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

January 15, 2008

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 23rd Annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, January 21, at the Overture Center Capital Theater, 201 State Street, Madison. The program begins at 6:00 p.m.

The City of Madison named two recipients of its 2008 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award: Lauren Rock and John L. Quinlan. Dane County has selected Jerome Dillard to receive its 2008 Dane County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recognition Award. Additional information about each of the recipients is below.

City of Madison award recipients:

There are two recipients of the City of Madison's Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award for 2008. 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.

"Madison's tradition of social justice and activism is well represented by both of this year's winners," said Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. "Both Lauren Rock and John Quinlan have shown a deep commitment to making our community a better place for all Madisonians. We are a better place because of their contributions to the community."

In the category of "Adult Leader," this year's recipient is John L. Quinlan. Quinlan, a voice for social change in Madison for nearly 30 years, is being recognized for his tremendous contributions to our community. For more than 20 years Quinlan has been a contributing writer and broadcaster for publications and programming serving Madison's communities of color and the LGBT community.

Quinlan's extraordinary body of work demonstrates his devotion to advancing issues of social justice. These efforts include serving as the director of both the Tenant Resource Center and OutReach (Madison's LGBT Community Center). John has served in leadership roles in more than a dozen local social justice groups. A few examples of John's commitment to activism include membership in the following organizations: board president of the Fair Housing Council, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission Housing Committee, member of the Rainbow Coalition, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Visibility Alliance, vice-chair of "Communities United," co-chair of the Coalition for a More Inclusive Dane County, trustee of the American Civil Liberties Union of WI, president of the Wisconsin Community Fund and co-chair of the Study Circles on Race Program.

As a journalist, Quinlan has worked hard to provide a voice and a platform for often-marginalized individuals to share their stories. Through his efforts and commitment John has definitely made an impact on our community. Leila C. Pine nominated Quinlan.

In the category of "Youth Leader," this year's recipient is Lauren Rock. Rock, a junior at James Madison Memorial High School, has already demonstrated an impressive commitment to improving her surroundings. As a sophomore Rock held the position of secretary for Memorial's Black Student Union. Now a junior, and president of Memorial's BSU, Rock has worked hard to make the organization more inclusive to ALL students of color.

In the community Rock finds the time to participate in many volunteer organizations including: creating children's books on tape, feeding Madison's hungry at Luke House, planning service opportunities at the United Way of Dane County, cleaning parks and supporting persons affected by HIV and AIDS with the women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Equally as impressive as Rock's commitment to our community is her commitment to her studies. As a student-athlete (Varsity Track and Volleyball), Rock maintains a 3.5 GPA while also finding the time and energy to participate on Memorial's Forensic Team. Percy Brown, Jr., Minority Services Coordinator at James Madison Memorial, nominated Rock.

Rock and Quinlan 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 recipient:

"I am delighted to announce that the recipient of the 2008 Dane County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award is Jerome Dillard. Similar to Dr. King, Jerome gives people hope and keeps their optimum alive. His pioneering work to help former inmates succeed in the community is critical to those who come across obstacles in the way of their hopes and dreams," Falk said.

Jerome Dillard has served as a deacon and in-crisis ministry for the past decade at his church, Fountain of Life Family Worship Center. This calls him to not only help offenders, but also deal with other crises such as death, sickness, abuse and other family issues.

Jerome has worked the past two years as a Resource Specialist for Madison Urban Ministry.

He works relentlessly to help families with loved ones who are incarcerated. Jerome sees men and women when they enter prison and helps them and their families make the transition after they're released.

Jerome works passionately in providing inspiration, guidance and hope for a population that is often ostracized, forgotten and in need of a second chance. Jerome knows from his personal testimony the psychological adjustment that a person must make when they are released from prison and are faced with family issues.

He understands, as Dr. King's life demonstrates, that the personal attitude and rebuilding of dignity has to be dealt with on a person-to-person basis in order to effect change. Jerome uses his professional talents to deal with a problem very few people are capable or willing to deal with.

Jerome has impacted many lives in a positive way and is a deserving recipient of the 2008 Dane County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award.

Contact:
  • George Twigg, (608) 266-4611
  • Joshua Westcott, Dane County Executive's Office, (608) 267-8823