Hedi Rudd (Photo by Marcus Miles)

Hedi Rudd, a longtime Madisonian who has become an accomplished community leader, beloved photographer, and storyteller in multiple realms, has been named the recipient of the 2019 Nan Cheney March for Justice Award. Foward Community Investment made the announcement this afternoon.

“This is a huge surprise and honor and a life-changing moment for me. I am so thankful to my community for believing in me and helping me be the best me that I can be and for allowing me the opportunity to give back,” Rudd tells Madison365. “I think of women like Betty Franklin-Hammonds, Mona Winston, Betty Banks, Ms. Milele [Chikasa Anana] and so many others who helped me be in this space and who showed me what it looks like and gave me permission to enter. To now be put in the same category as Nan Cheney, is a true honor. I am speechless and overwhelmed, but very grateful for the honor.”

Since the 1990s, Rudd has been at the forefront of numerous landmark community organizing and racial justice initiatives. FCI, in their press release today says that Rudd “has tirelessly invested thousands of hours in building community here, working collaboratively with a diversity of partners on countless causes and projects on behalf of social justice, building multi-cultural and multi-generational collaborations and connections with enduring value on behalf of the common good.”

“Hedi is the embodiment of what an unsung hero looks like. She works quietly behind the scenes, integrating art and activism as a means of giving voice to those who might otherwise be voiceless,” says FCI President Salli Martyniak in a statement. “Like much-beloved community leader Nan Cheney, for whom this award is named, Hedi has tirelessly invested thousands of hours in building community. Now, it’s our privilege to turn the lens on her!”

Forward Community Investments will be honoring Rudd on Thursday, May 9, 5-7 p.m. at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.