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Dane County executive, Madison mayor announce Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award honorees

FILE - In this 1960 file photo, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in Atlanta. The estate of...
FILE - In this 1960 file photo, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in Atlanta. The estate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has reached an agreement with HarperCollins Publishers for rights to his archive. HarperCollins released King's first book more than 60 years ago. The King Estate had been publishing books since 2009 with the Beacon Press. (AP Photo, File)(AP)
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 4:16 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:56 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award honorees Thursday.

Will Green, Vanessa McDowell and Michael Johnson are this year’s recipients of the combined City-County Humanitarian Awards honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

These awards honor community members who reflect the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Will, Vanessa, and Michael have all dedicated themselves to serving our community and honor the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” County Executive Parisi said. “Whether it be Will’s commitment to mentor local youth, Vanessa’s work to support women and social justice, or Michael’s efforts to champion youth and their families, each recipient has worked hard to strengthen our community.”

Green is the founder of Mentoring Positives, Inc., a mentoring program working with youth in the Madison community. Green is also the head coach for Madison’s La Follette High School girls varsity basketball team.

McDowell became the first Black woman to be CEO in YWCA Madison’s 112-year history in July 2017. Before joining YWCA Madison in 2014, McDowell worked for UW-Madison’s Wisconsin Equity and Inclusion Laboratory and was the Executive Assistant to the Pastor for Mt. Zion Baptist Church.

Johnson is the President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County. Johnson raised more than $15 million last year for a new regional workforce center and raised an additional $7 million in operating funds to support thousands of school age and college students during the pandemic.

The award winners were selected by the City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission.

“This is an outstanding group of awardees, and each of them is doing critical work in our community. Through their work across Madison, they are supporting families, providing needed services, and challenging us to be a better, more equitable city,” Mayor Rhodes-Conway said.

The City and County will present the awards at the annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, Jan. 17 with a program from 6-7 p.m. The event will be held virtually and can be accessed here.

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