Vol. 9    No. 6
MARCH 20, 2014

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000

Subscription Information:
The Capital City Hues
PO Box 259712
Madison, WI 53725
($45 a year)
Contact Number:
(608) 241-2000


Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Contributing Writers
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran, Theola
Carter, Fabu, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Donna Parker, Heidi Pascual, &
Lisa Peyton-Caire

Heidi M. Pascual
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                       Community Departures?
Before I get started on this issue’s topic, I have to say Happy Birthday to The Capital City Hues. It was on
March 22, 2006 that we published our first edition. Mother Jacqueline Wright was featured on our first
cover. Fabu wrote a special poem commemorating the moment. And Shree and Lakshmi Sridharan talked
about the different phases of immigration to Madison from the subcontinent of India. We had columns by Dr.
Paul Barrows and Alfonso Zepeda-Capistrán. We also interviewed Geraldine Bernard, a New Orleans
native, about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. And Heidi M. Pascual’s Asian Wisconzine
page began with that first issue and has been in every issue since that first release.

It was quite a first undertaking. Ken Haynes — who joined us as a columnist later that year — talks about
how you have to imagine something before it can become real in his column this issue. Well we did have a
whole lot of imagination as we set out on this venture. And it was the image of this multicultural publication
that sustained us through some okay times and some lean times as we set about to make The Hues a reality.

As I glanced through the first issue, I saw that we had an ad from MG&E and bless them, they are still with
us eight years later. We also had an ad from Madison Teachers, Inc. because a school board election was
going on and almost every year, MTI has taken out an ad for the candidates that they endorsed.

It’s been a good run. We wouldn’t be publishing eight years later if it weren’t for you, our readers as well as
our advertisers. So on this early Friday morning, I lift my cup of coffee to you and say ‘Happy Birthday
Capital City Hues’ because it really is all of us, the rich and varied hues of Madison and Dane County!
Right before I came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall of 1970 — a year earlier — African
American students went on strike and demonstrated because they felt the university was not meeting their
intellectual and cultural needs as UW students. It was through this strife that the Afro-American Studies
Department was born in 1970.

During the ensuing 44 years, the Asian American, American Indian and Chicano and Chicana Studies
Programs were created through the persistence and advocacy of the communities of color from whose
cultural and intellectual traditions those programs sprang. And while these programs are a part of the
university and were created to provide academic instruction and research in these areas, they have also
remained connected to the communities of color in the Madison area. Members of these programs and
department lend their expertise to many community groups and members of the community often times
participate in programs sponsored by these programs and department. There is an important synergy there.

For the past several weeks, there have been some what I would characterize as informal discussions held
to explore the possibility of combining these programs and department into what I would call an “Ethnic
Studies” Department. It is provoking a lot of discussion and raising some concerns. I remember back to the
early 1980s when President Ronald Reagan merged several block grant programs into the Social Services
Block Grant program and made budget cuts in the process. Consolidation usually ends up allocating fewer
financial resources to the entity that is created although the loss of revenues is made up in part or in whole
by the economies of scale of the new entity.

But consolidation can also cut organizations off from their roots, the foundation that gave them birth and that
have sustained them.

Back around 2006, the city of Madison merged the Affirmative Action Department and the Equal
Opportunities Commission into the Department of Civil Rights. There were many arguments made for and
against the merger and it finally went through.

In particular, the Equal Opportunities Commission was established through the advocacy of Rev. James
Wright and other members of Madison’s African American community to address the many instances of
discrimination that members of the African American community experienced. And since its inception with
Rev. Wright being named its first executive director, the EOC had a special connection to the African
American community and was expected to speak out on issues negatively impacting the African American
community and other communities of color such as racial profiling. And at times, the EOC was vociferous
on the issues to the dismay of those who wanted to continue to believe that Madison had no racial

When the merger went through, in my opinion, it tore asunder those connections and ties with the African
American community and it no longer spoke out on the issues. In essence, it became another city
department doing what city departments do. But it stopped being a leader on speaking out on civil rights.
But as the recent Race to Equity report reminded us, just because a light no longer shone on the issues
doesn’t mean that the issue no longer existed.

So as the university considers the combining of these programs and department, it needs to take some of
these intangible connections into consideration. What impact would it have on student retention? What
impact could it have on the university’s diversity efforts? While combining forces could perhaps have some
benefits on the surface, it could have some negative impacts below the surface. The university needs to
carefully sift through all of the factors and possible repercussions before it moves in this very sensitive
and fragile area.
Justice & Safety for All
Attorney General Candidate Dane
County DA  Ismael Ozanne