2012 Reverend James C. Wright Human Rights Award

Monday, May 21, 2012 - 7:59am

The Equal Opportunities Commission and the Equal Opportunities Division are proud to announce Colleen Butler is the winner of the 2012 Reverend James C. Wright Human Rights Award. This seventeenth annual award will be presented at the June 19, 2012 Common Council meeting.

The award honors the late Reverend James C. Wright who served as Executive Director of the Equal Opportunities Commission from its inception in 1968 until his retirement in 1992. The award is given to an individual or organization who best exemplifies Reverend Wright's dedication and compassion for civil and human rights and conducts their daily life consistent with these values. Ms. Butler has shown a long-term dedication to civil and human rights through volunteer and community work, along with making civil and human rights a priority in her education and professional work.

Ms. Butler moved to Madison in 1998. Prior to living here, she was involved and committed to advancing women's rights, the rights of Native Americans, and human rights. Since living here, Ms. Butler has been a dedicated and involved leader with regard to advancing civil rights.

She serves on the Dane County Equal Opportunity Commission, the Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, as well as the Implementation Team for that Task Force. In 2010, Ms. Butler completed a master's degree in which her thesis topic was "Intercultural Conflict Styles in the Criminal Justice System and the Implications for Intercultural Interventions."

In her twelve years working at the YWCA of Madison, Ms. Butler has actively upheld and pursued the agency's human rights-oriented mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. She provides opportunities for community members to explore racial justice. She mentors volunteers and fosters long-term volunteer relationships within the Racial Justice Program. She has been involved in restorative justice programs and additionally plans a Racial Justice Summit each year.

Past recipients of this distinguished award include: Jacqueline Wright, 1996; Dr. Richard H. Harris, 1997; Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, 1998; Helen Vukelich, 1999; Anthony "Nino" Amato, 2000; John Noreika, Sr., 2001; Dr. John Y. Odom, 2002; Peter Muñoz, 2003; Earnestine Moss, 2004; Jonathan "Jon" Gramling, 2005; Agnes Gutierrez Cammer, 2006; Jeffery Erlanger, 2007; Professor Richard Davis, 2008; Darlene Hancock, 2009; Alfonso Studesville, 2010; and Richard V. Brown Sr., 2011.


  • Melissa Gombar608-266-4721