Madison Magazine

Michel: Spectrum brings diversity to light

Nowhere else in local print journalism can you...

I have walked in two worlds most of my life—one as a Native American and the other simply as an American. I was in second grade when I first realized this dichotomy. Some classmates dropped by my house unexpectedly after school to see if my siblings and I wanted to play. They stood inside the enclosed porch of my family’s small house in rural Wisconsin and looked curiously at some of the items stored there: handmade baskets of my Ho-Chunk people, big enamel kettles and pots used for special meals in our cultural ways, an old set of bells on leather straps that my father wore when he danced in full regalia around the powwow drum. I remember standing there perplexed, not sure if I should be the person I am at school—just one of the other kids—or let them in on this other part of my life that’s full of ancient tradition.

For people of diverse backgrounds, whose lives are rarely depicted with much depth by mainstream media, it may feel at times that there are two separate worlds to navigate. That’s one reason it’s so important for Spectrum magazine to bring stories of diverse communities to light. Nowhere else in local print journalism can you find this breadth of coverage focusing on issues important to communities of color and other underrepresented groups. You’ll read about people who are working to create change in Madison in terms of racial equity. You’ll learn about an African American man who didn’t let a tragic loss deter him from building a life of helping others, and who became an Ironman along the way. You’ll find out how biracial couples view life in Madison, and how a Ho-Chunk athlete has become a role model for Native American youth. Credit goes to the Madison Area Diversity Roundtable for making this publication a priority and for the great collaboration it has had with Madison Magazine in producing the 2016 edition of Spectrum. From the columns to business stories to features, careful thought was given to ensuring that a variety of voices were included.

As you read this issue of Spectrum, I encourage you to consider the world that members of these diverse communities live in each day. It’s an opportunity to learn about each other, much like what my childhood friends and I experienced so many years ago.

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