Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and City of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin have announced today that Shayla Glass and Anthony Cooper Sr. are this year’s recipients of the combined City-County Humanitarian Award honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The award winners were selected by the City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and are community members who reflect the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The City and County will present the awards at the annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, Jan. 21, at the Overture Center Capitol Theater, 201 State Street, Madison. The program will run from 6-7:30 p.m.
“Both Shayla and Anthony have dedicated themselves to improving our community and honor the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi in a statement. “Whether it be Shayla’s focus to shape the minds of future generations or Anthony’s commitment to strengthen reentry efforts, both have done so much to give back and lead by example. Their passion to serve others lifts our community up and makes them great recipients of this award.”
Anthony Cooper Sr. will receive the Humanitarian Award for the City of Madison. He has resided in the Madison area for over 25 years. Anthony has worked for Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development since February 2013 as Director of Reentry Service and most recently as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Reentry Services. Anthony speaks from experience when he talks about the problems that ex-offenders have when released from prison or jail. Whether it is finding housing, getting a job, or re-connecting with family members, he understands the challenges involved.
“I am delighted that Anthony Cooper is receiving the Humanitarian Award,” said Mayor of Madison Paul Soglin in a statement. “Most recently Coop has been an incredible leader as part of Focused Interruption Coalition, or FIC. Coop and FIC have been front and center working with crime victims and their families and acting as a liaison to struggling families in traumatic situations. FIC is working to develop long-term strategies to reduce violence- BEFORE it happens. He has a rich history with the Urban League, the Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development and the Madison-area Urban Ministry as well. Coop and FIC are the future of Madison.”
Though his work at Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, Cooper creates and maintains relationships with employers, provides job development, oversees Nehemiah housing programs, and is involved with the Department of Corrections and Madison Police Department to help develop community relations. He provides court advocacy in Madison and surrounding counties. He has also assisted the City of Madison Mayor and the Dane County Executive to enhance local reentry efforts.
For Dane County, Shayla Glass will receive the Emerging Leaders Award (ages 13-25) for being a leader in her respective area. Glass has resided in the Madison area for three years. She is currently employed at Badger Ridge Middle School in Verona, where she serves as a 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher. Currently a master’s candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for Education Leadership and Policy Analysis with a Social Justice Focus, Glass aspires to be an instructional coach in the short term and a director of instruction in the long term to inspire public schools to adopt culturally relevant curriculum and teaching practices.
As an educator, Glass began her young career with tenacity and a passion for equity and social justice. Upon graduating from University of Wisconsin-Madison’s teacher education program in 2016, Shayla was offered a job as a 6th-grade teacher in the Verona Area School District at Badger Ridge Middle School mid-year. Within her first three years of teaching, Shayla co-founded the Black Equity Council at Badger Ridge Middle School to address academic and discipline disparities among African American students, joined the Circles of Support program as a lead 7th and 8th grade Black Girls group facilitator, and became a coach for the African American History Bowl Challenge. In addition, Glass became a strategic planning committee member to help develop the district’s new strategic plan that places equity as the vehicle to success for all students.