Blue Earth County Library receives grant to pursue a book project about area immigrants

Blue Earth County Library receives grant to pursue a book project about area immigrants

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Twenty years ago, Blue Earth County Library specialist Dana Niu discovered a book that shared the stories of first-generation immigrants.

Ever since, she has wanted to recreate that book for the Greater Mankato Area.

Niu, born in Shanghai, China, says she experienced some hostility after moving to the states.

“I have experienced the racial prejudice and discrimination and those kinds of things and I have overcome a lot of difficulties in order to reach what I want to do,” Niu said.

This grant for the book gives her the opportunity to share the stories of those who have overcome, like herself, but also those who haven’t.

Mayor of Mankato Najwa Massad and her experience moving to the states from Lebanon will be featured.

“It might be difficult to come here not having that language, not having the experience to be able to work, but they’re not alone. That’s important... that’s what I would like to see in the book also that you’re not alone. If you read the book you do understand that people have walked in your footsteps before and this is what they’re trying to teach you or help you to become more comfortable to adapt to the culture we have here,” Massad said.

A retired educator for the Mankato Area Public Schools, Metone Wamma, gave his students the tools to practice acceptance and sees great value in this book.

“I think it’s interesting when we pick up a book and it’s about our community. About people that you can actually go out and see our mayor out and say whoa I can connect with that person,” Wamma said.

The Greater Mankato Diversity Council and the Mankato Area Public Schools Community Education's Adult Basic Education will partner for the making of the book.

With next summer being the goal completion date for the book, first-generation immigrants living in the Minnesota River Valley area are encouraged to help.

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