Kicking off Hispanic Heritage month, StoryCorps Historias celebrated it’s one-year anniversary at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City’s East Village. The ceremonies began with an introduction by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay, and Historias Coordinator, Gabriel Higueras spoke of the the initiative’s remarkable achievement.
“We launched the Historias Initiative in Washington DC in September 2009, with the goal of recording 700 interviews. The response from community organizations and individuals was phenomenal – people want to be heard, people want to be counted – and this has nothing to do with the census. Within one year, we recorded 1400 stories of Latinos, and StoryCorps Historias now stands as the largest single collection of Latino oral histories in the country. We recorded in over 40 cities and partnered with LatinoUSA, the Latino Public Radio Consortium, the US Latino and Latina WWII Oral History Project, and 150 other organizations. We leave local and regional archives of these recordings with educational and cultural institutions to add to their resources for preserving and promoting Latino history and culture.”
There were poetry readings and testimonials from local Historias Alumni, like husband and wife Miriam Cruz-Colon and Oscar Cruz, Dr. Carlos Sanabria, Chair of Humanities Department and Coordinator of the Latin American Studies Program at Hostos Community College, founder of Poetas con Cafe and community activist, Roger Caban, distinguished professor and author, Dr. Clara Rodriguez, spoken word artist, Emmanuel Xavier, poet and playwright, Frank Perez, one of the original Nuyorican Movement founders, Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez and Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe founder and poet Miguel Algarin. Along with the stories played from StoryCorps’ archive and the inspirational ambiance provided by the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, the evening felt like a true celebration of the power of the spoken word.