As a learning environment that fosters socially responsible citizens who are lifelong learners and problem solvers, Many Rivers Montessori aspires to be a multicultural community with a welcoming spirit.”—Excerpt from MRM’s Diversity Statement, posted in full on the school’s home page.

The Diversity Digest is brought to you by the MRM Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. We are pleased to offer this summary of cultural events, broadcasts and workshops at MRM and around the Twin Ports. Many, but not all, of these listings are child friendly. Use your own judgment to decide what is or is not appropriate for your child. Please email to submit timely events. We’re smack in the middle of Duluth’s Homegrown Music Festival, so we’ve highlighted a few performers from that lineup.

Access the DEIgest Calendar

MRM’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEI) generally meets the third Tuesday of every month -- except for February! Our next DEI Committee gathering is May 21 at 6:30 PM. All are welcome! Please email for more info.

On Your Own

What it’s like to be Muslim in America | Dalia Mogahed (Video, 16 minutes). When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: A woman of faith? A scholar, a mom, a sister? Or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media -- and to choose empathy over prejudice. (Note: The DEI Committee watched and discussed this video at our 4/16/19 meeting.)

Around the Twin Ports

Thursday, May 2 - Saturday May 4. 7:30 PM. Birds of a Feather.  Teatro Zuccone, 222 East Superior St, Duluth. Renegade Theater presents Birds of a Feather, a play dramatizing the true story of Roy and Silo, two Central Park Zoo chinstrap penguins who partnered, adopted an egg, hatched and raised a chick together. The show features an all-star local cast including Rob Hadaway, Sara Marie Sorenson, Kendra Carlson, John Pokrzywinski, Karen Niedermier*, Kristen Hylenski and Zachary Stofer. Directed by Julie Ahasay, this event is part of Zeitgeist’s Year of the Womxn, a 12-month series of programming throughout 2019 that highlights women’s stories, perspectives and experiences while showcasing that women can, and do, hold positions of power, leadership and influence.

*MRM’s very own!

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Friday, May 3. 8:30 PM. HOMEGROWN Seyi Oyinloye. Powless Cultural Center, 202 W 2nd St, Duluth. Daniel Oyinloye isn’t afraid to put it all out there. Under the alias Goody Goody in past years music, spoken word and visuals were combined for an experience here far from Daniel’s roots in Nigeria. The mixture is even more ingrained in the duo dubbed Seyi, with partner Sandra Oyinloye. Daniel calls the act “African tone and hip-hop infused in indescribable uniqueness. Inspiring, relevant, motivational, encouraging sounds addressing vast topics from cultural heritage to mental illness, love stories, insecurity, racial climate and much more.”

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Friday, May 3. 8:30 PM. HOMEGROWN Darren Sipity. Legacy Glassworks 32 W 1st St, Duluth. Darren Shabaiash was raised on the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation and now lives in Pine City, perfectly positioned to gig regularly both in the Twin Cities and in Duluth. As the rapper Darren Sipity, Shabaiash writes about “the life and times of a kid on his grind, the life and times of a kid writing rhymes,” touching on Native American upbringing, social issues and the struggle to become a better person. Darren Sipity’s music catalog includes the 2016 album Nacolean, the 2017 EP Nobody, the 2018 single “Flavor in Your Ear Freestyle?” and a guest appearance on St. Paul musician OKnice’s recent track “Pearly Whites.”

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Friday, May 3. 8:30 PM. HOMEGROWN Gaelynn Lea. Sacred Heart Music Center, 201 W 4th St, Duluth. It’s been another groundbreaking year for singer, songwriter, fiddler and disability activist Gaelynn Lea Tressler, whose 2016 win of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest launched the musician into a new trajectory. In 2018 Tressler continued to tour around the United States and internationally, appearing at arts festivals in Iceland and Switzerland as well as the Winnipeg Folk Fest, Travelers Rest Festival and Halifax Pop Explosion. In September Tressler released a third full-length album, Learning How to Stay. In contrast to earlier, stripped-down efforts, this collection featured fleshed-out, full-band arrangements including regular collaborators and fellow Duluth natives Dave Mehling and Al Church. Also, the Decemberists (from Portland, Ore.) invited Tressler to play fiddle on “Rusalka, Rusalka / Wild Rushes” on their 2018 album, I’ll be Your Girl.

