Mujeres Talk: State of the Organization – MALCS Executive Committee Working on Major Initiatives

For several years now, the MALCS Executive Committee has been working on critical initiatives, projects it believes will fortify the foundation of the organization for the next period of time.

photo-4Bylaws Revision. As members know, particularly those who attended the 2012 Summer Institute in Los Angeles, the Executive Committee has been working on a revision of the MALCS by-laws. While many of the changes proposed will be minor, changes in wording or changes meant to bring our bylaws in line with our practice, other proposed changes will be more substantive: about membership, voting procedures, the Summer Institute, etc. After many months of discussing, writing, and rewriting among the members of the EC and with the membership at large, the Executive Committee will post our bylaws proposal in late May or early June. More information about the processes we will use to discuss and vote will be posted with the proposal.

Communications. Historically, MALCS members have had two formal opportunities to communicate: the Summer Institute and the journal. More recently, with much thanks to Susana Gallardo, the MALCS website has become another important source of information for members. Over the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that the web will continue to be an important site for communications. Understanding that, the Executive Committee has established a working group addressing communications issues. Convened by Chair-elect Theresa Delgadillo, this group will investigate a question I heard Ex-oficio Keta Miranda ask many times last year: how can we use the web as a venue to support and increase the vibrancy and vitality of this organization? The Communications and Web Team includes Susana Gallardo, Keta Miranda, Marivel Danielson, Seline Szupinksi Quiroga and Elisa Huerta.

Resolution on Institutional Violence. At the 2011 Summer Institute, a group of mujeres proposed a resolution calling on Chicano/a Studies to address institutionalized violence—specifically sexism, misogyny, and homophobia—within Chicano/a Studies programs. The resolution enthusiastically passed. Since the Institute, an ad hoc group, convened by Keta Miranda, has been working: clarifying the issues and developing strategies to address the set of concerns that prompted the resolution. More information will follow as specific actions are identified and organized.

Membership Drive. Marivel Danielson, Membership Coordinator, is developing a new membership drive for MALCS. She has several goals in mind: to make it easier for members to renew their memberships, and to get information about MALCS into the hands of prospective members more often and more easily. More information about the membership drive will be forthcoming in the next few months.

Funds Development. There is no doubt that we are an established organization. Our annual meeting and our journal are manifestations of that success. The members of the Executive Committee have started to ask, what’s next? What can we do to build on that success? One response: raise funds that will support and extend the work we do. To that end, we already accept donations large and small, restricted and unrestricted. We are now working to establish a more formal giving structure, which will articulate more and more fully developed giving options and benefits. In addition to that, we have discovered a number of charitable foundations that have goals that match or complement ours. We are researching and discussing the feasibility of applying to the grant programs of these organizations.

Other Projects on the Horizon. There are a number of other projects in the works as well. For example, the Executive Committee is developing or revising core organizational documents including an Administrative Policies and Procedures manual, a Summer Institute handbook, and a procedures and operations manual for the journal. We believe these improvements in our institutional structure are essential for the long-term health of the organization.

Like you, the members of the Executive Committee value this organization. Each of us has a story or two or three about the ways in which MALCS has made a difference in our own professional and personal lives. Our work, as members of the Executive Committee, is meant to be a promise to current and future members that MALCS will continue to be a source of support, insight, and inspiration.

Mónica F. Torres is the 2011-2012 Chair of MALCS and is on the faculty of New Mexico State University. She served as Chair Elect of MALCS from 2009-2011.