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Diversity and acceptance driven home at school

Mixed Blood Theatre actors Ricardo Vazquez (left) playing Jimmy, and Pedro Bayon, performing as Diego, visited Perham High School on April 20 for their performance of Minnecanos, a musical depicting life as a Mexican American through the generations.

Perham students took a step inside the lives of Mexican Americans April 20 when Mixed Blood Theatre performed at the high school.

The musical told the story of a 98-year-old Mexican American man struggling to pass down cultural pride to his granddaughter and great-grandson.

"We do plays about a lot of things that a lot of people don't do plays about," said Mixed Blood Director Raul Ramos following the performance.

The theatre group, the oldest multi-racial, mult-cultural one in the nation, has performed the Minnecanos (a term derived from Mexican Minnesotan) for the past 16 year.

Its stop in Perham came in the midst of diversity-related events.

On April 25, foreign exchange students spoke to students throughout the high school. On April 27, Native American author and activist Jim Northrup spent a day at the school along his national book tour.

During the visit, Northrup shared his stories, mainly those relating to his life on the Fond du Lac reservation. Northrup also draws from his experience as a Marine in the Vietnam War.

The author has appeared in films, including "Iron Will" and "Older than America." He's also been the subject of the film, "Jim Northrup: With Reservations," a documentary that includes five years of footage from Northrups' everyday life on the reservation.

In May, Roger Tweeton will present "Music from Around the World" at Heart of the Lakes Elementary. A book club, held via Skype with Pelican Rapids students, is also taking place throughout classrooms.

Also in line with diversity awareness, M State public speaking students are working on a project to improve conditions for students of color and students with special needs.