Angeles Soriano Current Student in the National Leadership School for Strategic Organizing, Taking Action Ouchi Alumni
Women have been at the forefront of some of the most transformative movements, but are often overlooked. Men are given the credit, the celebrations, for something they contributed but did not necessarily strategize. The Salt of the Earth is a powerful movie that really showcases the power of women, especially when they come together. Apart from empowering Latina women, the film also reveals deeper issues facing Latinos, like machismo. The movie begins with revealing the harsh working conditions that the miners work in, and the fact that the company valued money over the safety of the worker. While the men went striking, the women focused on receiving the letters and donations to help the union. The miners decided to take action by forming a union but were threatened with their jobs. The job that barely makes enough money for them to support their families. In the end, the women took over. They were promoted from pouring coffee to marching in a circle, fighting for the rights of their husbands. This was not easy and they were often not taken seriously by the police officers. However, they were a force to be reckoned with. When confronted, they did not back down. They stood their ground and suffered the consequences with dignity. It was powerful to see how women came from 10, 20, even 30 miles away to support each other. While women became occupied with the strike, we saw the gender roles change and the men experienced the hardships the women went through as well. At the end, it was empowering to see men and women unite to save the home of one of their own. The pre-existing boundaries between gender roles were gone in that moment and it was amazing to see. Their battle was a victory, not just or them, but for future generations. As a Latina woman, this film really connected with me because I saw people who looked like me and were able to accomplish something great. Despite the restrictions and treatment given to them by men, they did not let it get in the way of succeeding. It was nice to have a film that recognized the efforts and work of the women, rather than crediting men again. This is by far, my new favorite film.
Kassandra Soriano Current Student in the National Leadership School for Strategic Organizing,Taking Action Ouchi High School
The Salt of the Earth really showcases the power of women and shows the strength of brother and sisterhood. At the beginning of this film, Mexican Workers had been planning to go on strike against the company because they wanted equal treatment between Mexican-Americans and Anglos. These men built a union and had evening meetings to talk about their next steps. On the other hand, women were also getting frustrated and wanted to go on strike for better sanitation in plumbing. As the men were on strike, the company finally got an injunction against them. The union was stuck, they could continue and go to jail or they could stop. At this point you could see a shift in the people that supported the union. There were now more women there and they proposed to take over the protest since they weren’t mine workers. This proposal changed how the union ran because women were now able to vote and they even got the votes for them to take over the protests. You begin to see how the mentalities of the men and women are different; the men say “we want to go down fighting” and the women say “we want to win.” We see how people start to come together especially when Quintero is being evicted from his house. They realize that together they are more powerful and that is something that we see in the Strategy Center. The film was very powerful and a great way to show organizing back then. I enjoyed this film very much and would recommend it to everyone, join us this Thursday at 6pm to watch it and have a discussion afterwards.
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