Omega School Principal Oscar Mireles and the staff of the Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion of Dane County are the winners of the 2020 and 2021 Alix Olson Awards for the Promotion of a Tolerant and Just Community, respectively. The announcement comes on Monday from STAJOH, an organization formed in 1999 to combat hate crimes in the community. The Alix Award recognizes the contributions of individuals who make a difference by promoting tolerance and justice in their community.
“Oscar Mireles has fostered a community of mutual acceptance and equality in the City of 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, and 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,” STAJOH said in a statement announcing the award.
STAJOH, which stands for Seeking Tolerance and Justice Over Hate, created the Alix Olson Award in 2011 to honor retired Madison Police Detective Alix Olson and “her admirable leadership against hate in our community during her career.”
Mireles, who has been a longtime leader in the Latino community and was Madison’s first Latino poet laureate, has been the executive director/principal of Omega School for 28 years. Omega gives students individual support and works to eliminate obstacles that keep students from getting their GED. He is also the founder of Latinos Organizing for Understanding and Development (LOUD).
“Alix Olson was an inspirational person in the Madison Police Department and in our community. Alix’s willingness to speak out against social justice and intolerance has made a difference in all of our lives,” Mireles tells Madison365. “I am honored to be recognized with the Alix Olson Award.”
The Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion of Dane County is named in honor of its first director, Tamara Grigsby. Grigsby died in March of 2016 at the age of 41.
“The Tamara D. Grigsby Office for Equity and Inclusion of Dane County endeavors 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,” STAJOH said in a press release.
The Alix Awards for 2020 and 2021 will be presented at the Dec. 7 Madison Common Council meeting.