Vol. 12    No. 19
SEPTEMBER 18, 2017
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                               Contributions and Injustice
The Latino Professionals Association Kicks Off the
Hispanic Heritage Month with Yo Soy...
Jefe de Garantia
de Calidad
Vice Presidente de
Vice Presidente de
Auditoria Interna
Hispanic Heritage Month in 2017 seems to me to be more poignant than ever before. Last year, then presidential candidate Donald Trump
started bashing Mexican immigrants, playing to the prejudices and fears of many Euro-American voters in a time of economic uncertainty. In
many ways, it’s like blaming the wrath of the gods for visiting Hurricane Irma and perhaps Hurricane Maria upon us.

It’s a force more powerful than us individually and so we must find some fictionalized character to blame in order to comprehend and weather
what is being visited upon us. And so whether it is a god to blame for the weather or an immigrant to blame for the economic storm that is the
international economy, they are both works of fiction, figments of the imagination.

But Trump recognizes that fear and that tendency of the human mind to blame someone or something — think domestic violence — and he
manipulated it and rode it to political power in the form of the presidency of the United States.

But anyone with even the slightest sense of the history of the United States — or their own personal history for that matter — knows that it has
been the successive waves of immigrants who have made this nation great and has kept it ahead of the curve in the international
marketplace. It has been the waves of the Chinese, Italians, Africans — who in spite of their enslavement made great contributions that have
remained hidden due to their entry and property status — Germans, Filipinos, Irish and yes Latin Americans for centuries although their
contributions have been hidden in plain sight, not to speak of American Indians. Where would America be if they had anti-immigrant policies in
place back in 1492?

And it is the continued waves of immigrants from India, China again, Africa and Latin America who keep pushing America ahead, whose
hunger for economic stability fuels the American economic machine.

And where would we have been if we didn’t have the influx of undocumented workers in the 1990s and 2000s? Would the rest of Americans
who were fully participating in the Internet expansion and dot.com growth have been able to enjoy the fruit of their hard work if there weren’t
people ready to work on our dairy farms and in our produce fields and in our restaurants and in our hotels?

We have all benefited from the presence of immigrants — regardless of their status — among us. That is the American Way.

Now my son and I have philosophical discussions at times on whether something is a coincidence or it is the result of a higher power in life
influencing our lives? I must admit that I can’t explain many things and often just say, ‘The Lord works in mysterious ways.’ And whether it is
coincidence or divine intervention, it is just cool sometimes how things seem to work out.
In putting this Hispanic Heritage Month issue together, while I sometimes have general ideas on what I want to place in the paper, I most of the
time rely upon people in the community to point me in the right direction.

And as I have looked at this issue now that it is in the final stages of development, it is unintentionally are a rebuff to the ignorance and hate
spewed out by Donald Trump and his minions. Most of the people who are featured in this issue of The Hues or in two subsequent issues that
roughly fall within Hispanic Heritage Month feature Latinx immigrants who have made an impact in STEM-related fields. We have Sandra Keil
making sure that anesthesiology machines that are used at UW Hospital are of the highest quality and dependability. We have Mari Solberg
helping to strengthen an international business and helping to keep it competitive. We have David de Leon working to keep the energy grid of a
large part of Wisconsin operating at peel efficiency. We have four UW-Madison students — all STEM-related Ph.D. candidates — developing a
start-up company called Pathogenomica that will use DNA analysis to analyze water and other environmental factors.

And most importantly, we have Guillermo Tellez from Mexico who has been helping to develop the Advanced Plant Habitat that will eventually
allow astronauts to not only eat fresh vegetables during the Martian flight, but also contribute to the development of an ecosystem on the ship
to purify air and water. While Trump is creating fictitious immigrant figures to be derided, real immigrants are helping this country prepare to
explore the next frontier. And how important is Guillermo’s contributions? He was just awarded NASA’s Exceptional Public Achievement
Medal for his work.

And we also feature a DACA student who comes not from Mexico, where people erroneously think all undocumented people come from, but
from Uruguay. He is determined to make his mark and his contribution to this country no matter what the present occupant of the White House
thinks. And it is this kind of grit and determination that has made America great — and not the unearned perceived status of some white people.

Instead of deriding them, Trump should be courting and harnessing this natural fuel for growth. And yet, to the long-term detriment of the United
States and his own Republican Party, Trump tries to destroy it like a tragic figure in a Greek play. And we will all be the losers as a result.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Don’t miss Dr. John Y. Odom’s essay on the Confederate monuments or Jamala Rogers’ essay on the newest injustice in St. Louis. Both of
them are impactful essays that The Hues is honored to run.