Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin have announced that Z! Haukeness is the winner of the combined City-County Humanitarian Award honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The award winner, selected by the City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, is a community member who reflects the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The City and County will present the award at the annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, Jan. 18 at the Overture Center Capital Theater in downtown Madison. The program will begin at 6 p.m.
The 2016 City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award recipient, Z! Haukeness, has shown a dedication to serving others in the Madison community.
“Honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is always a very humbling experience. As Dr. King said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?’” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. “Those nominated for this award and this year’s honoree have certainly focused their lives’ work on serving others. Z! Haukeness’ activism and grassroots work with numerous underserved communities has made an incredible difference in people’s lives and in our city. I applaud Z!’s commitment and dedication.”
The City-County annual award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions and exemplified Dr. King’s non-violent philosophy. Each award winner, past and present, has enhanced the fabric of Dane County.
“Dr. King was a true leader in promoting equity and peace,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “We have many barriers to success in our community and we need to work together to increase access to opportunity and create a more equitable community. Congratulations to all who were nominated and the winner of this important award.”
Z! Haukeness has been established as a local leader in the implementation and follow-though of restorative justice, including teaching non-violent conflict resolution, conflict avoidance, ways to unite community, and how to engage in effective goal-oriented dialogue. As a transgender person, Z! Haukeness has had to work even harder for credibility, often in the face of people in power chuckling at their name. Throughout Z! Haukeness’ time in Dane County, from studying African American history at UW-Madison to leading efforts for innovative homeless services, Z!’s belief and commitment to a philosophy that being a better neighbor makes a better neighborhood is evident, as it is estimated Z! Haukeness has touched the lives of more than 2,000 residents.
The City-County Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award accepts nominations year round for individuals whose volunteerism and efforts follow Dr. King’s non-violent philosophy. Please consider nominating a “hero of peace” at https://www.cityofmadison.com/dcr/commMLK.cfm.