I first want to express my sincere gratitude to the members of ALLA for their confianza in allowing me the opportunity to continue the forward momentum of our projects and goals. I believe strongly that we can move ALLA to a stronger position within AAA, and in doing so increase the intellectual presence of ALLA members in shaping the agenda of our broader organization. In addition, I want to again publicly thank our former President Miguel Díaz-Barriga, who through his vision and leadership fostered our membership growth and placed in motion key actions such as the revision of our bylaws, the development of statement on migration, and initiated the adoption of a DREAM Act resolution, and coordinated the implementation of a solid program (under the leadership of Rocío Magaña). It is my hope to build on the foundation that Miguel worked so hard to reinforce.
Although we ran out of time for me to present some programmatic ideas at our Business Meeting in San Francisco, I will outline some of these here. One of these initiatives has already materialized. At the San Francisco meeting the Committee on Minorities in Anthropology concurred in revising the US citizenship requirement in the Minority Dissertation Fellowship. The eligibility now reads as follows: “An applicant must be: (1) a US citizen, or have graduated from a US high school, or completed a GED certificate in the United States.” The AAA fellowship now reflects a more inclusive orientation.
A second strategy that I would like to pursue is the encouragement of ALLA members to seek elected positions within AAA. I see value in encouraging Latina and Latino anthropologists to be in the decision making structure of AAA.
A third strategy, given the breadth of expertise within ALLA, is to encourage the public scholarship of ALLA members in the current and future debates regarding “comprehensive immigration reform.” From my personal view, there are several components in the current proposal outlines being circulated that we can be positively excited about; yet there are also elements that will encourage the exploitation of Latina and Latino migrants.
Again, thank you for your support and I look forward to working with ALLA members.
Luis FB Plascencia (Arizona State U) is president of ALLA.
Alex Chavez (U Illinois at Chicago) and Santiago Guerra (Colorado C) are contributing editors of ALLA’s column in AN.