Alix Olson Award
Alix Olson Award for the Promotion of a Tolerant and Just Community
Nominate Someone for the Alix Award
“Let us shed our fears, turn our hearts resolutely against hatred, and with collective strength and determination, create a community of mutual acceptance and equality.”
— Alix Olson
Seeking Tolerance and Justice Over Hate (STAJOH) will open nominations for the 11th annual Alix Olson Award for the Promotion of a Tolerant and Just Community in early 2022.
The Alix Olson Award was created by STAJOH to honor retired Madison Police detective Alix Olson, who led our anti-hate crime group for many years. The award recognizes an individual of any age or group who has worked to promote tolerance and justice in South Central Wisconsin, through leadership, education or other initiatives.
Please consider nominating an individual of any age or a group in Dane County or South Central Wisconsin who has worked to promote tolerance and justice in the community, through leadership, education or other initiatives that have a positive impact in increasing tolerance toward all and eliminating hate.
Nominations are currently closed.
Past Winners of the Alix Award
The Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion of Dane County
2021: The staff members of the Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion endeavor to develop promotional opportunities, share business development information with Emerging Small Businesses, implement policies that generate equal opportunities and fund community partners in equity, pushing toward economic prosperity for all, while striving to address past inequities by reviewing current fee structures and eliminating unnecessary penalties while providing improved access to services. They advise all County offices regarding policies in order to mitigate disparate impact, resolve discrimination complaints, certify businesses, partner with other government stakeholders to review and develop equitable practices, study hiring statistics and focuses on recruiting diverse candidates, ensure compliance with accessibility and accommodation standards, provide language interpretation and translation and serve as a resource regarding equity. They are dedicated to developing and ensuring inclusivity, equity and sustainability in order to make Dane County a better place to live and work by ensuring equal access to opportunity, hiring, contracting and service.
2020: Oscar Mireles has fostered a community of mutual acceptance and equality in Madison and Dane County for over two decades, leading by example and having a significant impact on community participation in the spheres of poetry and art, social justice and educational access. He brings together diverse segments of the community through his arts initiatives and creates opportunities for collaboration and support across communities through his service to organizations and groups. As the Executive Director of Omega School for over 25 years, he has provided fruitful approaches to student support, relocating the school to a historically marginalized neighborhood and changing the way student outcome disparities are viewed. Mr Mireles impacts our community through his service as a poet and founding member of several organizations that build bridges to bring together individuals, activists, educators, children, young adults, and others by creating opportunities for collaboration and support of one another and of marginalized people in our community.
Terrence Thompson, Facility Manager
2019: As the Facility Manager of Madison’s Warner Park Community Recreation Center, Terrence Thompson has led an effort to make Warner Park a multigenerational, culturally diverse, safe and welcoming community of acceptance, equality, connection and solutions where people of all ages, races and cultural backgrounds are supported and included. He has created a space for marginalized young people to be social and productive and to have positive relationships with adults through his unique structure of the Center. As the leader of the City of Madison Parks Division Racial Equity Team, Thompson inspires his co-workers to rethink how they view their role in social justice, to confront their own biases, rethink their experiences, acknowledge their own privilege and consider how to use their own privilege to advocate for those without it. He facilitates conversations about how to make sure that City employees look like the communities they serve and he has created an environment in which people are allowed and expected to confront sensitive, difficult and stigmatized topics.
Holly Storck-Post, Librarian
2018: Holly Storck-Post is passionate and committed in her work to promote diversity, equity, tolerance, acceptance and inclusion for all, helping to make this world a better place one book and one program at a time through her work with Madison Public Library, within and outside the library walls. Holly delivers anti-hate messages in everyday library transactions, providing children, families and caregivers with accepting and inclusive learning opportunities, tools and resources that affect the outlook of a generation of Madisonians. Storck-Post brings her welcoming message of diversity and inclusion with her wherever she goes, from the numerous daycare facilities and outreach locations she visits regularly, sharing stories directly with children and providing tools and resources for caregivers, to tying book displays to larger campaigns for equity and acceptance, hosting public screenprinting events featuring the message “Libraries Are for Everyone” in multiple languages and bringing Drag Queen Story Time to Madison Public Library.
