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Author: Lee Matz

From Irpin to Milwaukee: The price we still pay after six months of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine

As recent as August 17, just seven days short of six months after Putin’s unprovoked full-scale invasion to seize Ukraine began, two dozen bodies of unknown residents were discovered in the city of Bucha. Placed in freshly dug graves, their headstones were marked with only numbers for identification, no names. They were among the hundreds of civilians in the area who were brutally massacred in the early days of the war by the occupying Russian forces. August 24 is a bittersweet day, because it marks the six month anniversary of when the Russians launched their latest in a series...

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Escaping from Russian Terror: A reminder that war in Ukraine is not over as families seek safety in Milwaukee

For my assignment as a war correspondent in Ukraine I had the privilege to work with Yaroslav, who was my videographer and also provided security for my team. Near the end of my work, I had the chance to visit his hometown of Berezhany near the Polish border. I had a meal with his family and fell in love with smetana, which is a type of Ukrainian sour cream. His wife Nataliia made it fresh, and I originally thought it was a soft cheese sauce. As we ate, we talked about a future when the family might have to...

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Why the Sikh Temple massacre remains an inconvenient example of Milwaukee’s caring and complicity

For my parents generation, I remember the TV news would always ask people where they were when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. For my generation, in the early years of the new millennium, the question TV news asked was where were we on September 11 when the towers fell. Yet in the decade since the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin massacre, I have never seen anyone asked where they were on August 5, 2012. Perhaps the TV news has asked the question over the years and I missed it. But I have reflected on this question, and what it...

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Remembering Abe: Once in Yamaguchi when I awkwardly shook hands with Japan’s future Prime Minister

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was fatally shot on July 8 as he delivered a campaign speech just days ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections. Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, Abe was rushed to a hospital with wounds inflicted by a blast from a homemade shotgun. His death was officially announced hours later. In May of 2002, I was traveling with a two schoolmates from our university outside of Nagoya to visit my friends in Saga Prefecture. One classmate was from Wales, the other South Korea, and neither had been able to travel too extensively in Japan up to...

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Sister Norma Pimentel: An impromptu chat with the “Pope’s favorite nun” during a drive to the border

MISSION TO THE BORDER: In late June, Milwaukee-based Forward Latino led a delegation to the southernmost border section between Mexico and the United States of America. Leadership and board members of the nonprofit Hispanic advocacy organization planned the trip as a way to separate politics from the reality on the ground, by seeking first-hand reports for themselves. The group met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigrants, refugees, relief agencies, border city officials, local faith leaders, and the government of Mexico. The spectrum of voices and views offered a closer narrative to the truth of the actual situation at...

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Mission to the Border: Latino advocacy group leaves politics behind for immigration fact-finding tour

MISSION TO THE BORDER: In late June, Milwaukee-based Forward Latino led a delegation to the southernmost border section between Mexico and the United States of America. Leadership and board members of the nonprofit Hispanic advocacy organization planned the trip as a way to separate politics from the reality on the ground, by seeking first-hand reports for themselves. The group met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigrants, refugees, relief agencies, border city officials, local faith leaders, and the government of Mexico. The spectrum of voices and views offered a closer narrative to the truth of the actual situation at...

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