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 15th, at the Overture Center Capital Theater, 201 State Street, Madison. The program begins at 6:00 P.M. Media are invited to attend.
The 2015 City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award recipients are: Gaddi Ben Dan and Ali Muldrow. Information regarding each of the worthy award winners can be found below.
“This year’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian award recipients embody the spirit of Dr. King,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Ali and Gaddi have worked tirelessly to help others and have impacted the lives of hundreds across Dane County. Thank you for your years of service to our community and your commitment to helping people.”
“It is always humbling to be involved in the awards honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledging and supporting the commitment to promote peace between diverse populations. This work is especially important during this challenging period in our nation’s history.” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. “We have many role models in our community and I look forward to the awards.”
Ali Muldrow is a parent, writer, instructor, educational advocate, and doula. She began her work in education in 2006 when she became the after school spoken word club liaison for the East High School in partnership with UW-Madison’s First Wave program. Ali played a key role in creating Wisconsin’s first Spoken Word class; a class that allowed high school students to receive academic credit for their study of urban art forms. Ali went on to partner with Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) to create and host spoken word clubs at five Madison public high schools.
Ali is currently the Director of Youth Programming and Inclusion at GSAFE, where she has for the last five years authored the curriculum for and taught Foundations of Leadership, a course based in the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth of color that recruits high school students from the entire Madison public school district who are advanced learners in the areas of leadership. While working with GSAFE Ali has also paired over 70 students with mentors and hosted four annual LGBTQ+ Youth of Color Leadership Conferences as well as co-directed GSAFE’s Leadership Training Institute, a 4 day summer camp that gives students from all over Wisconsin the opportunity to develop their abilities as activists, allies, and creators of change.
In the spring of 2015 Ali launched GSAFE’s New Narrative Project in the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, a program that provides incarcerated young people with clear channels to academic success, civic engagement, and self-determination.
Gaddi Ben Dan
Gaddi Dan’s civil rights activism has its roots in Chicago at the Westside Organization(WSO). Dan was a leader in the movement against blaxploitation movies, such as Superfly. Because the students at University of Illinois at Chicago were afraid to walk against drugs through the black neighborhoods, Dan organized the Bike Ride for Survival. Also in Chicago, Dan worked with Jesse Jackson at Operation Push. In 1966, Dan marched alongside of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for open housing.
Gaddi helped found Today Not Tomorrow a non-profit focused on educating and informing the community using the medium of entertainment (Club TNT) and promoting Comm-Unity and strengthening the health and well-being of families.
Gaddi helped form Peacemaker Community Forums aimed at allowing the community members to speak directly to police officers of the Madison Police Department about their feelings, concerns and how they viewed the actions of the MPD in the vein of racial injustices. These facilitated discussions and although heated at times, they allowed the venting of strong emotions, and in all instances, resulted in a connection being forged with at least one officer and the community/neighborhoods they served in.
Gaddi was also involved with Project Babies, an initiative started in 2006, which supports over 375 families (expectant and /or with young children) yearly with material items needed for the care of their children and connects them with the community resources that are available to them for support.
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.
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” athttp://www.cityofmadison.com/dcr/commMLK.cfm.