|Vol. 12 No. 23
NOVEMBER 13, 2017
Remembering Paul Kusuda
Publisher & Editor
Lisa Peyton-Caire, Sujhey
Beisser, Wayne Strong, Fabu,
Lang Kenneth Haynes, Heidi
Pascual, Paul Kusuda, Nia
Trammell, Nichelle Nichols,
Jamala Rogers, Kipp Thomas,
and Donna Parker
Heidi M. Pascual
($45 a year)
The Capital City Hues
PO Box 259712
Madison, WI 53725
Weekends can be such bittersweet moments in our lives. Saturday was such a joyous day with the Madison
Metropolitan Link’s Scholarship & Community Recognition Jazz Brunch. Barbara Franks, Oscar Mireles,
Sheila Stubbs, Dr. Girma Tefera, Dr. Makeba Williams and Access Community Health Centers were honored
with the 2017 Community Service Awards. Each of them are so deserving. The Link’s Jazz Brunch always
has such a good vibe to it because of the cause they serve and the people they honor. And this year was no
And then on Saturday night, there was the SSM Health Fall Gospel Fest sponsored by Clyde Gaines and
PEBOGA. It was a rousing night of gospel music featuring VaShawn Mitchell and Koryn Hawthorne. It was
such a moving night that everyone leaving High Pont Church had a smile on their face and a lightness in their
step. The world held such beauty and happiness at that moment in time.
And then Sunday came around. I’ve always felt a certain depression about Sunday night. The weekend — a
time of relative freedom — was finished and the hard school or work week was set to start again in what
seemed to be just a few hours. And now recently, I’ve learned about too many deaths on Sunday nights.
Last night, I received an email from Missy Kusuda informing me that her father Paul Kusuda had passed
away. While perhaps I shouldn’t have been, I was shocked that he had died. Paul was 95 years old, but he
seemed to always be the same age with the same gait as he was when I first met him in the 1990s.
I think I first met Paul through Betty Franklin-Hammonds. They were both social workers of color during an era
when there weren’t that many. Paul was a natural community social worker even though he worked for the
state. Paul cared for people no matter what their history or culture or ethnicity was. He believed in people and
he truly felt that an injustice to anyone was an injustice to all.
I am sure some of that can be attributed to Paul’s experience in 1942 when like any other high school
student, he was looking forward to attending college. However, because he was Japanese American , born
and raised in the U.S., he and his family were hauled off to Manzanar, one of internment camps that Japanese
Americans were hauled off due to the executive orders issued after Pearl Harbor. Paul stayed at the camp
until he was allowed to attend the University of Chicago after about a year.
While Paul totally resented being treated this way, he didn’t let it harden his heart. He didn’t let the forces
around him change who he was. And he never stopped being loyal to the country of his birth, the United
States of America.
I really started to get to know Paul after I received a recognition for the Wisconsin Organization for Asian
Americans shortly after I had become the editor of The Madison Times. And although Paul was a retired social
worker by then, it didn’t mean that he stopped caring.
Paul was an advocate for the rights and programs for senior citizens. I got a call from Valice Payton Gross
who would often bring sweet potato pies to King Holiday and other community celebrations. She asked me if I
knew that Paul had died. Well Paul was involved with Colonial Club or something else on the Madison
outskirts and Paul had given her rides to some meetings. I am sure that Paul has touched a lot of other lives
that I am unaware of.
Paul was an ardent supporter of Asian Wisconzine and The Capital City Hues. Paul has been a subscriber
since the beginning and always renewed his subscription for more than the face value.
Paul and his wife Atsuko were both interned in internment camps. Atsuko’s family had been placed in
Arkansas, I do believe. And they were recipients of reparation payments when the U.S. government formally
apologized for this basic abrogation of their human and civil rights. But instead of spending it on themselves,
they donated a good portion of the proceeds to non-profits and causes they believed in. And they sent some
money to The Capital City Hues during the midst of The Great Recession when advertising was tight and I was
wondering if I should save what little capital we had left and shut down the paper. It was a paper-saving
And when he learned that The Capital City Hues was going to hold its 10th Anniversary celebration last year
at the Labor Temple, Paul insisted on becoming a sponsor and sent me a check. And then later on, I received
another check from Paul and I tried to return it because I felt it was duplicate. He told me to keep it and I did
because I did not want to insult him. It was something that he intended to do.
Paul’s personal support for me was often times a tonic. Here was this man who had suffered so much and
still came out of the experience on top that when he believed in the paper, I felt that I was somewhere on the
eternal arc of justice that Dr. King described. I sometimes feel that Paul saw more in me than I saw myself.
And I always have enjoyed Paul’s columns that appeared in The Capital City Hues via Asian Wisconzine.
When he wrote about aging issues, I would read his column with one eye on myself. He helped me mentally
plan for the current transition in life that I am experiencing. I will miss Paul’s columns. They were always so
level-headed using good common sense to draw his conclusions.
Paul will always be missed. He was and always will be a good man.
|STORIES AND COLUMNS
Time to Put an End to Daylight
By Wayne Strong
Gun Control and Community Fear,
By Heidi M. Pascual
Veterans Day Reflections,
The Naked Truth
Police Body Cams are No
By Jamala Rogers
Five Senses Palate
Roasting Dinner while You Work,
By Sujhey Beisser
Brown Girl Green Money
By Angela Fitzgerald Ward
Hooker, Ortiz Join School of Arts
and Sciences Administration:
Madison College Names Two
New Associate Deans,
From Madison College
DAIS Received a Donation from
Fox Lake Inmates: Healing
By Phil Haslinger
Puerto Rico Relief Fund of South
Central Wisconsin: Multifaceted
By Jonathan Gramling