Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Soglin Announce Humanitarian Award Honorees

January 12, 2017
County Executive

Madison – Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and City of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin today announced the recipients of the 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 annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, January 16th, at the Overture Center Capital Theater, 201 State Street, Madison. The program begins at 6:00 P.M.


The 2017 City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award recipients are: Reverend Dr. Carmen Porco and Reverend Everett Mitchell. Information regarding each of the worthy award winners can be found below.


“This year’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian award recipients embody the spirit of Dr. King,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Carmen and Everett’s work to better our community and lift up some of our most vulnerable populations makes a difference. We owe both these men a great debt of gratitude for their years of work, dedication to service and commitment to helping people.”


“It continues to be humbling to consider and understand the dedication and involvement of area individuals as we honor the legacy of Dr. King.  This year we recognize the work of the Reverend Dr. Carmen Porco who has been a leader in Madison for over 35 years and of Reverend Everett Mitchell who has been active for 11 years,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.  “It is reassuring to know that our activism, caring and service spans generations.  I am incredibly grateful for the service of both of these deserving awardees.  Our Dane County community is richer because of them.”


Award recipients


Reverend Dr. Carmen Porco


The Reverend Dr. Porco considers himself an advocate for systemic justice and is widely acknowledged as a national leader on education and housing issues. He is the head of the Housing Ministries of American Baptists in Wisconsin, the founder, developer, executive director of the Northport, Packers, Greentree and Teutonia, and Plymoth Community Learning centers. These centers located in low-income housing developments work to increase the grade point average of the children in the communities and serve more than 1250 people daily. Dr. Porco is also the Executive Director of HUDS Housing, American Baptist Homes of the Midwest. Carmen has developed state and federal partnerships for early childhood education, a PEOPLE PREP Program.


Dr. Porco’s works with low income communities in Wisconsin and over the past 40 years has helped low-income families obtain housing. He owns and operates housing units not as a profit center but as a neighborhood.


Judge Everett Mitchell’s Biography:


Judge Everett Mitchell is a Dane County Circuit Court Judge.  He is also Senior Pastor of Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church.  He is a graduate of Morehouse College, Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Wisconsin Law School.   


Judge Mitchell has demonstrated in many areas his continued commitment to fairness and justice.  Before being elected to the bench, Judge Mitchell served as Director of Community Relations for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 


Before going to the University, Judge Mitchell served Dane County as an Assistant District Attorney. Previously, Judge Mitchell  served as associate director of the Madison Area Urban Ministry (MUM) from 2004-2010 where he worked extensively with restorative justice programs for ex-offenders. As a Restorative Justice coordinator with Madison-area Urban Ministry, he and his team developed a system so men and women who return from prison would have a residence, employment, support, treatment and education.


Of all the speaking engagements and awards, Judge Mitchell is most honored to be the first black Pastor of a Baptist Church to marry a same sex couple.  While he has received considerable push back and anger from those who oppose his position regarding same gender marriage, he has remained committed and dedicated to his path of equity and justice. 


He has been involved with a number of community service groups among them 100 Black Men of Madison, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, Young, Gifted and Black, African American Council of Churches, Kromery Middle School, Communities of Color and Police through United Way, the United Way of Dane County Co-Chair of Community Impact Team, on the Board of Goodman Community Center as well as a board member of Agrace Hospice.  He is the Social Action chair of the Woodson Foundation responsible for the Annual Turkey Drive in South Madison.   

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