Madison and Dane County Announce Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

January 9, 2007

Madison - City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced the recipients of their respective annual awards honoring community members who reflect the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The City and County will present the awards at the 22nd Annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, January 15, at the Overture Center Capital Theater, 201 State Street, Madison. The program begins at 6:00 p.m.

The City of Madison named four recipients of its 2007 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award: Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman, Milton L. McPike and Tosha Songolo. Dane County has selected four individuals to receive its 2007 Dane County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recognition Award. The recipients are: Lea Zelda, Edith Lawrence Hilliard, Jason Carlos Gonzales and posthumously, Michael Harrington McKinney. Additional information about each of the recipients is below.

City of Madison award recipients

There are four recipients of the City of Madison's Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award for 2007. This annual award is given to individuals who have made outstanding and significant contributions in the spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood and harmony toward making Madison an ideal place in which to live.

In the category of "Adult Leader", this year's recipients are: Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman and Milton L. McPike.

Since uniting as business partners in Madison in 1939, Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman have lived by the same philosophy that they have applied to their business - be kind and honest to people. Throughout the years as Madison business leaders and members of the Madison community the Goodman Brothers have encouraged and supported hundreds of programs and projects in the Madison area. In past years, Irwin has been a member of the Mayor's Commission on Human Rights; Director of the Methodist Hospital Foundation, Director of the YWCA Foundation, Director of the UW Foundation; and the Director of the Jewish Welfare Council. Robert has consistently dedicated his energies; enthusiasm and athletic abilities to the advancement of sports and recreational opportunities in our community. Kathy Hubbard, Community Building Director for the United Way of Dane County and Laura Whitmore, Community Relations Coordinator for the City of Madison's Parks Division, nominated Irwin and Robert Goodman.

Having been a Principal in the Madison School District for 28 years, Milton L. McPike has touched the lives of thousands of students and their families while providing them with necessary tools to lead productive lives. In 2002 McPike retired as Principal of East High but continues to have a profound effect on the Madison community. Past and current memberships for McPike include, but are not limited to: The Bassett Foundation, Board of Trustees of Edgewood College, The Governor's Task Force on Gangs, Chair of the Dane County Gang Task Force, Wisconsin Higher Education Board, Madison Metropolitan Community Recreation Board, Project HUGS, The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and the Madison Community Foundation Board. Richard Scott, Minority Services at Madison East, Jill Galbraith, Social Worker at Madison East and Conny Mares, School Nurse at Madison East, nominated McPike.

In the category of "Youth Leader", this year's recipient is Tosha Songolo. Songolo, a senior at James Madison Memorial, is in the process of establishing a strong foundation of community service. Songolo is currently serving as President of Keeping It Together Sisters (KITS) at Memorial High School. The focus of KITS is to keep young women out of trouble and to provide them with a safe environment that promotes friendship and positive encouragement. KITS contributions to the betterment of our community include: establishing mentoring programs at Memorial's feeder elementary schools, participating in The Jingle Bell Run/Walk and participating in The First Annual Memorial Fashion Show (fundraiser for South African Project). Songolo's commitment to community service extends beyond her activities with KITS. Songolo has also found the time to volunteer at: The Salvation Army, The West Side Senior Center, St. Vincent De Paul's shelter for men, delivering Thanksgiving baskets on Allied Drive through Memorial's Captains Club, and encouraging African and African-American communities to register to vote. Percy Brown, Jr., Minority Services Coordinator at James Madison Memorial, nominated Songolo.

"This year's winners share a common vision for service to our community that honors the legacy of Dr. King," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "The Goodman Brothers have helped us build our first public pool, which proved to be the most diverse place in Madison on any given day this summer. The Goodmans deserve recognition not just for this latest act of incredible generosity, but for a lifetime of giving back to their community. Milt McPike has an extraordinary, decades-long record of service to our community, especially to our schools. Tosha Songolo has proven that youth is no obstacle to making a difference, and is an outstanding role model for young and old alike."

Irwin and Robert Goodman, Milton McPike and Tosha Songolo were selected by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award Committee, which chooses recipients each year. The award has been given out annually since 1974.

