I was born in Santa Rita, 1947. I saw the film when I was in my 50s, Mi Ranchito sold it. My dad’s, brother-in-law’s mother was in the strike. And my husband was in the strike, he was 5 or 6 years old. My parents never talked to me about it. I only found out about it when I bought the movie in the 90s.
In 1950, my mother was at home with brand new baby and two younger daughters (two and three years old), so she wasn’t able to participate in the strike. In 1959 my dad went to California to work because there was another strike. He came back for Thanksgiving and took us with him to Monterey Park. I was only there a few weeks and when I enrolled in school the administrators didn’t know New Mexico was a state! The strike broke after Christmas and we came back home to Santa Rita, but I can’t remember what the specifics were then. I just remember the strikes were something that we were anxious about because we never knew if were going to strike or not; everyone looked forward to the renewal of the contracts, every 3 years.
I think the strikes were important because it gained people benefits that they didn’t have: pregnant women time off, salary increases. After the breaking of the union, those currently employed at the mines either do not know or are not aware of the sacrifices that the old union members made.
Sometime in the late 40-50s, Chino Federal Credit Union was established and made it easy for Chino employees to have payroll deductions for savings and loans. If you needed money to buy a living room set, cars, or whatever, they made it easy for us to apply for a loan.
I would like to see the hall turn into a museum, with pictures or memorabilia, so that the history could be preserved for future generations.