Initiative to record Hispanics' stories
By Maria Andrea Rodriguez
StoryCorps, a project aimed at chronicling the stories of Americans nationwide, arrived at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, on Jan. 7 in an effort to gather stories for its Historias Initiative.
The project, started this past September, hopes to gather the biggest oral-history collection featuring Latinos. Stories will be collected in a StoryCorps Airstream trailer equipped with a recording studio that will be stationed at the Wolfson Campus for four weeks, recording the anecdotes and experiences of Miami’s Latino community.
Dr. Mercedes Quiroga, Wolfson’s Campus President, along with her husband, Manny Quiroga, was among the first participants.
“[It was a] wonderful experience, very intimate, and rewarding,” she said. “…The Wolfson Campus is the perfect place because many Hispanics come to school [here],” she added.
StoryCorps started in 2003, with funding by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Since then, they have collected interviews from more than 50,000 participants in all 50 states.
“We believe everyone has a story worth sharing and preserving,” says Whitney Henry-Lester, site supervisor of the MobileBooth. “We record conversations or interviews between loved ones. People [can] bring in a member of their family, or a friend, a coworker, or teacher, anyone.”
StoryCorps plans to collect 120 stories for Historias, and will air a selection of local recordings in partnership with WDNA-FM. StoryCorps may also air some segments on NPR's Morning Edition.
During the taping, participants will “spend 40 minutes having a conversation that gets recorded on a CD that they take home at the end,” says Henry-Lester. Participants then have the option to add their recording to the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, “...so that the public has access, and the story will live for generations,” adds Henry-Lester.
Historias is not the only initiative currently being carried out by StoryCorps. “In addition to Historias, we have Griot, an initiative to record the stories of African Americans, and our Memory Loss initiative, [which] focuses on the stories of people with Alzheimer's or other memory loss,” says Henry-Lester.
“StoryCorps started with one recording booth in Grand Central Station in [New York] in 2003, and in 2005 we were able to start our Mobile tour and hit the road,” says Henry-Lester. “We've continued to expand since then,” says Henry-Lester.
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