Heidi M. Pascual
Publisher & Editor
2006 Journalist of the year
for the State of Wisconsin
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Editor's Corner/Over a Cup of Tea
COVID-19 has affected our school system, too
When COVID-19 attacked the world a few months back and kept humanity in confinement within their homes, we
were all stunned, shocked, feeling helpless, most times hopeless and fearful of this pandemic’s fatal blow on our
communities. When we heard the news about thousands of people getting infected everywhere, in countries rich
or poor, then dying within days of contracting the “virus,” our governments started to close their boundaries,
isolating each community within their jurisdiction and imposing community quarantine to prevent people from
getting in or getting out of their homes.
One of the most affected areas during the pandemic is education. The school system has to close. Children have to be protected from COVID-19
which has been claiming lives not by hundreds but by thousands. Early on, it has been recognized that the most vulnerable populations are the
elderly and the very young. As all of us may agree, the future of any nation largely depends on the youth of today; thus, the utmost need to protect
them from any harm, which COVID-19 surely brings. There is no question that this pandemic has brought humanity a challenge that seems
insurmountable, and as an important social concern, education tops the list considering every society’s basic requirement to continue its survival
in the future.
Because of the threat to life posed by possible exposure to COVID-19 when people get together in an enclosed space such as a classroom, the
school systems all over the world are in a quandary. What alternative learning systems should be adopted in response to this life-threatening
challenge? Several plans are now being considered -- homeschooling, online-only learning, moving school year dates, among others.
As a parent (and now a grandmother), I have decided there’s nothing to lose but gain if I choose to NOT ALLOW my children (or grandchildren) to
physically go to school this school year. I cannot, in conscience, take the risk of exposing my loved ones to COVID-19, especially since we are not
sure who are asymptomatic folks around. I would prefer that they take online lessons if possible, or be homeschooled for awhile. I would contact
the Department of Education and the school where our kids are enrolled last year, for an arrangement that would keep the kids at home,
supervised by their parents or grandparents, or relatives concerned enough to help kids navigate the present abnormal situation in all societies.
As adults we have the responsibility to do the best we can to preserve and conserve our youth today. We are looking at additional work should we
do many of what the school system and professional teachers do as educators; but this will pay off handsomely because our children will be out
of harm’s way. COVID-19 is no joke, as we all know it now. More than 300 thousand people have been killed all over the world, and we definitely
do not wish our loved ones included in this statistics.
In preparation for this forthcoming additional “job,” I will encourage parents and grandparents to start educating ourselves about how to become
effective educators for kids at various levels. We have the opportunity not only to help our society prevent further spread of COVID-19 and ensure
the safety of our loved ones, but to also learn a new skill -- teaching, something we can even excel on and later consider as a career option.
Today, there is an opportunity to expand our technology know-how beyond emails and Facebook. Let us exercise our mental faculty by doing
research, deepening our knowledge base, and honing our parenting skills to train our kids and grandkids not only to continue learning new
lessons at their school levels, but more importantly, learning to cope and adjust to problematic situations such as real challenges posed by
natural disasters/calamities and epidemics/pandemics that threaten life on land, water, and air. As God’s creatures, we have the obligation to
respect His wish to make his creation grow, increase in number, and continue in perpetuity to glorify His name forever. -- READ MORE
In recent weeks, data have demonstrated that people of color—
especially Black and Native American people—are contracting and
dying from COVID-19 at far higher rates than their white counterparts.
Now, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that families of
color are also disproportionately experiencing the negative social,
economic, and mental health effects of the coronavirus crisis.
In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, people of color face many
This column provides fresh, racially disaggregated estimates for the
percentages of U.S. households experiencing economic, housing,
and food insecurity as well as health and health care problems.
These analytical findings underscore the importance of a robust and
equitable recovery that centers those who have suffered the most
during the coronavirus pandemic and current economic recession.
Increased economic hardship -- READ MORE
|United Way of Dane County's
Intense Community Support
By Jonathan Gramling
One of the roles that United Way of Dane County and its partner agencies play
is emergency relief. They have responded to the flooding in Madison and other
communities a couple of summers ago and the Sun Prairie explosion and fire
in July 2018. And so it’s not surprising the spread of the novel coronavirus
began to hit United Way’s radar by early February.
“The first COVID-19 case in Dane County was reported February 5,” said Renee
Moe, CEO of United Way of Dane County. “I was watching Italy to see how
things were changing and growing. We started hearing about the coronavirus
back in November and December. On February 6, United Way had a full staff
meeting and we started talking about documenting essential business
operations and getting prepared to work remotely if we needed to. It was more
on the level of ‘Let’s talk about this.’ Everyone was doing their thing.”
By March 9th as the COVID-19 began to spread in Wisconsin, United Way
began to plan in earnest for drastic measures to be put in place.
“We were already preparing for schools to close,” Moe said. “We knew offices
were going to close. And we had started a needs assessment. I also started
doing some fund feasibility calls, talking to donors. I was asking three
questions. Number one was ‘How is COVID-19 and coronavirus going to
impact your business.’ Number two was ‘Here’s what I am seeing in terms of 2-
1-1 and non-profit expectations.’ At the time we knew that health care was
amping up for child care needs. We knew the mayor asked us to really help
promote volunteerism. There were a lot of governmental things that we were a
part of. And number three was, ‘Should we do a fund?’ I had a lot of support for
that right away. Gift confirmations started coming in the early part of March.”
They say that great minds think alike and by this time, United Way and the Boys
& Girls Club of Dane County were on separate parallel tracks to raise funds to
meet the explosion of need that would result from COVID-19. They were tracks
that would eventually come together. -- READ MORE
|In the Wake of the
Coronavirus, We Must
Design and Build the
Schools We Need—Not
Simply Reopen Schools
As They Were
By Khalilah M. Harris
Communities using parent power and progressive school districts alike are
beginning to plan recovery strategies coming out of the COVID-19 crisis that
focus on the needs of every student and keep equity at the center of their
proposals. Using federal and state funds to reinstate a broken public school
system that has operated against all concepts of equity is the wrong
approach. Instead, the federal government should make it a priority to fund
efforts to reimagine what’s possible for public education and public school
Whether it’s access to the care and concern of expert educators, school-
based meals, supports for learning differences and learning English, safety
from homelessness or from abuse that may be present at home, America’s
public school students deserve to rise from the COVID-19 pandemic in a
better position than when the crisis began. This will only happen if the
nation commits itself to providing today’s young people a quality education
and equitably provides the resources to accomplish that in the near and
long term. -- READ MORE
By Connor Maxwell
|2020 Amy Ling Yellow Light
Amy Ling pioneered and headed the Asian American Studies Program at
the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. She completed Yellow
Light: The Flowering of Asian American Culture shortly before she died in
1999. Yellow Light was a seminal bool featuring a wide array of Asian
American authors and artists from across the Asian Diaspora. The Asian
American Studies Program established the Amy Ling Yellow Light
Awards in her honor. The 2020 award recipients are:
Creative Endeavor and Scholarship
Winners: Ariana Thao, Thea Camille Valmadrid, and Christy Zheng
In “Project Hais Lus: Perspectives on language access, cultural
barriers, and multilingualism in Wisconsin’s Hmong communities,”
Ariana Thao, fourth-year Asian American Studies Certificate and HMoob
American Studies Emphasis student, together with co-author Dominic J.
Ledesma Perzichilli examines how best to address the needs of
community members who are non-English dominant. Drawing on
interviews with 23 leaders of Wisconsin’s Hmong communities, Thao
and Ledesma Perzichilli offer new insights on how the UW Division of
Extension, as a part of the U.S. Land-Grant University system, can
improve its educational outreach mission to serve a community that is
diverse, both linguistically and culturally.
As Thea Camille Valmadrid, fourth-year Music major in Violin
Performance, observed in her study, “Bridges of Support: Investigating
the Experiences of Female Asian American Writing Tutors,” while the UW
Writing Center provides tutors with informational materials on how best
to support students of color on campus, there are no guides to help
address the needs of tutors of color. -- READ MORE
|What We Should Expect of the Police: Experts Weigh In On Recent Police Violence
By Ed Chung and Betsy Pearl
In the past several weeks, the United States has witnessed a
spate of high-profile incidences of police violence against
Black Americans, including the tragic killings of George Floyd,
Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. Just five years ago,
policing reform was a top national priority in the wake of
similar protests following the deaths of Michael Brown in
Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York City; and Tamir
Rice in Cleveland. Activists and police departments alike
pressed for reforms. But after a week where thousands held protests against police brutality, Americans may
be wondering whether those reforms have any value or efficacy
A more fundamental question has to do with the role of the police in our communities. Instead of focusing on
how to reform current policing practices, Americans must consider the role that the police have as well as the
role they should have in our communities. In 2019, the Center for American Progress gathered together a
group of experts on policing and asked them this very basic question: What should we expect of the police?
The following are excerpts from that conversation, which have been edited lightly for clarity and readability.
Ron Davis, former police chief and former director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of
Community Oriented Policing Services
The challenge with policing is that many of the disparities are created by systemic policies and the
institutional structure of policing. If you look at a police department and how it’s structured, how it operates,
and its mandates, it will look exactly as it did in 1950, 1940, or 1960. It will be almost the same. -- READ MORE