Vol. 4    No. 24
NOVEMBER 26, 2009 Archives

2010 Production Schedule


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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Paul Barrows,
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Heidi Pascual, Jessica
Pharm, Laura Salinger, Jessica
Strong, & Martinez White

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   During hard times like we’ve had over the past year, it can be difficult to find reasons to be thankful. People
have lost their jobs, had to take furlough days, had their homes foreclosed on and businesses have gone out of
business as their skimpy margins of profit in good times have shrunk to nothing or turned into deficits during the
current prolonged economic downturn.
   Things have been particularly bad in the print industry field as daily newspapers have shrunk to twice per
week printing and monthly magazines have disappeared all together. Many of us are holding out until the
economy improves. While the wind is out of our sails, we tack back and forth to keep our publications going to
see a brighter economic day.
   These are times that test our mettle. It is a time when the strong and creative survive and the weak or those
who remain rooted in what has been do not survive. And it isn’t always a matter of having economic strength in
order to survive during these times. It is also a matter of spiritual strength. It is a matter of having hope and faith
that things can be better even when things look so bleak.
   What has always given me inspiration is African American history and spirituality. Even during the harshness
of slavery, the centuries of disenfranchisement and economic depravity, it is the belief of African Americans that
has carried them forward during periods when it would have seemed as if there was no future to hope for. And
even during the bleakest of times, the African American community has held on and progressed. It is that belief
in God that has carried them through. It is that legacy of struggle that carries me forward for while it seems that
2009 has been sucking the economic life out of me, I also know that there are many, many people who have
succumbed or have it worse than I. So I am grateful and thankful to God for all that he has given me and allowed
me to experience.
   I must also be thankful to God for the struggle that I have experienced, for the burden that he has given me
because it also allows one to see what they are made of. It is easy for us to be giving and kind when the
economic times are good. It is easy for us to give when there is plenty left over for us. But when things are
scarce, then that is the time when we see if our values and principles are built on solid rock or on a sea of sand
that blows out beneath us in the face of harsh economic winds. For better or worse, it allows us to see our own
humanity and what we are and are not made of.
   I’d like to think that I am a spiritual person, that I do things out of value and principle as much as I do them out
of human need. We are complex people with sometimes shifting reasons for our actions, whether those reasons
equate to the reality of our lives or not. It is during the most difficult times that we can see through the bleakness
to what we are made of and the true depth of our spirituality. Like God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac,
will we make the sacrifice that God asks us in the deep of the night when no one else is around, when we can
hear the voice of our own souls? It is during these difficult times that we can hear that voice from within. And
can we truly say ‘God let Thy will and not mine own be done?’ Can we do what God expects regardless of the
consequences for ourselves? It is easier to answer that question for ourselves during difficult times. So I thank
God for this difficult moment in my life so that I can ask those questions and perhaps vainly seek to answer the
question. Difficult times can also be moments of great clarity.
   I am also grateful for the people in my life who remain there during good times and bad. There are some in life
who become involved with you when they at least perceive that there is something there that will benefit them
and disappear when the benefit may not be too obvious. As Billie Holiday sang in God Bless the Child “Money,
you've got lots of friends, Crowding round the door. When you're gone, spending ends, they don't come around no
more.” I’m grateful for those who still come around.
   I’m grateful for those who continue to help out with the paper, particularly Ty Glenn who delivers the paper for
us religiously every other week. And I am also grateful for our writers: Dr. Paul Barrows, Heidi Pascual, Lang
Kenneth Haynes, Fabu, Eileen Cecile, Martinez White, Rita Adair, Alfonso Zepeda-Capistrán and my son Andrew
Gramling.
   And we couldn’t have gotten this far without all of our advertisers, both big and small including Becker Law
Office, MG&E, Northport/Packers Apartments, FOCUSS, Edgewood College, UW-Madison, Omega and WisDOT.
Thanks for hanging with us in 2009. I think I see brighter days ahead in 2010. And we wouldn’t have that chance
without the support of all of you including our virtual subscribers. Even though these have been difficult times, I
hope we have maintained the integrity and quality that you expect because it is for you, our readership, that we
publish at all. Thank you!
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                      Reasons to be thankful