A tribute to my late foster parents: Paul & Atsuko Kusuda
By Heidi M. Pascual

Below is a piece written by Paul Kusuda in January 2010, about 11 years ago. Paul is gone…as well as Atsuko…but their memories
linger on. Paul was Asian Wisconzine’s top supporter since its beginning (as columnist and financial backer), a well-known community
activist whose ideas on various issues are still very relevant today, and a loving “father” to me regardless of where I was. Atsuko never
tired of serving the Madison area community as volunteer even after her retirement. Both truly deserve my love and admiration.

This piece is followed by a Christmas letter and wedding photo I received from their daughter, Missy Kusuda. I found them very touching
and worth sharing to our community which the Kusudas loved and served.

Naturalization: A privilege needing extension to would-be Americans
By Paul H. Kusuda

     It’s year 2010, a decade past Y2K — the year computer programmers dreaded because of inadequate pre-planning. It’s 2010, five
years since the first issue of Asian Wisconzine. What a long. long difficult trail for Editor/Publisher Heidi Pascual! Her valiant efforts to
keep the publication going, including  improvements over initial issues, deserve commendation. I hope readers will let her know of their
appreciation. Positive feedback gives heart to editors, especially someone like Heidi who works so hard to see that Asians are not lost in
the news shuffle. I understand that her website gets many, many hits. My friend in North Carolina is among those who read Asian
Wisconzine on the web.

     The New Year is a time to look backward for inspiration and forward to plan for the future. So, that explains my backward look for five
years. Hopes for the future are not as easy to see. Fruitions depend on others. My efforts to effect change have not always been
successful. One hope I’ve had is that naturalization procedures be extended to many of those who are on the outside looking in on an
unattainable prize: American citizenship.

     Unfortunately, that requires much prodding of people in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of  Representatives, and the President.
President Barack Obama is favorably inclined to expanding naturalization processes to many who are now excluded, such as the millions
of undocumented immigrants. However, though he could suggest and encourage change, he cannot change laws. And that is how it
should be. Our form of government is comprised of three distinct, but closely related branches – Legislative, Judicial, and Executive. Each
has a role. Thus, we have a democracy, not a monarchy or a dictatorship. So even though the process might appear to be too slow for
some of us to accept, in the long run, the sometime-tortuous path is preferable to the quick action that could take place
under a dictator, benevolent or not.

     If enough people made their demands for fair play known to their legislative representative, they will be heard, and action will be
possible. Each of us has two U.S. Senators (in Wisconsin, they’re Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl) and one of the eight Congress
Representatives from Wisconsin (mine is Tammy Baldwin). All three are responsive to constituent contacts. Your congressional
representative is identified by the district in which you live. Both senators and your representative should be known to you and should be
contacted periodically to assure that he or she is aware of your interests.

Last month, I mentioned how my parents had to wait for several decades before they could even apply for U.S. citizenship. They were so
glad to be able to enter the process which was denied them because of their country of birth, Japan. They were so proud that so many
years after they came to the U.S., their wish came true. They became bonafide U.S. Citizens in 1952. The same opportunity should be
made available to many of the residents who are eager to start meeting the myriad of naturalization requirements that will take years of
effort and many dollars.
     
The Immigration Act of October 3, 1965, ended the strongly biased national origin method of discriminating against Asians who wanted to
come to the United States. Before the Act, most of the immigrants came from Europe. After the change, most came from Mexico,  South
and Central America, and Asia. The complexion of America began to change. The Southeast Asians who came to the U.S. as refugees
faced many obstacles: language, customs, laws, climate, etc. Through hard work and tremendous effort, they are making a
positive impact on American society. Many have run the gauntlet of naturalization processes and have become U.S. Citizens.

Next month, I shall review some of the problems faced by persons who came into the U.S. through the visa process to study, work in
occupations requiring special talents, etc., or through the non-legal entry to become known as illegal immigrants, undocumented aliens,
etc. Should naturalization be made available to them? My answer is “YES!” My perspective on both groups of U.S. residents will be
explained later.

Editor’s note: Thank you so much for your unwavering support  Paul, and your loving wife, Atsuko. You inspired me to continue doing our
magazine for several years now. The economic hardship that the publishing industry has been facing nowadays, however, could force me
to suspend its printing and perhaps just continue the online magazine while waiting for better days. Anyway, you and Atsuko have always
been there for me and Asian Wisconzine. I want you to know that I appreciate both of you with all my heart. May you be blessed for your
kindness and generosity.
Christmas 2020   A time of reflection
From Missy Kusuda

My parents were married in 1950.  The beautiful dress that my Mom wore
was made by her sister-in-law, Marge.  The photographer was her brother,
Sam.  The reception food was prepared by her sister, Rinko, and one of my
Dad’s friends lent his car so my folks could drive away from the wedding in a
nice car.

They had been raised in day-to-day poverty as children, my Mom in the
country and Dad in the city. Then as young adults, they suffered racist
persecution during World War II, when they were unjustly removed from their
homes and kept in internment camps in total violation of their civil rights.  
Archived documents of my Dad’s time in Manzanar are very interesting, just
go to
archive.org and search for Paul H. Kusuda.
Paul and Atsuko Kusuda on their wedding day (1950)
Yet, on their wedding day, they had joy and optimism.  They had true love, and their marriage would last 67 years until my Dad’s passing.  
He bought flowers for our Mom the day before he passed away.

My Dad spent his career as a social worker trying to better the lives of the less fortunate, including Wisconsin penitentiary inmates.  My
Mom stayed home to raise their 3 children then got her Master’s degree to become a school librarian, helping kids with their education.  
As retirees, they both were exceptionally active.  Dad volunteered on so many boards and progressive committees, he was almost as
busy as when he was working.  And he loved it.  It kept him engaged and alive.  My Mom mostly focused on helping kids in our local
elementary school improve their reading, which was natural to her, given her love of books.  She was the heart and soul of the family.

What an amazing gift to have had these two as parents.  They’re both gone from this life now, but their love carries on.

May we all make the best of our blessings, and may we have peace in the New Year.