A joint Madison and Dane County commission will honor two community members Monday for reflecting the values of Martin Luther King Jr.

Gaddi Ben Dan and Ali Muldrow were chosen by the City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and will receive the City-County Humanitarian Award for their work promoting peace among various communities.

“Ali and Gaddi have worked tirelessly to help others and have impacted the lives of hundreds across Dane County,” County Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement.

Dan is a longtime activist who marched for open housing along with King in 1966. He worked with Jesse Jackson at Operation Push in Chicago, and he organized the Bike Ride for Survival at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He helped found the nonprofit Today Not Tomorrow to educate the community using entertainment, as well as Peacemaker Community Forums, which brought community members and Madison police officers together to talk about concerns, feelings and racial injustice.

Muldrow is currently the director of youth programming and inclusion for the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE).

For the past five years, she has led efforts to promote strong leadership among LGBT youth and youth of color through courses and summer camps.

She also launched GSAFE’s New Narrative Project, which provides youth in the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center with channels to academic success, civic engagement and self-determination.

“This work is especially important during this challenging period in our nation’s history,” Mayor Paul Soglin said in a statement. “We have many role models in our community.”

The award will be presented on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the annual City-County Martin Luther King Jr. Observance at 6 p.m. Monday at the Overture Center Capital Theater, 201 State St.


Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.