Queridísimas colegas y hermanas de MALCS!
We shall be hosting the annual MALCS Summer Institute from July 29 to August 2, 2015 at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM). Our hosts/organizers are Alma Rosa Silva-Bañuelos, Director of the UNM LGBTQ Resource Center, and Rosa Isela Cervantes, Director of the UNM Centro de la Raza and Special Advisor to the President on Latino Affairs.
I am sure the first question you all have is why we are returning to New Mexico given that the 2014 Summer Institute was just held at Northern New Mexico College (El Rito campus, NM). As you know, MALCS depends on volunteers and institutions willing to host the Summer Institute year to year. Given recent shortcuts in higher education across the board, the last few years we have had a reduction of institutions willing to host our annual meeting and its activities. Last year, we only received the proposal from Northern New Mexico College; and similarly, this year, only the University of New Mexico mujeres proposed to host the 2015 institute. If we had not accepted the UNM proposal, the 2015 institute would have been cancelled as no other institution was able to host our organization.
The Coordinating Committee of MALCS (in which we are all volunteers) had a discussion about this decision and chose to accept the generous offer from UNM to host us in 2015. We felt that having an Institute this summer was crucial to our organization and its membership – as it is through those yearly meetings that many of us find inspiration, rejuvenation, and the ganas to continue our work day-to-day in higher education institutions across the United States.
As many of you know, I personally have always been at institutions were Latinas are scarce; and often times I have been the only Latina senior faculty member at my institution and thus I personally depend on our summer gatherings to recharge and to have conversations with hermanas who get it. Some of us might have the privilege (and the ongoing challenge of course) of being at Hispanic Majority Institutions and thus attending the Summer Institute recharges you in a different but still important and meaningful manner.
We decided that to cancel our gathering would not only deprive us from a sacred mujer space where we can discuss challenges, victories, and best practices, but that it would also impact MALCS as an organization. We depend on our yearly gatherings and attendance to secure membership renewals and to continue funding the Chicana/Latina Studies Journal - one of our most important scholarly contributions and legacies.
Thus, we return to the land of enchantment – a geographic space that presents us with the ongoing legacy of colonization and territorial battles between indigenous peoples, the descendants of European colonists, and emerging and expanding nation states. As part of the contested Southwest, New Mexico’s legacy and diverse communities create a living and breathing nepantla, the in-between space of subjectivity that our late hermana Gloria Anzaldúa theorized as the place of emergence of the new mestiza consciousness.
Do note that we are also being hosted by two hermanas whose work at the University of New Mexico impacts our population directly by offering space for academic production along with support structures that benefit members of diverse and underrepresented populations within higher education. These two committed leaders extend an invitation to us MALCSistas to join them in solidarity at UNM and they are providing us with gathering spaces — and these are both geographic and symbolic spaces; spaces that exist for us to continue supporting each other.
Without MALCS, I would not be where I am and I would not be able to continue working in academia. I know I am not the only one that feels this way, so I hope to see you in Albuquerque at the 2015 MALCS Summer Institute.
Si se puede, colegas.
In solidarity siempre,
Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson, MALCS Chair (2014-2015)
Current MALCS Bylaws (amended August 2014)
1991 Mission statement
Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS, Women Active in Letters and Social Change) is an organization of Chicanas/ Latinas and Native American women working in academia and in community settings with a common goal: to work toward the support, education and dissemination of Chicana/ Latina and Native American women’s issues. Chicanas/Latinas and Native American women from a variety of institutions gather at this yearly Summer Institute to network, share information, offer support and re-energize. The MALCS Summer Institute is one of the few places Chicanas/Latinas and Native American women can come together without the influence of male and/or Euro-American consciousness or opinion. While some charge that this is separatist, the MALCS reply is not one of apology. This is our space. The dynamics of this Chicana/Latina and Native American woman space is worth guarding, even in the face of criticism from those we respect and work with in our home institutions. Adopted at Laredo, Texas, 1991
June 1983 MALCS Declaración
We are the daughters of Chicano working class families involved in higher education. We were raised in labor camps and barrios, where sharing our resources was the basis of survival. Our values, our strength derive from where we came. Our history is the story of the working class people–their struggles, commitments, strengths, and the Chicano/Mexicano experience in the United States. We are particularly concerned with the conditions women face at work, in and out of the home. We continue our mothers’ struggle for economic and social justice. The scarcity of Chicanas in institutions of higher education requires that we join together to identify our common problems, to support each other and to define collective solutions. Our purpose is to fight the race, class, and gender oppression we have experienced in the universities. Further, we reject the separation of academic scholarship and community involvement. Our research strives to bridge the gap between intellectual work and active commitment to our communities. We draw upon a tradition of political struggle. We see ourselves developing strategies for social change–a change emanating from our communities. We declare the commitment to seek social, economic, and political change throughout our work and collective action. We welcome Chicanas who share these goals and invite them to join us. Adopted June 1983