I read with kids at an after-school program.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA? I’ve loved the many moments when I have connected with someone and discovered how much I can share with others. MEChA has been great at giving me chances to get to know what people are passionate about and what inspires them. If I had to choose a single moment, it would be attending ECCSF at Harvard because it was amazing to see so many Latino students working to have their voices heard.

Mechista of the Week: Chris Teran

Chris Teran, Class of 2016

Chris Teran, Class of 2016

Residential College: Morse

Hometown: Patterson, California

High School: Patterson High School

Why did you join MEChA?  One of the main reasons that I joined MEChA was to try to get more involved and educated about political issues facing Latinos and just the U.S. in general. So through the discussions at MEChA, I’m definitely able to get a better perspective about the issues and learn more about them. Also, I joined because I come from a very Latino community, so I wanted to be able to still stay close to the [Latino] culture even though I’m so far away from home.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA? My favorite experience with MEChA so far has probably been the weekend I went to the Harvard ECCSF [East Coast Chicano Student Forum]. It was just great getting to meet and talk with MEChistas from other colleges. I also liked listening to all the speakers, especially María Elena Salinas, was pretty awesome.

Mechista of the Week: Emma Fallone

This is a new segment in which MEChA de Yale will recognize one outstanding Mechista every week!

Emma Fallone, Class of 2016

Emma Fallone, Class of 2016

Residential College: Ezra Stiles

Hometown: Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee)

High School: Whitefish Bay High School

Why did you join MEChA? I am Latina, and grew up in a very ethnically homogeneous area (95% Caucasian, maybe 2% Latino). So, throughout high school, I never really had much of a chance to connect with my cultural community. I could see that there were important political issues coming into play, like immigration rights and wage theft, and I wanted to discuss and fight for them – but I didn’t have an outlet to do so. When I came to Yale, and learned about MEChA, I was so excited to get involved, because so much of its purpose is to bring Latino/a students together and be a force to fight for positive political change on these important issues.

What other activities are you involved in aside from MEChA? I am the Co-President of SERVE New Haven, a Dwight Hall service group that works to connect Yale students to the New Haven community through a wide variety of service opportunities. So, I help to organize weekly trips for our members to volunteer at soup kitchens, refugee service centers, mental health facilities, and food distribution centers, to name just a few. It’s a great way to get out of the “Yale bubble” and become involved in New Haven, and to really make a difference in the community! I am also on the Copy Editorial staff for the Yale Daily News, and am involved with the Yale Democrats. And, when I have time, I like to de-stress by doing yoga.

What is your favorite experience with MEChA? Definitely the discussions that we have at our weekly meetings. I love getting the chance to talk with a group of awesome students about issues that I am passionate about, such as Latino/a identity and the portrayal of Latinos in the media. It’s so great to have a forum to share my thoughts, and to engage in a really intelligent discourse on the topics. I’ve learned so much from my fellow Mechistas!