Madison – Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and City of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin today announced the recipients of the combined City-County Humanitarian Award honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The award winners, selected by the City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, are community members who reflect the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The City and County will present the awards at the annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, January 19th, at the Overture Center Capital Theater, 201 State Street, Madison. The program begins at 6:00 P.M.

The 2015 City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award recipients are: Peng Her and Barbara Nichols. Information regarding each of the worthy award winners can be found below.

Award recipients

The City-County annual award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions and exemplified Dr. King’s non-violent philosophy. Each award winner, past and present, has enhanced the fabric of Dane County.

Peng Her – Humanitarian Award

“This year’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian award recipients embody the spirit of Dr. King when he stated ‘change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle,’” said Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi. “Mr. Her overcame the hardship of being a child refugee and living in refugee camps to becoming a committed advocate for justice and inclusion of the Hmong American Community and for all underrepresented populations. His advocacy efforts around neighborhood and community engagement ensure that all voices are heard.”

Since his arrival to the Madison community in 1999, Mr. Peng Her has worked tirelessly to promote better understanding and improve communication and cooperation between diverse populations. Most of his work has been participation on local committees where diverse interest groups need to be woven together. In emulation of Dr. King’s philosophy, Mr. Her participates in ways that resolve conflicting perspectives in non-violent dialogical ways.

Barbara Nichols – Humanitarian Award

“As Wisconsin’s first African-American president of the American Nurses Association and Wisconsin’s first African-American cabinet secretary, Barbara Nichols has marked her legacy through a commitment to civil rights and serving the public,” said Mayor Paul Soglin. “Ms. Nichols embodies Dr. King’s values and philosophy in continuously seeking to increase opportunities for people of color and women.”

Since moving to Madison over fifty years ago, Ms. Nichols has invested deeply in building a stronger and more inclusive community. Ms. Nichols has set the bar for nursing professionals in the community by setting new goals to allow them to realize their highest potential, including significant work to advance a better community approach to medical challenges facing the African-American community in greater Madison. Ms. Nichols continues Dr. King’s legacy by improving the quality of life for individuals in Madison and Dane County by embracing a vision of peace grounded in universal access to quality healthcare.

The City-County Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award accepts nominations year round for individuals whose volunteerism and efforts follow Dr. King’s non-violent philosophy. Please consider nominating a “hero of peace” at