Dane County award recipients

"I am proud to announce our four recipients of the 2007 Dane County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recognition Award," Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said today of Lea Zeldin, Edith Hilliard, Jason Gonzales and posthumously, Michael 'Mike' McKinney. "Dr. King said we can all be great because we can serve. Here are four great individuals who have made our community better and touched so many lives because of their commitment to serve."

The recipients:

Michael 'Mike' McKinney idolized Dr. King during his youth. In his teens, he began competing in oratorical contests. Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech was among his favorites because he believed in so many of the late civil rights leader's values. As a professional journalist, Mike used his position to raise the community awareness of some of the most pressing issues - AIDS, hunger and racial profiling. Mike's influence, however, did not stop with the evening newscasts on WMTV-Channel 15. He also started the annual Share Your Holidays community program to help feed the needy in our neighborhoods, participated in the local AIDS Ride and was a key figure in numerous community activities including at the S.S. Morris AME Church. Mike died on July 9, 2006, of colon cancer, but his legacy lives on in the people he touched and helped during a life that was too short.

Lea Zeldin's nomination states: " Dr. King would have been proud to know Lea Zeldin, and would have held her as among the brightest examples of what an ordinary citizen can achieve, if we would lead a life of service, peace, and action, as he called us to do." Lea certainly fits that calling. Lea has been a health care advocate since the 1960s and has been instrumental in starting a free medical clinic on Madison's East Side. She started distributing free food to the poor in Madison and other Dane County municipalities long before there were other organizations doing so.

Lea Zeldin followed Dr. King's call for peace activism by joining the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. It was 25 years ago when Lea began inviting the whole community to dinner in honor of Dr. King and share a meal in the spirit of peace, justice and equality. Lea became a member of the King Coalition 20 years ago and the Dr. Martin Luther King Free Community Dinners have been sponsored by the King Coalition ever since.

Lea Zeldin also is active at WORT Radio where she is a food and popular culture critic. She is the host of "A Public Affair" and editor of "Health Writers," a bi-weekly information and call-in show covering health Issues. Lea is involved in starting a low power, independent radio station in Madison.

Edith Hilliard exemplifies the County's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognition award criteria by demonstrating her long-standing leadership and commitment to community service that has had a great impact in promoting peace, understanding, communication and cooperation between diverse populations in Dane County. She embodies the vision and commitment Dr. King had to make the world around us a better place for people of all races.

Edith has provided leadership and service to countless of organizations in Dane County such as the Wisconsin Women of Color Network, YWCA Board of Directors, Dane County Minority Affairs Commission, United Way of Dane County, YWCA's Certified Nursing Assistance Program, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, and Suited for Success Program to name a few from a long list.

Edith has received numerous local awards for her voluntary service to the Dane County community -- most notably the Meriter Hospital Spirit of Women Award (2002), YWCA Women of Distinction (1992) and Outstanding Service Award, Ebony Expressions.

Like King, Edith has had to overcome many difficult circumstances in her life, but still found the time and the will to love and contribute to the community in which she lives.

Jason Gonzales is an outstanding young man, demonstrating academic excellence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, personal responsibility, intellectual growth and maturity and service and leadership to his community. Jason has worked to help support himself through high school and college, which has been a big help to his mother who has worked two jobs herself to support the family and help keep Jason in school.

Jason also is active in community service and volunteering throughout the year. He volunteers with the Town of Madison Fire Department, as well as the Oregon Area Fire and EMS District. Jason also has served as a mentor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County.

As an undergraduate, Jason created a Spanish-English fire prevention program while volunteering as a firefighter for the Town of Madison. He won funding from the Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship from the UW Morgridge Center for Public Service during the 2005-06 academic year. His service to the community and the UW-Madison were the reasons he won the University of Wisconsin System's Kevin J. Kendall Community Engagement Award in 2006.

Jason demonstrates qualities of achievement and leadership in his academic career, his personal life and community involvement.

Contact:
  • George Twigg, 266-4611