From conquistadors to Dolores Huerta to your mami, papi, and abuelita, Latinos and their experiences have been woven into the great tapestry of America’s history since even before there was a United States of America to speak of.
Latinos have helped to shape the history of the United States for over five centuries. Yet, our stories, our histories and our contributions have often been overlooked within history books and mainstream media. The new PBS documentary, Latino Americans, will change that. Produced by Adriana Bosch and narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt, Latino Americans will feature the varied stories of historic, legendary and every day Latino Americans.
American Latinos is a three part, six-hour series set to air on three consecutive Tuesdays during Hispanic Heritage month, starting September 17th. The documentary is part of a larger, bilingual initiative which includes an interactive digital campaign “designed to motivate viewers, listeners, and digital media users to engage in discussions, explore their communities and share their stories, bringing texture and immediacy to the Latino Americans series.” Individuals are invited to share their experiences, thoughts and stories at pbs.org/latino-americans and participate in a larger, ongoing conversation about Latinos’ contribution to our shared past, present and future by using the project hashtag #LatinosPBS on Twitter. The public can submit video submissions now at pbs.org/latino-americans/en/send-videos/.
Latino Americans is a long-overdue initiative, 500 years in the making. The documentary is novel in many ways, but especially in how it provides a platform for every Latino—past, present, famous and every day ordinary—to participate in the creation and preservation of a unique history that bridges the Latino experience with the American history—and history in the making.
In addition to providing Latinos with an interactive platform from which to share their stories, Latino Americans joins an evolving movement of producers, directors, and journalists making what Soledad O’Brien called, during her interview with Jorge A. Plasencia,a t the Hispanicize 2013 closing Latinnovator luncheon, “stories that matter.” In her interview with Voxxi’s Aiyanna Baida, Latino Americans’ producer Adriana Bosch said,
“I think it is very important to have Latinos involved in stories about Latinos… I don’t believe in an absolute Latino presence in stories about Latinos, but I think the creative presence… is crucial. So to me it’s about how you staff a project. And how much voice Latinos have in the public television system.”
Latino Americans joins Soledad O’Brien’s Latino in America series, Miguel Picker’s Latinos Beyond the Reel and Edward James Olmos’ Filly Brown, in a growing library of Latino-produced documentaries and films.
Latino content producers who are interested in creating platforms for more Latino stories to be shared should check out the National Association of Latino Independent Producers or the Writers Guild of America, West’s Latino Writers Committee.
If you would like to contribute your story to Latino Americans’ interactive digital campaign, submit your video here: pbs.org/latino-americans/en/send-videos/.
Latino Americans will premiere on PBS Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 and on Vme on Saturday, September 20th.
For more information about Latino Americans, visit : http://www.pbs.org/latino-americans/en/
By Being Latino Contributor, Tanisha Love Ramirez.