For These Two Freelancers, Hispanic Heritage Month Is Everyday
Storyhunter freelancers are embedded in and sharing nuanced stories from local communities around the world. There’s no doubt that our freelancers best represent the communities and their stories. This Hispanic Heritage Month, Storyhunter freelancers share their most cherished family traditions with us, how their heritage informs their craft, and the kinds of stories they are sharing with the world.
Laura Collazo, Digital Content Creator
Laura Collazo has spent most of her life on the North Coast of Puerto Rico, where she says every day is Hispanic Heritage Month. “We have different cultural events and festivals happening throughout the year. However, for this particular month, many towns and entities host special events to showcase Puerto Rican talent outside of the island, as well as Latin and Hispanic artists from around the globe,” Laura said.
The 24-year-old digital content creator, now based in State College, Pennsylvania, says Hispanic Heritage Month is “when the nation notices us.”
“It’s a time where we take the stage and allow ourselves to take up space without feeling bad about it,” she added.
Laura says her heritage informs all aspects of her storytelling. “I share and connect with my heritage anytime I produce a video, whether I’m speaking directly about it or not, because my culture, my perspective, my experience as a Latina is something I embody and portray in my work just as in my life. It’s in the way I look, the way I speak, the way I carry out a vision.”
Brands seek to amplify Hispanic voices during this month: Wattpad, a social storytelling platform connecting a global community of readers and writers, hired Laura to create organic UGC concepts.
“They’ve published a reading list highlighting stories written by the Latinx and Hispanic community. I have to produce videos highlighting this reading list and show how the Wattpad brand resonates with my community,” Laura said.
Carlos Cuervo, Documentary Filmmaker
At 16 years old, Carlos Cuervo was one of the youngest photographers working for a major newspaper in Bogota, Colombia, where he was born. His understanding of Latin culture started to take shape while covering the social and political climate in Colombia.
“I remember always having to work hard and make an extra effort to get my stories or images published. Since I didn’t have many financial resources, I shot my projects with leftover 35mm film from my job assignments,” he shared.
Carlos, who now lives in Snellville, Georgia, moved to the United States in 2000. He celebrates and honors his heritage through language and food.
“Finding the right ingredients in the local market and cooking my favorite Colombian dishes is something that has become a tradition at home,” he said. “Sometimes we share memories inspired by the food from different regions of my country.”
Carlos works as a documentary filmmaker and uses his craft to tell stories about the Hispanic diaspora. “My Hispanic heritage has a lot to do with my view of the world and my respect for other cultures,” he said. “The immigrant experience is always full of tension, and this friction could result in the opportunity to tell real stories.”
Paper Children is a case in point. The feature film tells the story of four siblings who fled gang violence in Honduras to confront the “terrifying, labyrinth-like US-asylum process.”
Carlos, one of the cinematographers on the project, says the film “is far from focusing on the political aspect of immigration and more on the human element that we can all relate to.”
By Shivan Sarna, Head of Stories