By Jasmine Winston
Exactly 400 years ago, in 1619, the first Africans in Virginia were brought on the ship called the White Lion
and then sold. Since that time, African Americans have gone through Reconstruction, the failure of
Reconstruction, lynching, Black Codes, and Jim Crow Laws. And throughout this period, many Black lives
were lost. In the month of February, we take time to embrace our culture and lift it up at the national level.
We are something to celebrate.
I feel like dressing up in beautiful, royal African clothes to make myself feel like a Nubian queen. I embrace
my big, beautiful, full lips, my wide nose, and my deep dark skin. My features make me feel connected to
people in the Motherland of Africa. And, despite how African Americans were treated all those long 400
years, I am still here. I am still Black me. I am something to celebrate.
Every time that I turn on the air conditioning, dry my clothes in a machine, turn a doorknob, use a cell
phone, or beat eggs, the “unintelligent Black person” that the world likes to label us falls off. The fact that
we prove in society today that we can do everything is amazing. We are marching into the STEAM fields showing our brilliance like our ancestors
charged into the crowds sprayed with tear gas, fighting for our freedom. We are inventing new technologies, just like the ones before us created new
tactics to peacefully protest for our rights. That’s something to celebrate.
Images of elected officials in Blackface and images of Blackfishing with White people pretending to be Black are in the current media. Blackface and
Blackfishing remind me that prejudice, racism, and bias against Black people and Black culture are real. That reality does not define me, but reminds
me that I stand on the legacy of African people who survived the unthinkable and still gave gifts to this country in every way including in medicine and
music. This month I embrace that I am a smart, intelligent Black nerd. Black history is my past, my present, and my future. This month I celebrate
Do You Need Help Managing Your Home Energy
The cold weather is upon us. It is the time of year where we see high energy bills
as the temperature continues to plunge below zero degrees. Thankfully, for those
who qualify, the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) is here to
help. The WHEAP helps families offset a portion of their energy bill in a one-time
payment sent out from October 1st through May 15th. The qualifying amount by
each family is different as that depends on different factors such as income,
family size, and energy cost. The amount of assistance is sent directly to the
• Your household must pay heating costs directly to a fuel or utility company or
costs are included in the rent.
• Your gross income is less than the amount shown in the chart below for your
Income Guidelines for The 2017-2018
Home Energy Plus Program Year
60 Percent of State Median Income Guidelines
The Home Energy Plus Program uses a previous three-month income test which is annualized to determine program income eligibility. For more
information, go to: http://homeenergyplus.wi.gov/category.asp?linkcatid=239&linkid=118&locid=25
Applicants must provide the following:
• Your most recent energy bill
• Social Security numbers for all members of your household
• Photo ID
• Written proof of your household's gross income for the three months prior to your
application, such as:
• Payroll stubs
• Child support printout
• Unemployment printout
• Social Security benefit verification letter
You can call the State of Wisconsin at the numbers below for the above information.
Only the person receiving a benefit or child support or those paying child support may call to receive this information.
Child Support: 1-800-991-5530
Social Security: 1-800-772-1213
Don't delay! Make an appointment today! Funds are limited!
Dane County: Energy Services - 333-0333 - 1225 S. Park St., Madison
Español: 1-800-506-5596, Hmong: 268-7074