Bilingual is Better

Before I share “Facundo the Great” with you, let me tell you a little about StoryCorps – because what they do is pretty amazing. StoryCorps is an independent non-profit and since 2003 they have been collecting true stories, oral histories, from Americans of all backgrounds. The stories are recorded during interviews, and each participant (80,000 so far!) receives a free CD to keep and pass down to future generations. Each of these stories is also preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and many are broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition.

What is the point of recording these stories? StoryCorps explains, “We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, strengthen and build the connections between people, teach the value of listening, and weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that every life matters. At the same time, we will create an invaluable archive of American voices and wisdom for future generations.”

I’ve known about this project for a few years and really love it. When I listen to the stories, I have a tendency to become completely absorbed in them because the recordings are so intimate and special each in their own way.

This one I’m going to share with you was animated and while it talks about the very serious topic of how Latinos were once forced to Anglicize their names here in the United States, it turns out to be really humorous as well. The story is about Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez who was “raised in a small farming community in southern California in the 1950s. As was common practice at that time, teachers at his local elementary school Anglicized the Mexican American students’ names. Here, Chunky remembers a new classmate who proved to be the exception to the rule.”

StoryCorps is looking to create their first full-length animation special for TV – If you want to help make that happen, you can check out their Kickstarter page.

In the meantime, you can find many more stories on StoryCorps.org, or perhaps you or a family member have a story to tell? (Maybe your parents or your abuela?) Find out how you can be a part of the project.

What story would you tell?

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