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'Vivan Las Voces' Initiative Brings Community Stories to Light

Conversations between friends and family highlight uniquely Hispanic experiences

doctor gina miranda diaz with her son alexander

Storycorps

Gina Miranda-Diaz

As a child, Gina Miranda-Diaz spent summers in Puerto Rico with relatives, and that experience helped shape whom she became as an adult. The island was where she honed her Spanish and where she truly felt at home.

“The best moments of my youth were spent in Puerto Rico,” she says.

Miranda-Diaz’s Puerto Rican heritage even played a role in her career as a nurse. Because she became fluent on her summer trips, her father signed her up to be a hospital translator and she saw the importance of being able to communicate and advocate for Spanish speakers around their health. Miranda-Diaz, 59, is now a leader in the nursing field, especially when it comes to advocating for Hispanic patients and nurses.

In an interview for Vivan Las Voces, a partnership between AARP’s Office of Community Engagement and StoryCorps, Miranda-Diaz talks to her son Alexander Diaz about the role Puerto Rico has played in her life. She describes her love of the island, its impact on her career and her efforts to send help to Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Vivan Las Voces is a special initiative between AARP and StoryCorps — an organization that collects and preserves diverse stories in cooperation with the Library of Congress.

“I wanted to tell my story through my eyes, through the lens of a girl who grew up there as a child, who learned to ride a bike there,” Miranda-Diaz says.

How to Record Your Story

  • Choose the person you want to interview.
  • Prepare questions, but also use the StoryCorps Great Questions guide as a resource.
  • Create a StoryCorps account at archive.storycorps.org
  • Schedule the interview.
  • Log in to storycorpsconnect.org and start the conversation.
  • Save the conversation: Click on “Stop Recording” and on “Save Interview.” Give your story a descriptive title, summary, keywords and a photo to make it easier for you to find your interview in the future.
  • Tag the conversation with #VivanLasVoces so that your story is part of the project. 

That’s the beauty of StoryCorps and Vivan Las Voces: The stories are authentic, emotional, meaningful and powerful, says Alissa Pelc, managing director for corporate partnerships and strategic engagement at StoryCorps.

Vivan Las Voces “helps us ensure that the conversations we’re recording and preserving and this national archive of stories reflects the true diversity of our country,” Pelc says. “It helps amplify and share voices that are not always heard in mainstream media.”

Participation is easy

For Vivan Las Voces, AARP and StoryCorps are asking people across the diverse Hispanic and Latino communities to share meaningful conversations, ask important questions and honor loved ones through the experience. Typically participants are interviewed by a friend or relative who knows them, enhancing the conversation.

The project complements AARP’s existing community outreach, says Nicole Macias, senior adviser for multicultural strategy and integration with AARP's Office of Community Engagement.  

“So much of what we do is listening to community members, listening to the volunteers, listening to partners,” she says. “It’s in that activity of listening that you really start to understand what that community needs and how you can be an authentic partner in your work.”

Through Vivan Las Voces, AARP and StoryCorps will continue to record and collect important conversations and experiences from those in the Hispanic community, Macias says.

 

“With the Vivan las Voces program we celebrate past, present and future,” she says. “As communities, we can only be stronger by learning from the successes and sometimes the challenges that those that came before us have faced.”

For Miranda-Diaz, the opportunity to record her story brought her closer to her son. “I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for him to have a story to tell his children and his grandchildren when I’m gone,” she says. “It was special and it was personal.”

Want to Hear More Stories?

Join AARP and StoryCorps for a virtual event on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. ET to celebrate Latino voices from the AARP community and StoryCorps Historias: an initiative dedicated to documenting and preserving stories from the Latino community. This free event will be in English, with Spanish captions available. Register here.

To hear more stories in both English and Spanish, visit AARP's Vivan Las Voces story collection.

Michelle Davis joined AARP in 2020 and oversees the Home & Family section of aarp.org. Previously, she was the senior writer and social media strategist for EdWeek Market Brief and a senior correspondent at Education Week. She also spent five years as a regional correspondent in Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau, covering Congress and the White House.

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