Like many Latino kids growing up in the United States, my “exotic” name was often a source of confusion and tongue twisting. My non-Latino friends or teachers got lost within the sea of rolling R’s and excessive syllables, and I’d try my hardest to fit in by simply becoming ‘Danielle.’ (Is the extra ‘A’ that difficult anyway?) This is only one example of the kinds of experiences that many Latinos share in this country. In a one-of-a-kind project, non-profit organization StoryCorps has given millions of Americans the opportunity to record and preserve their life stories, and literally, have their voices heard.
NBCLatino recently highlighted Ramon Sanchez, a Chicano activist who told the story of ‘Facundo, the Great,’ a classmate whose name caused concern in his elementary school for its lack of a proper American translation. Rather than “Americanize” his name, as many of his classmates were prompted to do, Facundo remained Facundo, and the Mary’s (Maria) and Raymond’s (Ramon) looked to him as a hero. StoryCorps Historias,the division who records and preserves the unique stories of Latinos across the country, says that ‘Facundo, the Great’ was always one of the most beloved stories, and it was soon included into its series of animated shorts. Through the help of their Kickstarter campaign, StoryCorps will now produce a half-hour series of animations that will air on PBS in the Fall of 2013.
If you want to talk about your abuelos’ journey to the U.S., share the history of a family recipe, or anything in between, go to StoryCorps Historias, where you can find a location to record your story and have your voice be a part of the diverse American fabric for years to come.