Latinx students have a long history of organizing at the University of Michigan. Students in the 1960’s built Los Trabjadores de La Raza and MEChA to advocate for institutional change and the inclusion of Chicanx and Latinx students on campus, students in the 1980’s and 1990’s similarly created SALSA (Alianza) and La Voz Mexicana (La Voz Latina) to continue the legacy of holistically supporting the community, while voicing the need for representation, support, and space. The founding of La Casa is embedded in this history and recognizes that its existence pushes back against narratives that erase the Latinx presence on campus and its significant contributions to campus, both historically and currently.
In the Fall of 2016, Latinx student members of PILOT, a leadership organization on campus, organized and hosted the “Latinx Meet and Greet;” an event intended to create a space for networking and community building. On November 8, 2016 more than 130 undergraduate and graduate students attended the event and demonstrated the untapped power and potential of U-M’s Latinx community. Inspired by the success of the event and responding to the need for a central Latinx organization, students from that committee reached out to other interested individuals, built a tentative organizational structure, and held a community gathering. On November 30, 2016, the community gathered and members decided upon a mission and purpose for the organization, elected board members, and agreed upon the name, La Casa
On January 24, 2017, more than 150 students, staff, and faculty members attended La Casa’s first mass meeting in the School of Education’s Prechter Lab. U-M’s Latinx community officially had a central organization, Latinx community members finally had a home on campus, and standing on the giant shoulders of their predecessors, the next generation of Latinx organizing and activism was born.