"Voices from the Latino Community," a series of short unscripted first-person narratives, is a featured in CNN's new documentary "Latino in America," reported by Soledad O'Brien.
The segments were created by Jody Gottlieb and Latino Media Works, an independent media company based in New York, started by Alberto Ferreras and Trina Bardusco in 2005.
O'Brien became acquainted with Ferreras when a friend recommended she read the book "B as in Beauty," a fiction novel written by Ferreras about a young Latina woman who struggles with self-esteem issues.
Ferreras and Bardusco are also the creative minds behind the HBO Latino series "Habla," which features unscripted first-person accounts of Latinos from various backgrounds, some speaking in Spanish, some in English and others in Spanglish, a mixture of both.
O'Brien was taken by the HBO series and soon realized that Ferreras was the person behind both the series and the book.
"It was serendipitous," says O'Brien of their meeting. "I had read his book and asked my assistant to reach Ferreras. At the same time he was trying to reach me to tell me about the book. It was destiny."
Soon after that meeting, CNN Productions teamed up with Latino Media Works to create "Voices of the Latino Community" for the documentary series "Latino in America."
"We want these talking portraits to show the nuances of a culture that is often misunderstood" says Bardusco.
Ferreras adds that the interviews may also help dispel media-driven stereotypes of Latinos as mostly "maids and gardeners."
"There is such a strong stereotype... that all Latinos are Mexican and Catholic and that we all look alike," says Ferreras.
"But here in just 30 seconds we can say, 'Hey there is a Latino that doesn't look like other Latinos, he's Jewish, or he's half-Latino, half something else.' Here are Latinos that are professors, Realtors, even a magician," Ferreras says.
Learn more about Alberto Ferreras and B AS IN BEAUTY: