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Natalie Morales Hispanic Heritage Month Essay

The Big Latin-American News Story That Called to Me

Natalie Morales is a journalist for NBC News and the host of Today and Access Hollywood.

I have had many proud moments as a Latina, but any time I can share a bit of our diverse Latin culture on the Today show and now Access Hollywood and educate our viewers makes me feel like I am doing my part. One of the most significant stories of my reporting career, and a moment I will always cherish, was covering the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners who were buried alive, literally, for a record 69 days.

Copiapó, Chile, is in the desert hills. It was a stunning but harsh environment. The families in the mining camp set up a tight-knit community as they were patiently waiting for their loved ones to be rescued, but it was a high-stakes rescue that had never been done before at depths of almost 3,000 feet underground. I was sent days in advance of the rescue and became friendly with the families of the miners.

As someone who grew up in South America speaking both Spanish and Portuguese, it was a story that almost seemed to call for me and my skill set. Reporting for NBC News, I was able to translate what the experience was like for those living through it, but also share the perspective as someone who really understood how unique and proud this Hispanic community was during an extraordinary event. They did not want handouts or pity; they only wanted their loved ones safe and sound.

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In the first moments of the rescue, I helped translate for our viewers what the families were feeling and saying. It was an incredible high to witness such an extraordinary event — what many called "miraculous" — and to be able to share that with our viewers from my perspective as a proud Latina.

Image Source: NBC
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