First of two parts.
With another challenging year drawing to an end, it’s worth taking the time to give gratitude.
So we asked contributors to our “Community Voices” column to name a person, organization or institution for which they feel thankful.
‘Thank you for opening your home, for braving the numerous stores, for balancing the dietary needs and finicky eaters’
Nicolo Onorato is the public education advocate at Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association.
It is the Thanksgiving season, full of family, food and football. The joy of full houses of generations of family who traveled across the country to celebrate.
As we sit around our family table, taking in the majestic sight of the platters of food, sides, wine and drinks, pies and cakes, cheese boards and snacks, remember that it comes from a plan. A plan that has been meticulously arranged, measured and implemented on a timeframe that often is measured in weeks but accounted down to the minute.
The stress of planning for perfect holiday meals is often a thankless endeavor.
To all of the people who are planning menus, who are figuring out travel plans, seating arrangements and kids’ wish lists. To those who have been shopping for weeks to make the holiday magic happen.
Thank you for opening your home, for braving the numerous stores, for balancing the dietary needs and finicky eaters. Thank you for shuffling your plans and making contingencies in case someone is sick, or has to work, or is delayed, or the world shuts down again.
Thank you for all that you do.
There is much stress and high expectations of the season, and while I know that some short paragraphs will not alleviate it, I offer the hands and help of myself and the others who have for too long sat on couches and expected the magic to just happen. I am thankful that we have you and for all that you do to make our lives special every day.
Read more: OPINION: The ugly truth: Students need to see themselves in their country’s history even if it makes privileged critics uncomfortable
‘I’m thankful that we have institutions and griots such as the Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Clayborn Benson III”
Rick Banks, a Milwaukee native, is a co-founder and Executive Director of MKE Black Inc.
A wise man once told me, “Know your future and you’ll know your greatness.” It’s a quote that always instills pride and propels me into my future.
As I think about all that I am grateful for, my mind goes to being thankful for all those who took actions to get me where I am today. My ancestors who survived and resisted enslavement. My grandparents who took the trek to Milwaukee in search of better opportunities. The communities that supported them. The people that worked to make their lives better.
So in my appreciation for the history of my people and community, I’m thankful that we have institutions and griots such as the Wisconsin Black Historical Society and Clayborn Benson III.
Since 1987, the Wisconsin Black Historical Society has documented and preserved the historical heritage of people of African descent in Wisconsin. Benson has a wealth of knowledge at the hyperlocal level on the history of Black people in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. History that every person should know.
History such as that of Ezekiel Gillespie who sued for the right of African-Americans to vote in Wisconsin and won. And history such as that of Lloyd Barbee, a state legislator who advocated for solutions far ahead of his time.
These are stories that need to be told more often, so that we can stay thankful for the past and look hopefully to the future.
Benson and the Wisconsin Black Historical Society have opened their doors to many community events that I am thankful for, from annual Kwanzaa events to community hearings on the need to preserve and invest in local health institutions.
With the redevelopment of the Department of Natural Resources building on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, we have a unique opportunity to add to the Black cultural district that is Bronzeville and move the Wisconsin Black Historical Society to within one block of America’s Black Holocaust Museum. These two historic institutions would accent each other well and serve as strong anchors for the area.
I pray that this comes to fruition.
As a community, and as a state, it’s important that we continue to invest in institutions such as these. Without our support, we lose out on not just the physical space and knowledge, but on the positive impact they have on our future generations.
Join me in supporting the Wisconsin Black Historical Society by becoming a member.
Read more: OPINION: Don’t dilute my work. It’s explicitly Black for a reason.
‘I have become the leader I am today because Voces de la Frontera believed in me’
Alondra Garcia is a bilingual elementary school teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools and a recipient of DACA.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our lives and the impact others have made on our beings. 2021 has been a year of sorrow, but also a year full of blessings.
I am beyond grateful to have the honor to work alongside Voces de la Frontera, a pro-immigrant organization whose unwavering fight for immigrants’ rights is in the forefront of all it does for our community.
I identify as a DACA-mented educator and a proud daughter of immigrant essential workers who have given their all to make our family feel a part of this country. Voces de la Frontera has stood beside us for more than 20 years, and we are now closer than ever to winning a pathway to citizenship for me, my parents and other immigrant essential workers in our community.
We cannot let the pressure down until we win.
Throughout our long struggle for citizenship, Voces de la Frontera leaders have given me a safe space to simply be myself. There’s no need to hide who you are with them because they uplift your voice to become the leader we are all capable of being.
I have become the leader I am today because Voces de la Frontera believed in me. It gave me the fuel, confidence and courage to become the trailblazer I was meant to be. It gave me a voice that has inspired others to believe in themselves to find their own and for that I am always thankful to Voces de la Frontera.
May this year be the year that all 11 million immigrants in our country win what we rightfully deserve: citizenship for ALL.
If you agree, contact your Democratic members of Congress today and tell them that they need to fulfil their campaign promise and pass a path to citizenship now!
Read: more OPINION: ‘We deserve to be citizens just like everyone else’: Why Congress needs to create a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.
In case you missed it:
We asked you what you’re thankful for. Here’s what you told us.
Milwaukee gives thanks 2020: Four shout-outs to those who stand out
OPINION: Milwaukee gives thanks: Four shout-outs to those who stand out
OPINION: Milwaukee gives thanks, part two: Four more shout-outs to those who stand out
What are YOU thankful for? Who are you thankful for? Tell us in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Thanks” in the subject line.
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