Ramón “Chunky” Sanchez was a Chicano activist who protested with César Chávez as a teen in the 1950’s. He dedicated his adult life to cumbia and norteño music and by writing protest songs with lyrics like “Educate, don’t incarcerate.” He even became a bard in his San Diego community. For more than three decades, he never stopped using his words to educate and inform.
He says it was common practice, during his youth, for teachers at his elementary school to Americanize the Mexican-American students’ names. This happened until one day, a new student named Facundo came to school, and the teachers didn’t know how to Americanize his name, so it stuck. He became a hero for the other Mexican-American kids. Years later, Sanchez decided to tell that story to StoryCorps in 2006. Today, the animation has been launched to accompany his narration, called “Facundo the Great”.
“By the time I was in the second grade, everyone was calling me Raymond,” says Sanchez in his deep, strong voice.
StoryCorps captured his story to be heard by all, and it is archived in the Library of Congress.
Maya Millett, 27, the production coordinator who worked on the look of the characters and writing the text of the animation, says Chunky’s story was beloved at StoryCorps ever since he came in to record it.
“We always thought of that story as great for animation, because Chunky Sanchez has a big voice and the story itself…it’s funny, it’s engaging, and it’s also a story we felt we could share for those who might not know about the subject matter,” says Millett. “Behind it, there’s a powerful message.”
“Even though we are animating the story, we want to be as real as possible to the character,” says Millett of each animation which takes about four months of work to complete.
StoryCorps Historias is an initiative to record the diverse stories and life experiences of Latinos in the United States. There are 2 ways you can participate in StoryCorps Historias:
· Individuals and families can make a reservation to record stories at one of our recording locations.
· Organizations, institutions, and companies can become a StoryCorps Historias community partner.
Listen to Historias recordings.