Chris Newman is the Legal Director for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). He has worked with NDLON since 2002 and was hired as its first attorney in 2004. He coordinates NDLON’s work to defend and advance day laborers’ rights. Before working at NDLON, he was the founding coordinator of the Wage Clinic and Legal Program at El Centro Humanitario para los Trabajadores, a day laborer work center in Denver, CO. He was the recipient of an Academy of Educational Development New Voices Fellowship. He is a Transatlantic Forum on Migration and Integration Fellow at the German Marshall Fund. He earned his J.D. with high honors from the University of Denver College of Law. He lives in Los Angeles.
Mr. Newman has lectured on the film “The Salt of the Earth” at the University of California, Los Angeles as well as other institutions of higher learning. Mr. Newman’s interest in the “Salt of the Earth coincides with his work defending and advancing day laborer’s rights.
“The Salt of the Earth” is perhaps the first feminist movie ever made in Hollywood. It is certainly the first film that depicted the struggle of Latina women for dignity and justice. It is also a movie that was profoundly important to the Mexican American labor movement of the fifties and again to the Chicano movement in late sixties and seventies. Tragically it was released in the midst of the Communist scare and the McCarthy era. It’s pro-labor stance and the producer’s collaboration with a leftist union, Mine Mill International, caused right wing panic in Washington and Hollywood. It was blacklisted immediately after its release. It was shown in only 13 commercial theaters. However it became an underground inspirational film shown in Union halls and Mexican church basements across the southwest.
Alfredo Gutierrez’s political memoir, To Sin Against Hope, describes the importance of the movie to one small mining town in Arizona. Read the excerpt from his book here: