The Empire Strike was very close to me. I was young. My grandfather and my father worked in Empire Zinc as miners. My father retired from the Empire Zinc as a miner. And upon graduation from high school, I worked one summer in Empire Zinc. All the men on my side were in the local 890 union. Growing up, I attended some meetings at the local 890 hall. The film, when it first came out I viewed it. My father and grandfather were both in the movie. Some of the experiences that I recall was the strike, visiting the strike area from mountainside. We were hiding so they couldn’t see us: in the mountain area. What I had heard as a kid, was that the strike was mainly the community vs the company because of the injustice in wages etc.
In reference to the women taking over the strike, when the miners were notified by the company that they would be fired, if they proceeded with the strike, my mother was unable to join the women in the strike primarily because my father did not believe that women belonged in the strike. At the present time, it is very significant to me, the history of the local 890 and the union hall because it reminds me of all the suffering that had occured during that time frame.
I strongly believe that the local 890 hall should be preserved and recognized as a national historic site. I have included some of the supporting documents for this process below. The importance the hall and strike have, I am currently involved in a group of individuals in the preservation of the legacy of the local 890.
I grew up in the southwest area, Las Cruces. We never learned about the strike or the rich history in high school. It wasn’t until I took classes in Southwest Studies and Chicano Studies at CNM and Western that I learned about the trials and hardships.I think there has been a renewed interest in the story. People are telling stories now, but it might get lost. If you look around, most of the people here are getting older; they were young when it was happening. They have that last connection to the strike. The younger generation doesn’t have that connection so they could never understand the impact that the events had without these stories. Just hearing the stories, I know that it is important to this community. I haven’t actually gone inside, but I’ve seen the outside. I think that it needs to be preserved for future generations, like a museum. I think it needs to be preserved with the people’s stories.