Laura Minero, Activist
2017: Laura Minero is a force to be reckoned with. Laura is currently a Ph.D. student in counseling psychology at UW Madison and is a DACA Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient. Laura has emerged as a leading and persuasive voice in the struggle for just and humane immigration reform, as a member of, and on behalf of, the undocumented community. Laura is an outspoken advocate: leading marches, giving presentations, meeting with lawmakers, taking interviews so that a broad audience may hear and learn of the concerns around DACA. Laura’s academic life focuses on the experience of transgender immigrants and intersectionalities within the immigrant and LGBTQ communities. Laura mentors through the UW Madison Posse Program and local high schools with a focus on Latinx youth.
Karen Reece Phiffer, Nehemiah Community Development
2015: Karen Reece, Ph.D. is the Director of Research and Program Evaluation at the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development. She has worked particularly on issues of racial justice in the criminal justice system for many years, both as a volunteer and at Nehemiah. Her work includes researching and organizing public outreach and events to educate the public about the disproportionate arrest rates for African Americans as compared to non-African Americans in the Madison area. Karen, a musician, is also the president of Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN), a local non-profit that showcases local musical talent to empower and unify youth and adults in the Madison area using urban arts, specifically hip-hop. She is the chairperson of the City of Madison Task Force on Equity in Music and Entertainment and she has also volunteered with MUM and Voices Beyond Bars.
Lori Karst, Madison Firefighter
2014: Lori Karst has been a Firefighter for the City of Madison for 24 years. Early in her career, Lori broke barriers as one of few women assigned to Station #1. Currently, Lori is a Firefighter/EMT, an Apparatus Engineer and has had advanced EMT training. She has fought many fires, including one of the biggest and hottest fires in Madison's history. She is a role model and mentor for new firefighters regardless of race, gender or orientation. Her inclusion in the LGBT community makes her a strong advocate for diversity in fire stations and throughout the Fire Department. Lori also serves on several Madison Fire Department committees including the Recruitment Committee and Community Outreach Committee with a goal to increase the Department's visibility, interaction with and outreach to the neighborhoods and residents it serves. She has served as chairperson of the Department’s September 11 Blood Drive since its start in 2011 and she has volunteered for CampHERO since its beginning in 2012.
Diego Campoverde-Cisneros, Radio Host
2013: Diego Campoverde-Cisneros, who moved to the US from his native Ecuador, is currently the Senior Marketing Communications Coordinator (Bilingual) for Quartz. His personal experiences and the challenges he has faced as an openly gay Latino man have led him to focus his energy and passion on supporting Latino LGBTQ youth and raising awareness on LGBTQ issues in the Latino community. In 2010, Campoverde-Cisneros founded Orgullo Latinx, a support group for Latino LGBTQ youth in Dane County serving Latino LGBTQ youth, their families and allies through supportive, responsive programming that addresses issues of safety, discrimination, and mental health.
Stephen Blue, retired Dane Co. Juvenile Delinquency Services
2012: Stephen Blue, retired Dane County Juvenile Delinquency Services Manager, positively impacts youth and families of all backgrounds. Stephen devoted much of his career to the reduction of the disproportionate treatment of youths of color in the juvenile justice system. He developed the Neighborhood Initiatives Program (NIP), which provides social, educational and recreational programming for kids, bringing young people of all cultures together and encouraging positive lifestyle choices.
Fade to Black, LaFollette High School Drama Group
2011: Fade to Black, LaFollette High School drama group and Chris Lang, Madison City Channel
The students of Fade to Black acted in a short film depicting a hate crime and mock trial, “The Price of Hate”, a STAJOH project in connection with the Simon Wiesenthal Center Tools for Tolerance® Program. Chris Lang donated his time and expertise to film, produce & edit “The Price of Hate”. He was senior producer at Madison City Channel and he is now the Audiovisual Specialist for the Office of the State Public Defender.
Fade to Black students honored are: Issaka Aguirre, Alan Canacasco-Rubio, Capriana Copus, D.J. Curley, Keith Dahl, Kayla Every, Evan Flietner, Hannah Foy, Kasey Gallagher-Schmitz, Emmy Hrubes, Athena Johnson, Aaron Legg, Wendy Martin, Mackenzie McBryde and Nicholas Rowles, and teacher Darcy Poquette.