We’ve just posted to the main website the second installment of “News From the Exec” (under Leadership). The first few paragraphs are below, or click on the title to read the full report:
A MALCS Special Gathering: A Report from the Executive Committee”
Introduction and Overview
In the April of 2010, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed SB1070, one of the strictest anti-immigration measures in recent history, into law. Shortly after that, political leaders called for a boycott of the state. MALCS, like many other academic organizations, decided to boycott and not hold our summer institute originally scheduled for Arizona State University in July of 2010. The circumstances surrounding our decision to boycott raised questions about MALCS’s organizational structures and processes. It became clear that as an organization it was time for us to revisit our mission as well as our communication and decision-making processes. The Executive Committee called for a national meeting, a “Special Gathering” that would give us an opportunity to discuss these and other issues critical to the future of MALCS. The Special Gathering, a one-day meeting held November 7, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas, was attended by mujeres from across the country.
What follows is a three-part report from the Executive Committee outlining the events that led to the Special Gathering, articulating key points made during the gathering, and providing an assessment and articulation of the next steps MALCS should take in order to ensure its success in the 21st century.
2 thoughts on “MALCS Special Gathering: A Report Back”
Thank you, Executive Committee, for the thoughtful and thought-provoking Report in the Special Gathering. I would like to add a few thoughts and observations to the dialog:
1) Infrastructure: The organization needs to consider the process of selecting a home for the journal, a task that reoccurs every five years, and fiscal and other responsibilities of producing a flagship journal, which at this point is the only interdisciplinary flagship journal of a Latino/a organization.
How and who will primarily lead the charge to locate the next journal editor when Josie Mendez-Negrete’s term expires in 2015? How can MALCS generate the funds to carry the fiscal cost of the producing the journal?
How can MALCS involve the organization in this process?
Similarly, how can the organization avoid practices that conflict with the production of the journal?
2) Membership: what is the relationship between membership and the journal? Currently, members receive the journal as a benefit of membership and in order to gain economic autonomy, the number of members should hit around 800, paying the lowest fee. Is it reasonable to aim for this goal over the coming years? It is certainly prudent as college’s and university’s are reducing budgets and cutting programs that are directly connected to or staffed by our scholars and creative writers.
3) Mentorship and development of membership: Currently, the journal has two successful mentorship initiatives. The writing workshops are held annually at the MALCS summer institute and facilitators teach and model feminist editorial practices; provide extensive editorial assistance to authors who wish to publish in the MALCS journal, and create a discourse community that can sustain peer-mentorship after the workshop as authors revise their work and ready it for submission to the journal. The journal also matches authors with senior or mid-career professors who provide one-on-one mentorship. This nine-month editorial project allows authors to revise a work three or more times and receive extensive feedback on their writing. Both initiatives are designed as collaborations that foster an article into print and build the field of Chicana/Latina studies. I have yet to learn of a comparable initiative in higher education that is low cost and as extensive. (Projects such as these typically cost $1,000 or more).
Let’s recognize what we are already doing and find ways to build on these successes of the journal. Perhaps MALCS can take the writing workshop on the road? Travel to regions of the USA and offer the workshop to faculty through their institutions? This could produce some revenue for the organization and build collaborations within regions. Or weave it into the every-other-year conference schedule?
Unidos vencermos, or alternatively in the imagined feminist lexicon, unidas vencermos.
I am a bit confused about the by laws here because I do not see Caucuses listed. There must have been another by laws written up later? Also, I noted that the Caucus leadership is no longer on the site. Is that because there were no elections last year? Now that I think about it, I do remember seeing another set of bylaws on the older MALCS website.