Mexican American Political Association
Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) is an organization that promotes the interests of Mexican-Americans, Mexicans, Latinos, Chicanos, Hispanics and Latino economic refugees in the United States.
The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) was organized by 150 volunteer delegates at Fresno in April 1960 as a means to elect Mexican American candidates to public office. Edward R. Roybal, later elected to the United States House of Representatives, served as its first chair/president. Throughout the 1960s, MAPA was active in the Civil Rights Movement and the Chicano political movement. MAPA members also aided Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in political and labor negotiations. They also realized their first electoral victories that year. During the 1970s, MAPA saw more successful campaigns by Mexican American candidates, but also won important appointments in the administration of California Governor Jerry Brown. The 1980s were characterized by continued efforts to elect Mexican American candidates, and in the 1990s MAPA was a co-filer of the suit against Proposition 187.
MAPA is a grass roots-based coalition with an organizational structure that functions as a collective of communal circles working together, at different levels, towards political empowerment, self-determination and sustainability of the Latino community’s future.
MAPA is officially a non-partisan organization and welcomes members of any political affiliation. Currently, members partake in various parties including Democrat, Republican, Green, Peace and Freedom as well as others. The association is composed of members of Mexican, Chicano, Latino and Meso-Native American heritage. Although the majority of members are Democrats as it is the case with most Latinos in the United States, all members understand the common issues that must be tackled to ensure a healthy and strong future for all Latinos in the United States.
- Edward Roybal, 1960–1962
- Julius Castellum, 1962
- Eduardo Quevedo, 1963–1966
- Bert Corona, 1966–1971
- Armando Rodriguez, 1971–1973
- Margaret Cruz, 1973–1975
- Manuel Lopez, 1975 – 1977
- Eduardo Sandoval, 1977 – 1981
- Julio Calderon, 1981 – 1983
- Fernando Chavez, 1983 – 1985
- Beatriz Molina, 1985 – 1989
- Ben Benavidez, 1989 – 1995
- Hector Brolo, 1995 – 1997
- Ben Benavidez, 1997 – 1999
- Gloria Torres, 1999 – 2001
- Ben Benavidez, 2001 – 2003
- Nativo Lopez, 2004–2012
- Juan "Ralphy" Avitia, 2013–2015
MAPA is a civil and human rights organization that fights against the discrimination and political disenfranchisement of Latinos in particular and low-income people of color in general.
Originally founded to create political empowerment of Mexican Americans and defend against exploitation and abuses of farm workers in Central California's San Joaquin Valley as well as to remedy the lack of political representation. MAPA continues to be dedicated to the constitutional and democratic principle of political freedom and representation for the Mexican and Hispanic people of the United States of America.
MAPA was "instrumental" in carrying the Democratic Latino vote for John and Robert Kennedy in California, as well as for Governor Jerry Brown, and has claimed to have been instrumental in the election of most Mexican Americans in elected office at all levels from U.S. Congress to small-town City council.
MAPA opposed any laws in effect, proposed or otherwise, it deems discriminatory in nature against, not only Hispanics but the population in general, and has succeeded in overturning laws proven unconstitutional in court.
MAPA opposes racist entities and the existence of organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, National Alliance, Neo-Nazis and other such criminal racist groups and individuals. In recent years[when?] it has created alliances with several civil rights organizations such as American Civil Liberties Union, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAHR, National Council of La Raza and various Asian-American groups and has striven to strengthen ties with Indian tribal communities and other ethnics groups.
MAPA is a progressive organization[according to whom?] which advocates for the advancement of the Mexican-American people and Latinos of the United States, first and foremost, but also advocates for the civil and human rights of disenfranchised people of color in general. MAPA has advised other ethnic groups like the Hmong community in the U.S. on the process of political empowerment for their peoples. In 1995, under the leadership of Ben Benavidez and Toulu Tou, the Hmong American Political Association (HAPA) was born, sister organization to MAPA. It also challenges laws and legislation that it considers to be racist and discriminatory in nature.
To accomplish the goal of political empowerment for Mexican Americans, MAPA trains campaign workers, registers voters, raises funds, lobbies officials, endorses candidates, and monitors judicial appointments. They have also used grassroots tactics, public relations, and demonstrations.
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- American GI Forum
- William C. Velasquez Institute
- Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP)
- United Farm Workers Association
- Brown Berets
- Chicano Politics: Reality & Promise 1940-1990, Juan Gomez-Quinonez, p. 67