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PBS re-makes history with Latino Americans

PBS Remakes History - photo Frank MontanezFrom 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 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

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:

Latino Americans will premiere on PBS Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 and on Vme on Saturday, September 20th.

For more information about Latino Americans, visit :


By Being Latino Contributor, Tanisha Love Ramirez.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. Mayra says:

    I would like to speak about the great salvadorian movement in the 1980’s and the reason why there is such a big population both east and west, many think of us as gang members because of MS13 when really the main reason many came here from that small country in Central America is because of the civil war between the government and the people, the rich and the poor, military and non military!! Want to also embrace that not all Latinos are of Mexican descendant and how the media portrays every Latino looking person as Mexican not by what that persons heritage is really from! Every Latino has a different culture, yes we come from Latin America consisting of north, central,South America and the carribean but we all have different sayings and beliefs and cultures and customs, from Mexican celebrating dia de los muertos to 5 Central American countries having the same Independence Day, to panama having the Panama Canal to South America each country having their own unique culture, Peru has the inca natives in their blood, to Bolivia having their unique dance of the what sounds like chains because of the slaves, how Colombia and Venezuela and Ecuador having almost the same kind of flag because of Simon bolivar fighting from Spanish rule for independence, chile having lived thru that dictatorship, Argentina and its gouchos, Paraguay how they embrace their culture and dance of the bottle and Uruguay with also it’s own kind of music due to slavery and then comes the Caribbean in which there is a vast majority of African decendance because even they also were part of the slave trade, part of the slave triangle and another very big major thing how only on the Atlantic coast of Latin America will u find African decendance because of that very slave triangle!! That you won’t find in the history books unless you search for it individually and searching the history of each country and mapping out your own visionary!

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