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Author: Lee Matz

The guilt of safety: Ukrainian woman finds temporary peace away from war with her Milwaukee family

In the early days of Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, I spoke with many members of Milwaukee’s Ukrainian American community. I learned about their personal connections to the war, so that their voices could be shared with the public. During one of the conversations, a relative living in Ukraine joined the discussion via video chat. That was my introduction to Anastasiya and her courage. Unable to fight against a smaller and less formidable military, Putin’s forces have indiscriminately targeted the civilian population of Ukraine. Russian artillery has rained down on apartment buildings. The broken bodies of families with their...

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Joe F. Campbell: Remembering how the Big Boy burger gave him hope in Vietnam as Veterans mourn his loss

I have actively shared stories about the Veteran community in Milwaukee for years, and used photojournalism to document their commemorative events. At times I was fortunate to highlight some of those former soldiers who once served in the protection of our nation. I lost my own father, a Vietnam veteran, in 2010. He was my Rosetta Stone for understanding others of his generation, and all the complicated issues that influenced their environment. It has been an honor to get know this group of local Veterans over the years, and be accepted into their circle. I have watched many finally...

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What we are taught to be ashamed of: A tale of two grandmothers and our ethnic identity in America

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has forced Americans across the political spectrum to consider many issues. While taking place thousands of miles away, there is still a very real impact close to home. For me, it included considering how I was denied my Russian-Ukrainian heritage by a generation of hypocrisy and bias. For a time in my early childhood I lived with my mother’s parents in Milwaukee, while my father was in the military and deployed overseas for war. I remember the stories I was told about my grandmother’s family, how we could trace her ancestors back to the time...

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A historic reemergence: America’s Black Holocaust Museum welcomes visitors for first time since 2008

“History tells me that a people without a story are a people with no name. Without a name, one is not respected or understood. Without a name or a story, the depth-regions of the heart will never be plumbed. You remain a stranger to yourself and others. Stories give shape to our personal journey. Stories give a context to our collective pilgrimage.” – Dr. James Cameron After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed plans by almost two years, America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) finally re-opened its doors to the public on February 25, what would have been the 108th birthday of...

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How watching Korean food videos can be a soothing vacation as the pandemic drags on in Milwaukee

The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed many residents of Milwaukee the time to improve their cooking skills, either to preserve their sanity during isolation or from simple necessity. One thing I never expected was that watching food preparation would become part of my entertainment and exercise routine. I am not a foodie, but I really do like food. And I have always loved Korean dishes, particularly kimchi. I could eat those pickled vegetables directly out of the ceramic pot after fermenting. But for an actual meal, I have enjoyed bibimbap and bulgogi for most of my life. That appreciation came...

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