In January of 2009, Tony Hernandez, CEO and Co-Founder of the Latino Broadcasting Company – a minority owned nationally syndicated radio network – created The Immigrant Archive Project (IAP). The IAP is the first comprehensive oral history project on Latino immigrants in the United States and an initiative that gives voiceless Latinos a face and soul. For his part, Tony leads the team responsible for the production, editing, archiving, and TV, radio and online broadcasts of the IAP testimonies.
The Immigrant Archive Project contains stories of the Latino immigrant experience and recounts stories of personal sacrifice, drama, family separation, and of the achievement of American dreams. These are the stories of the marginalized that, until now, have gone untold. They are the stories of new arrivals, U.S. born Latinos, and of those like me that were born in a Latin-American country. Even undocumented Latinos have moved past their fears for the sake of having their stories told to future generations. They all want to use their own words to give testimony to their struggles and the gratitude felt for those that struggled on their behalf.
In a Latincast (a Dieste podcast out of Dallas, TX) interview, Tony noted there are universal themes in the interviews with one being the sense of no longer belonging in their native countries but also feeling like they didn’t belong here in the U.S. For example, a Mexican or Cuban may speak Spanish here and live in a very Latino way but, back in their respective countries, they are made to feel “American” and no longer local. Even here on Being Latino we have had discussions about this and we are reminded every time someone with no common sense tells us to speak English, we’re in America.
Tony explains how, at the beginning of every interview, most subjects claim they don’t have anything important to contribute but that is disproven the moment their stories begin to unfold. I have a couple of people right here on Being Latino that I want to nominate for being outstanding examples of nuestra gente; one for overcoming great adversity and going on to be an inspirational role model and the other for pulling us all together. Nominate your own candidates (or yourself) through The Immigrant Archive Project website and don’t forget to show your gratitude and support as a fan here on facebook.
by Alina De Varona