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Saturday, May 4. 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM. German Language and Culture Festival. University of Minnesota Duluth, 1049 University Dr, Duluth. The UMD German faculty and students are offering a new set of fun immersive activities, in collaboration with local partners, focused on German culture and sustainability. This is a free event. Register at

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Saturday, May 4. 3:00 PM. Rooted and Rising: A choral concert by the Echoes of Peace Community Choir with Sara Thomsen, Director, and Daniel Oylinloye. Weber Music Hall

University of Minnesota-Duluth, 1151 University Dr, Duluth. Echoes of Peace began in 2002 as an impromptu choir organized to sing for the first “Art of Peace” event in Duluth, Minnesota. This grassroots event—a community response to 9/11/01 and its aftermath—continued annually for six years, bringing varied artistic expressions together to inspire and instigate creativity, plant peacemaking, and seed social change. Today, Echoes of Peace carries on this “art of peace” spirit, presenting performances and workshops on a range of art and social change topics, collaborating with local and international artists, and engaging communities in creativity and song at various events throughout  the year. Many Rivers own Jon Dumpys will be singing, and Liv will be attending with her grandparents!  All are welcome.

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Saturday, May 4. 8:15 PM. HOMEGROWN Tribal Alchemie & Friends. Zeitgeist Arts Atrium, 222 E Superior St, Duluth. Rooted in international and world beats, Tribal Alchemie is a dynamic improvisational bellydance troupe known for collaborating with Duluth musicians. This year the dancers—LeeAnn Myers, Helen Makela and Pamela Clifton—will sync with the percussion of Elden Lindamood and Alisa DeRider. Additionally enriching the sound will be Travis Hendershot, master of neo-folk dulcimer, hurdy gurdy, Turkish santur and synthesizer.

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Saturday, May 4. 10:30 PM. HOMEGROWN Venus De Mars. Blacklist Artisan Ales, 120 E Superior St, Duluth. Duluth will certainly play a part in transgender glam rock icon Venus de Mars’ memoir now under construction with the help of a 2019 state grant. This is home, after all, for this transfixing musician who has always come back from Minneapolis in all forms, solo and with longtime group All the Pretty Horses. “I moved away when I was 18, then went back, and moved away again, and went back again,” de Mars said in an interview in June on the Cedar Cultural Center’s website. “Finally I formed a punk band with friends in Duluth back in the ’80s.” Expect a solo acoustic set this time around, another twist in the Venus milieu that was first recorded at Sacred Heart.

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Tuesday, May 7. 7:00 PM. Barbara Sjoholm | By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends. Spirit of the North Theatre, Fitger’s, 600 East Superior St, Duluth. Translator Barbara Sjoholm will discuss and sign copies of her new book, By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends. These stories, collected by the Danish artist and ethnographer Emilie Demant Hatt (1873–1958) during her travels in the early twentieth century among the nomadic Sami in Swedish Sápmi, grant entry to a fascinating world of wonder and peril, of nature imbued with spirits, and strangers to be outwitted with gumption and craft. This first English publication of By the Fire is at once a significant contribution to the canon of world literature, a unique glimpse into Sami culture, and a testament to the enduring art of storytelling.

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Tuesday, May 14. 5:30 PM. The Improvised Life: Exploring Intersections of Mental Health & Creativity through Jazz. Denfeld High School. Sam Miltich and Friends present “The Improvised Life: Exploring Intersections of Mental Health & Creativity through Jazz,” a program highlighting cultural contributions of famous artists with mental illness and inspiring hope through Miltich’s own story and original compositions. Free!

· Mental Health Resource Fair

· Dinner provided by Denfeld Deli

· Childcare provided by Lincoln Park Children & Families Collaborative

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