The New Mexico State University College of Education, Service Learning for Educational Distinction Office and Creative Media Institute are partnering to host the “Salt of the Earth” Film Festival March 10-14. All events are free and open to the public.
The film festival is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the “Salt of the Earth” film, which was released in 1954, and the life of Angelina G. Sanchez, who played Consuelo Ruiz in the film. The festival was founded to honor the film’s legacy, encourage courageous conversations and broaden the horizons of NMSU students.
Sanchez’s daughter, Elisa, created the Angelina Sanchez Memorial Endowed Scholarship to honor her late mother and to benefit Latinos at NMSU who are interested in studying abroad. Angelina Sanchez moved to New Mexico at a young age and became a life-long activist for the rights of Mexican-American workers. She was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the United Mineworkers of America during the union strike for wage equality at the Empire Zinc Mine.
In the “Salt of the Earth,” Angelina Sanchez played a miner’s wife in the fictional account of the strike. The Library of Congress called the movie one of the most important of the last century and especially important to Mexican-American history.
Elisa Sanchez grew up watching her mother fight for Latino social justice in the community and lobby for change all of her life. Elisa Sanchez also became an activist. For six years, she was the director of the NMSU ENLACE program and was a part of the ENLACE Collaborative, which created ENLACE, a program to help Latino students pursue higher education, as a major program in New Mexico.
“We are shedding light on an important Mexican-American, New Mexican and U.S. historical event,” Elisa Sanchez said. “Most people don’t realize the film was based on a true story and the struggle that Mexican-American miners and their wives and children went through to open doors of opportunity.”
The festival begins at 4 p.m. Monday, March 10, with a discussion, “Platica con Mujeres de Color: Finding Comfort in our Skin” with guest speakers Elisa Sanchez, Jonah O. Garcia, a licensed independent social worker, State Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, Olga Pedroza, a Las Cruces city councilor, and Christina Chavez Kelley, NMSU assistant vice president for student diversity-outreach, at O’Donnell Hall Room 111.
Creative media professor Phillip Lewis is leading a discussion on activism in film and how it can change the world with special guest film director Rod McCall at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at Milton Hall Room 171.
Elisa Sanchez is hosting a discussion on “Women Leaders: What does it take to be a good leader, especially for a minority woman?” at2:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at O’Donnell Hall Room 300.
The festival concludes with a screening of “Salt of the Earth” and dialogue following the film at 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 14, at the O’Donnell Hall Atrium.