Publisher & Editor
Lisa Peyton-Caire, Sujhey Beisser,
Wayne Strong, Fabu, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Heidi Pascual, Paul
Kusuda, Nia Trammell, Nichelle
Nichols, and Donna Parker
Heidi M. Pascual
|Vol. 11 No. 10
MAY 12, 2016
($45 a year)
The Capital City Hues
PO Box 259712
Madison, WI 53725
There are times in life when it seems as if things that happened 10 years ago seem like they just happened
yesterday. It is at times like that when I wonder how I got so old so quickly and redouble my efforts to
make every moment on this earth count because tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. I regret all of those
moments in my life when I sat around feeling miserable and depressed, reliving some negative moment in
my past again and again, stuck on yesterday instead of today. Life is a precious gift. Live it to the fullest.
And then there are those times when I look up and am reminded of an event and I wonder, ‘That only
happened last week? It feels like that happened a month ago.” That’s the way it feels with the decision of
the Madison College board on May 4th to enter into a long-term lease through an RFP on its DTEC site and
to expand its presence in South Madison. That was less than two weeks ago.
That was such a significant moment in the history of Madison College and, in many ways, for all of the
greater Madison area. Too often, the academic needs of students of color of any age have been viewed
through the prism of what’s left over after the needs of the majority community needs or wants. For
instance back when I lived down in Mississippi, the African American schools would the textbook hand-
me-downs of the Euro-American schools, just assuring that African American students would always be
behind when it came to cutting-edge academic ideas and instructional methods.
At the hearing on May 4th when individuals got up to address the board on the DTEC/South Madison
proposal from Dr. Jack Daniels III, one speaker suggested that the college invest in the Downtown
Technical Education Center, DTEC, and then provide better and more frequent bus service from the greater
South Madison area. And so the South Madison students, a majority of them students of color, would be
bused to the downtown campus. In essence, they would be used to fill in the student enrollment gaps to
make DTEC feasible.
But economics and sound business planning — not to speak of equity — suggested that Madison College
should invest in South Madison in close proximity to where its future market — future students — lies, thus
reducing the barriers to access for students who will increasingly become a larger percentage of the
college’s student population. One only has to drive by Leopold or Lincoln Elementary School at the start of
any given school day to see where the future of Madison College lies.
The decision to expand in South Madison was in the best interests of its students, now and in the future
and in its future economic health. Madison College’s financial health will be determined by its enrollment,
its retention rates and its graduation rates. And so, the college needs to be making inroads with its future
students now so that it is able to meet its future goals.
And as Daniels has noted — and others emphasized in their presentations — South Madison is rich in
ancillary resources that can assist Madison College students attain their academic goals. There are
Omega School, Urban League of Greater Madison, Centro Hispano, Access Community Health, the Boys &
Girls Club, the Literacy Network, Madison-area Urban Ministry and two predominantly African American
churches, Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Fountain of Life that have made education a priority for their
community work. I am sure that I am leaving some important resources. Collaboration will be greatly
facilitated by their close proximity. Many of the ingredients for the academic success — and future
employment — are present.
But that success will not be realized unless these organizations and the surrounding communities are
committed to seeing it happen in the long haul. Getting Daniels’ proposal passed was the easy part. It is
going to take the sustained commitment of all involved over decades to see the tide turn and this future
pool of Madison College students realize their academic and professional dreams.
That is what this proposal is all about. It will take a village to achieve academic excellence. And speaking
of excellence, I have been doing an annual feature on graduating students of color from Dane County high
schools with a 3.0 GPA or higher for about the last 20 years with the most recent iteration being the Hues
Row of Excellence.
It is always delightful and reenergizing to read the student information sheets and to take their photos and
then to write mini-stories about them and their achievements. They are always truly inspiring and I know
that this year’s group will be no less inspiring when our graduation issue is published on May 26th.
One thing that I have noticed in the past 20 years is a shift in student perspective. When I first started in
the mid-1990s — it seems like only yesterday — it seemed that there were a lot more student activists, that
they were going to change and save the world. Frequently, students were involved in Amnesty
International or Free Tibet or any other human rights or political cause. Nowadays, it seems that the
students are more narrowly-focused in their dreams and not necessarily their dreams for a better society.
But we love and cherish their accomplishments nonetheless. We are proud of our graduates and the
promise that they hold.
And don’t forget to order your tickets for The Hues 10th Anniversary Celebration. The deadline is only 31
days away and nothing will be sold the day of the event.