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2010 City-County Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awardees Announced

For more information contact:

Rachel Strauch-Nelson, (608) 266-4611 Joshua Wescott, (608) 267-8823


Issued By: County Executive
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2010 City-County Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awardees Announced

Madison – City of Madison Mayor Dae Cieslewicz and Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced the recipients of the newly combined City-County Humanitarian Award honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  The award winners, selected by the City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, are community members who reflect the values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The City and County will present the awards at the 25th Annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, January 18, at the Overture Center Capital Theater, 201 State Street, Madison.  The program begins at 6:00 p.m.

The 2010 City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Humanitarian Awards go to: Shiva Bidar-Sielaff and James Latimer.  The Youth Award was also named: Jarrel-Brannon Luke Montgomery. Information regarding each of the worthy award winners is listed below.

Award recipients

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 has enhanced the fabric of Dane County.

“Our tradition of social justice and activism is well represented by all of this year’s winners,” said Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.  “All of our recipients have shown a deep commitment to making our community a better place for all of our residents. We are a better place because of their contributions to the community.”

“Both Shiva Bidar-Sielaff and James Latimer have made countless contributions that have made our communities better places,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said.  “Jarrel Brannon Luke Montgomery’s ability to pull people together and problem solve at such a young age shows our community has a fabulous next generation of leaders,” Falk added.

In the category of “Humanitarian”, this year’s recipients are Shiva Bidar-Sielaff and James Latimer.

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff demonstrates the ability to build bridges in her work as the Director of Community Partnerships and Interpreter Services at the UW Hospital and Clinics.  Well beyond the scope of her work, Ald. Bidar-Sielaff continues to build bridges through multiple volunteer efforts.  Her work in our community reaches old and young, especially in the Latino community.

She has helped to raise awareness, focus, and best practices through training presentations on a community, state, and national level in the areas of social justice, health care, community development and safety.  In addition to her service as a member of the Madison City Council, she has served on the executive committee of LaSup (Latino Support Network) as well as on the boards of the Rainbow Project Clinic, South Madison Health, Family-Center Harambee, Inc, Latino Health Council, and the YWCA.  She also a past member of the Dane County Equal Opportunities Commission.

In the area of education, Shiva has served steadily as a strong role model for youth.  She speaks at Madison College Educational Fairs--stressing the values of self-development, leadership, and vision for their future.  Born in a different county and multi-lingual, she strives to encourage young people toward success regardless of their country of origin.

Ald. Bidar-Sielaff has the ability to grasp big picture issues, while recognizing the details necessary to achieve meaningful results.  This results oriented individual uses her ability to collaborate with all people-- regardless of their ethnicity or social economic status--make her a shining example of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

James Latimer

Professor Emeritus James H. Latimer has demonstrated his commitment to the values of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with over 30 years of invaluable service to Dane County.  He has met adversity with kindness and understanding while at the same time ensuring the job is done with aplomb.

In the fall of 1968 Professor Latimer joined the UW-Madison Music Department. Upon arriving at the UW-Madison, Professor Latimer found himself in the midst of community unrest.  He was a voice of reason in a challenging environment—opening doors to the UW Administration for the unheard student voices.  During this time and his insistence that faculty and administration listen to the students, he helped create the Afro-American Advisory Committee.  This Committee eventually became the UW-Madison’s current African American Studies Department.

As an educator, Professor Latimer has used music as his modality of peace.  He emphasizes that each person in the symphony is as important as the next—the whole is equal to the sum of the parts—in our community and in music.  He continues that message of peace in his many Dane County contributions.

He has continually shared himself and his talents with our community.  Since 1981, he has conducted the Capitol City Band, a professional community band, which has provided more than 400 summer concerts in the park. Since 9/11/2001, he has opened every concert with an unannounced patriotic piece and says he will do so “until the troops are home.”  He extends his music making to the all-volunteer winter band that plays concerts in retirement and health care facilities.  In all of his activities, Professor Latimer epitomizes the teachings of Dr. King.

Jarrel-Brannon Luke Montgomery

 In the category of “Youth Leader”, this year’s recipient is Jarrel-Brannon Luke Montgomery. A senior at Madison Memorial High School, Jarrel has demonstrated an impressive commitment to improving his surroundings. Jarrel is a familiar face at Memorial as an active force in keeping the high school safe by speaking to younger students about the importance of solving disagreements peacefully.

Jarrel first two high school years were spent at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago.  Transitioning from a different school can be challenging for most students, Jarrel however, took that challenge as an opportunity.

Jarrel’s most significant impact on the lives of people in Dane County comes from his participation in the Madison School Community Recreation’s (MSCR) Teen Community Corps.  Jarrel has provided community service at senior citizen homes, daycare centers, homeless shelters, the Salvation Army, community gardening and neighborhood beautification projects.  Through the teen Community Corps, Jarrel has completed over 300 hours of community service and was awarded the MSCR’s Presidential Community Service Award.  He also is a member of the United Way of Dane County’s By Youth For Youth Organization.  Additionally, he has been involved with the YWCA’s Christmas Present Drive in which he read Christmas tales and distributed gifts to homeless children.  In spite of his challenges, Jarrel has impressed all with his leadership and willingness to help others.

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