The public is invited to attend a panel discussion and the premiere screening of Prairie Public Television’s documentary about the Hispanic migration to the Red River Valley. The event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, at the University of Minnesota Crookston campus.
The original documentary, “Esta es Mi Casa -- This is My Home,” chronicles the migration of Hispanic field workers from Texas and Mexico to this region to help with hoeing beet fields, tending crops and harvesting. It explores the risks people faced and the culture clashes, climate shock and language barriers they experienced.
The documentary recounts the history of migrant workers who settled and assimilated in this region, and how they and their offspring have made cultural contributions to the area’s art, cuisine and economy.
The panelists are Ken Mendez and Victoria Ramirez, an employee and alumna of the U of M Crookston, respectively, and Martha Castanon, of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. Mendez and Ramirez will be discussing the history of their families in this region.
Ramirez, who has worked to promote diversity, multiculturalism, equality and human rights on behalf of underrepresented populations and diverse individuals, received the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award from UMC in 2018.
Mendez, whose father came to this area in 1927, will also discuss an art exhibit he has assisted in producing, titled “Roots of the Red River Valley: Through the Lens of Russell Lee.” The exhibit, on display at Heritage Hall at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead, provides an intimate look at one of the region’s economic pillars in a photographic history of Polk County’s 1937 sugar beet harvest. Most of the 84 photos were shot near Fisher, Crookston and East Grand Forks.
The “Esta es Mi Casa -- This is My Home” documentary will premiere on Prairie Public Television at 9 p.m. Jan. 28.