Columns & Features
by Heidi M. Pascual
by Jamala Rogers
Sad news seems to come in twos and threes. And during these pandemic times, it seems that tragedy has
become a daily aspect of our lives, whether it is close by or half way around the world. Last week, I found
out that Atsuko Kusuda, the widow of the late Paul Kusuda had died. And then in the last 24 hours, I
learned that long-time Madison activist and co-founder of Blacks for Political and Social Action and long-
Organization for Asian Americans, also known as WOAA. Atsuko and her late husband Paul were members of WOAA and I soon found myself attending meetings
with my associate editor Heidi Pascual. I got to know Paul and Atsuko pretty well over the years. I did a profile story on Paul many years ago and his time in
Manzanar, the internment camp he was confined in at the start of World War II. Atsuko met a similar fate in an internment camp in Arkansas.
Atsuko has always been a king and gentle person, deferring to Paul in a traditional way, I thought. While Paul was the visible head of the family, I knew that Atsuko
was not a silent member of the marriage and I often envisioned them sitting around the kitchen table whom they would give money to and how much as well as
discuss the issues of the day. They truly were a partnership.
After Heidi Pascual moved back to The Philippines in 2010, Paul and Atsuko would invite Heidi and I to dinner when Heidi would come back to Madison to visit. We
would eat dinner somewhere like Fat Jacks and then go back to their house for coffee and maybe some dessert. Those were always delightful moments.
One thing that was always so beautiful about Atsuko and Paul was their lack of bitterness in how they were treated in World War II. They were born U.S. citizens in
California. Paul’s father owned a grocery store and Paul had just graduated from high school. And then they were torn from their lives — and in many cases relieved
of their worldly possessions — and sent to an internment camp where they were incarcerated. And the only reason this happened was they were of Japanese
ancestry. My parents were of German ancestry and I didn’t hear about them being interned at a camp. While some would become bitter and filled with anger at the
mistreatment, Atsuko and Paul would not let the experience change who they were, decent and kind people. I have always admired that about them.
I can’t help but smile when I think about Atsuko. I had learned that Atsuko had died when I saw her obituary in the Wisconsin State Journal and so I visited the
memorial page and wrote my condolences to the family. And then a couple of days later, I got a card from Atsuko’s daughter Missy. Apparently during her final
days at Agrace Hospice, Atsuko thought to renew her subscription to The Capital City Hues. Missy said in her note that Atsuko always enjoyed my column. Bless
Freddie Clark died the other day from COVID-19 down in Louisiana where he moved back in 2009. I remember that Freddie worked at the Madison Urban League in
the late 1970s and then went on to work for the State of Wisconsin for many years until his retirement.
Freddie was always an easy-going guy with a ready handshake and a smile. -- READ MORE
by Jamala Rogers
-time UMOJA Magazine publisher and possessor of many “Madison Firsts” Milele Chikasa Anana had passed.
I have known Atsuko for about 20 years. Soon after becoming the editor of The Madison Times in 1999, I was introduced to the Wisconsin
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