Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the Year for the State
of Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)
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March is kind of nice because it means that we’re almost through with Wisconsin’s annual cold winter
months with all the snow and ice we have to face not only in the morning but throughout the entire day. Atsuko
and I have been in Madison since Spring 1951. That’s quite a number of years, and we’ve seen all kinds of
changes. However, many important social conditions have either changed very little or not at all. The economy
certainly went downhill.
Understanding of and accepting one another may have changed a little. I wonder how much minimally-
visible non-acceptance continues to be there — race, religion, sex, age, sexual preference, physical
appearance, disability, etc.
Unfortunately, little positive change has occurred in the past 60 years with respect to naturalization even
though the number of immigrants has increased.
Last month, I stated my preference for relaxation of naturalization regulations for specifically-qualified legal
immigrants and undocumented aliens. I pointed out that the U.S. Congress has for its perusal and hopeful
acceptance S. 729 and HR. 1951, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act). It’s
definitely a step to correct a not-so-good situation, but more needs to be done for other groups.
Hua Mulan dancers awe Madison at Celebrating Youth!
Hua Mulan Director Dalian Yu Urbonya and
her sister, choreographer Jong May Yu Urbonya,
presented a repertoire of extremely colorful
Chinese traditional dances, featuring their long-
time dancers and very young students of Madison
Hope Chinese School at Celebrating Youth! at
Monona Terrace Community and Convention
Center in Madison on Jan. 31. Starting with a
Mongolian cup dance, Hua Mulan kept their
audience in awe as they danced a fan dance from
Shanxi province, and dances from the Dai
nationalities. They also performed a Chinese-
Indian fusion dance, reminiscent of Bollywood.
The Madison Hope Chinese School kids
presented vibrant dances such as red sour
crabapple-inspired,“Bing Tang Hu Lu;”
handkerchief dance, “Cou Re Nao,” and ribbon
dance, Ying fu Nian.” Their performance was a
way to say “Happy Chinese New Year” to all! We
salute Dalian and Jong May Urbonya, the dance
instructors of MHCS. — Heidi M. Pascual
Paul Kusuda's column: Naturalization denied
Many conditions have to be met before potentially-eligible persons under 35 at the time the Act is passed can apply for legal
permanent resident status, the necessary first step to eventual U.S. citizenship. Estimates have been made that about 65,000
undocumented alien students graduate high school annually. That number includes children of persons who come to the U.S. through
the visa process and are not eligible for the first step toward becoming legal permanent residents. They are children who go through
public schools and may want to get post-high school education, get better jobs, earn more money, and become tax-paying members of
America’s middle class. They can be part of America’s future if allowed to stay in the U.S. and become naturalized citizens.
For those who meet eligibility requirements of the DREAM Act, many advantages are available in addition to being granted a six-
year temporary residence status prior to legal permanent residency. They can apply for student loans and work-study programs (but not
Pell grants). Also, depending on final wording of the legislation, states would be permitted to provide the same benefits to children of
immigrants as provided to out-of-state students.
Despite the positives, there are many requirements and potential problem considerations. For example, what might be the definition
of “good moral character”? How might an applied definition be contested? A student’s six-year temporary residence status may be
taken away if education or military service requirements are not met within the six years. Also, the student must not commit any crime
other than specified non-drug misdemeanors. Conviction of a major crime (not defined) or drug-related infraction would result in loss of
temporary residence status and probable deportation.
The “carrot and stick” provisions are there, but an optimistic view is that immigration laws are being re-evaluated to enable more
to enter the naturalization process. More changes have to be made to enable persons who enter the U.S. through the visa process (and
who would opt to become U.S. citizens) be naturalized. At present, it appears the only way is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. That’s
fine for single persons who are fortunate enough to fall in love and get married.
Hazards are present, of course, so other means must be made available. Congress needs to formulate an avenue such that more
aliens may become naturalized citizens. How long will it take to begin the next step toward improving immigration laws? If we start
now, the wait will be shorter.
Heidi Pascual's column: Spring and Asian American women
In Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Midwest, the month of March brings a renewed hope for the coming of a bluer sky, days of
abundant sunlight, warmer breeze, sprouts of greens everywhere, beautiful lakes, and flowers of all colors in bloom. Spring is coming!
And when it does, the memory of the recent harsh winter will soon fade away. Time to put our penguin outfits to storage once again,
and start wearing semi-tropical clothes that allow our skins to breathe.
If only we could say the same thing with regard to our economy: that the harshness of the economic downturn is almost over; that
millions of our unemployed are getting jobs again; that home foreclosures are now a thing of the past; that the uninsured and
underinsured Americans and U.S. residents are soon provided with affordable health insurance; that the new immigration reform will
turn out to be just, humane, and will reflect the true will of the American people; and that our politicans set aside their partisanship to
really benefit the people, not just their campaign contributors.
If only we could say the same thing with regard to world peace: that people of different races, cultures, beliefs and religions co-
exist in harmony; that people treat each other with respect and understanding; that people stop killing each other for power; that people
erase hate and violence from their hearts; and that people live the virtues of compassion and love for others.
Perhaps I’m dreaming too much. Perhaps lofty ideals are impossible dreams. But hope springs eternal, and when more than one
person act to achieve a dream, it isn’t impossible at all to happen.
We celebrate Women’s History Month in March, as well. Women in the U.S. have been fortunate to reach a certain level of equality
with men in many aspects of social living, after hundreds of years of being considered second class citizens.
Women of color, of course, have always been in a worse place than their White counterparts. But times have changed, thanks to the
valiant efforts of American women who blazed the trail for us. We now enjoy the benefits of their struggle. And we should pay tribute to
To us Asian American women and other women of color, their contribution to helping us develop our sense of self, identity and
cultural pride is immeasurable. Perhaps the best way to show our thanks to them is to be the best at what we do and be of service to
our families and communities. The March issue of Asian Wisconzine highlights some of these Asian American women in the Madison
area whom Asian Wisconzine had featured through the years. They all exemplify strength of character, hard work, focus in reaching
their goals, excellence in what they do, pride in their culture, and most of all, love of family and their community. We also salute our
grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, and all the women in our lives who helped mold us into better persons.
Visit www.asianwisconzine.com and read our stories — sometimes painful, sometimes happy, sometimes fun and easy,
sometimes a combination of emotions, of failures and successes — but there is always one thing in common. Asian American women
work very very hard to achieve the American Dream not only for themselves but most importantly, for their loved ones.