Before I was like 13, I never heard anything about the strike. But when I got to 7th grade, my Spanish teacher was really involved with the strike. She was really passionate about it, even though it wasn’t really about the class. She showed us the movie Salt of the Earth.
I asked her, “this is in our mine … it’s in this movie?”
Even in high school, I figured out one of my substitute teachers was almost in the film, but she told us that she couldn’t be in the movie because her dad said she had to go to school during they days they were filming.
Yeah, so she showed us the film and she was really hyped about it. And she kind of introduced us to the building by showing us pictures and stuff. She said it was like a historical marker.
I was like, “what the heck?”
I kind of learned about it through education when I was young, and then when I came to University of New Mexico I was introduced to the significance of it again through my instructor Zak’s class, English 120. I knew it was a strike but I didn’t know it was about Hispanic and Women’s civil rights.
This whole thing, the strike and its impact, was bigger than I thought. My Spanish teacher in middle school wanted to show us that our town, Bayard, has history that is worth exploring. I think she just wanted to show us that the Union Hall could still be something if its cared for. When I was young it was just a building, but now I guess it’s made my little town of Bayard seem a lot bigger.
I think it would be cool if the Cobre District (Bayard, Hurley, Santa Clara, Mimbres) could introduce the history of the strike to the students. People just need to realize that it has a really big cultural significance; it means more to the people and their culture than to the country. I think that the school district should make it a part of the curriculum. I thought it was weird that we had to learn about this in our Spanish class and not our History classes.
Besides just making a part of the curriculum, they could make it a “day”, just like we have a day for our wrestling team. They could just make a “day”, if it means that much to the community they could make it a holiday, a day with purpose. Maybe the building could be refurbished, and kids can go on fieldtrips to it. Maybe like use it for events and stuff, or a museum like how the Fort Bayard Days used to be.
If I could figure out that this was important, I hope that the rest of my community can too; if I can see the significance, I hope that my community can see it too.