Wisconsin Democrats honored emerging activists, grassroots leaders and longtime champions at their annual Black History Month event last week in Milwaukee.
Receiving the “Legacy Award,” was Frances Huntley-Cooper, Wisconsin’s first African-American mayor. Huntley-Cooper served as mayor of Fitchburg, and also served as head of the Workers Compensation Division of the Department of Workforce Development under Governor Jim Doyle.
Other nominees in this category included Jameel Ghauri, executive director of the Bray Center in Racine since 1993 and Paula Penebaker, president of the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee.
The “Emerging Leader Award” went to Alderwoman Milele Coggs, who represents Milwaukee’s 6th District. Coggs had worked on campaigns for James White and Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and has established a college scholarship in her community.
Other nominees in this category include Aronn Peterson, director of youth programs at Madison’s Common Wealth Development, and Felesia Martin, a national co-chair for President Obama’s re-election campaign.
And the “Grassroots Organizer Award” was received by Anita Johnson, a community organizer with Citizen Action of Wisconsin. Johnson has worked to fight voter suppression efforts, as well as in efforts to preserve the minimum wage and affordable healthcare.
Other nominees included Wanda Sloan, the diversity specialist at Blackhawk Technical College, and Ethel Gates, executive director for SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin.