Always take sides. Nuetrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. – Elie Wiesel
The Empire Zinc mine strike spanned fifteen months, from October 1950 to January 1952, the longest strike in New Mexico’s history. The job action of the men and women of the Local 890 captured such national attention, that independent film producers, Paul and Sylvia Jerrico, were inspired to make a film based on the incident, Salt of the Earth (released in 1954). The Salt of the Earth Recovery Project examines how Salt of the Earth complicated common stereotypes of Mexican-origin peoples in a Cold War political environment and U.S. popular culture. With bracero worker agreements under increased scrutiny and U.S.-Mexico repatriation efforts in full force through paramilitary operatives such as “Operation Wetback,” Salt of the Earth humanized mexicano laborers, exposed exploitive work conditions, interrogated environmental impact of the mining industry, and challenged the local political situation.