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'Aliens, Immigrants and Other Evildoers' presented Wednesday

WORTHINGTON -- If the Pilgrims landed illegally on U.S. shores as undocumented immigrants, why weren't they deported?

That's one of the intriguing questions Jose Torres-Tama, a nationally known performance artist, will explore at 7 p.m. Wednesday in his one-man, bilingual presentation "Aliens, Immigrants and Other Evildoers" at Worthington's Minnesota West Community and Technical College Fine Arts Theater.

"Torres-Tama has done this program at major universities," said Le Lucht, coordinator of diversity and multicultural affairs at Minnesota West's Worthington campus. "He's presented this in Moorhead, Winona and at other spots around Minnesota, and it's a good look at the plight of the Latino population here."

"Aliens, Immigrants and Other Evildoers" is co-sponsored by Minnesota West's Culture Corner, the Nobles County Integration Collaborative and St. Mary's Parish.

Lucht was prompted to schedule it due to the success and overwhelming response last year to a documentary on the Postville, Iowa, immigration raid of a few years ago.

"That was given in the summer, when we don't usually see as many people attend, but we had about 350 people show up, with a very active post-presentation discussion as well," explained Lucht. "There is a lot of interest in this here."

The Rev. Jim Callahan of St. Mary's Catholic Church agrees.

"A friend of mine from Rochester, who works very closely with the immigrant and refugee population in that part of the state, saw Torres-Tama perform in Phoenix and thought that with our large immigrant community here, it would be a good fit," Callahan said.

"Torres-Tama addresses the fears people have of immigrants and refugees, seeking to broaden the level of understanding and help the greater population see that not everyone coming here is a drug dealer or criminal," he added.

"We need to remember we all came here from somewhere else."

Callahan said Worthington's St. Mary's church currently has parishioners of 30 or more different nationalities, and the church offers English, Spanish and bilingual services.

"Worthington is exceptional, compared to many other communities, and there are wonderful things that have happened here with immigrants and the gifts they bring to the community," Callahan said. "But we need to make sure things continue in a positive vein, and a program like this one can help strengthen the understanding between diverse groups of people."

Lucht and Callahan are hoping for good attendance and an interesting post-presentation discussion this Wednesday.

"The Culture Corner always does things related to educating our community about the various cultures represented in the Worthington area," Lucht said. "People have come here from a lot of different places."

"Aliens, Immigrants and Other Evildoers," written and performed by Jose Torres-Tama, will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Fine Arts Theater on the Worthington campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College. The public is welcome to attend; there is no admission fee, although a freewill offering will be taken. A discussion follows the presentation.