12-1:30pm: 42nd Annual State Of Wisconsin Tribute & Ceremony
At noon, join WORT for the State of Wisconsin Tribute and Ceremony honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This official state ceremony will be broadcast live from the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda. Produced and directed by Dr. Jonathan Øverby, the celebration will feature performances from Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra conducted by Andrew Sewell, Foundation of Life Praise Band, Prince Hall Masonic Honor Guard, Kalaanjali Dance Company, and guest speaker Laurie A. Carter, president of Lawrence University.
WORT thanks Wisconsin Public Radio for their assistance in airing this tribute. WPR provides more information about this broadcast at this page.
6-7:30pm: 38th Madison/Dane County King Holiday Observance
At 6pm, WORT will air the 38th Annual Madison/Dane County King Holiday Observance, live from the Overture Center for the Arts in the Capitol Theater and presented by the Madison/Dane County King Coalition.
The observance returns live and in-person this year, and will feature a presentation of the Madison-Dane County Humanitarian Awards, performances from the MLK Community Choir led by noted musicians Leotha and Tamera Stanley, and a keynote speech from Donzaleigh Abernathy. This year’s observance will also feature American Family Insurance President Telisa Yancy as the MC. The program will also be livestreamed. Watch and find additional MLK Day events hosted by the King Coalition and other community groups at mlkingcoalition.org.
WORT thanks the Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition and the Overture Center with their assistance in airing this event.
About the keynote speaker
Donzaleigh Abernathy is the Daughter of Rev. Abernathy and Goddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is an award-winning actress and writer. She and her siblings witnessed and participated in all of the major Civil Rights Movements and Marches. Along with the King children, her family integrated Spring Street Elementary School which led to mass integration of schools in the South in 1965. She witnessed from her home the integral decisions that helped shape American Laws including creation of the Civil Rights Bill, the Voting Rights Act, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. In 2004, she authored, Partners To History, Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy and the Civil Rights Movement and was a contributing author to the Smithsonian Institute’s book In the Spirit of Martin. Her play Birmingham Sunday is a winner of the Tanne Foundation Award.
About the Madison-Dane County MLK, Jr. Humanitarian Award-winners
The Madison/Dane County King Holiday Observance will feature a presentation of the Madison-Dane County Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awards by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Mayor of Madison Satya Rhodes-Conway. Dr. Charles Taylor and the late Wayne Strong are this year’s winners of the Humanitarian Awards honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Charles (“Chuck”) Taylor
Dr. Charles (“Chuck”) Taylor has a lifetime of accomplishments and service ranging from producing award-winning documentaries, Decade of Discontent, and Leaders of Madison’s Black Renaissance, to writing the official Juneteenth book, used in the movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Dr. Taylor is a retired professor from the doctoral program at Edgewood College where he also served as the Dean of the Business School. He is the founder and president of Roar Enterprises, a national consulting firm whose mission is to promote unity, cultural competency, and racial understanding.
Chuck has a well-documented track record of giving back to the Madison community. Dr. Taylor’s vision resulted in the Madison Urban League’s multi-million dollar building on S. Park Street. Chuck founded the Students of Color Leadership Conference, which trained several thousand Wisconsin high school students to become future leaders. He founded the Diversity Institute on Wheels, and the Multicultural Student Retreat—two innovative projects that allow Whites and people of color to engage and get to know one another better, the types of projects that Dr. King would have surely endorsed. The flame of civil rights and volunteerism was lit early in his hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri when he marched during the civil rights movement.
He is also extremely creative having produced TV shows, films, radio programs, and ROARrrr—a children’s musical play. Chuck wrote and produced the Journey of Hope film series on Rev. Carmen Porco’s low-income housing ministry in Madison and Milwaukee. Dr. Taylor is the author of over a dozen books, including two biographies and a highly acclaimed novel-thriller: Lakeside University Cover-Up. He received his Ph.D. from UW-Madison, his master’s degree from the University of Oregon, and his bachelor’s degree from Southeast MO State University.
A humanitarian in every sense of the word, Wayne Strong devoted his life—both personally and professionally—to the betterment of his community, particularly to those who were marginalized and impacted by systemic inequities.
As a public servant for MPD, Wayne used his position to build authentic relationships with community members and fight for structural change to build up the economic power of residents to reverse disparities. During his time as a neighborhood officer, Wayne volunteered with the Southside Raiders Youth Football and Cheerleading program.
In recent years, Wayne continued on with his commitment to social justice and civic engagement through various roles at the Urban League of Greater Madison, Overture Center for the Arts, Evident Change, and The Reisling Group. He also continued to serve as a dedicated member of S.S. Morris African Methodist Episcopal Church—serving in various roles integral to the church’s functioning for over 30 years.
His most recent role at UW-Madison’s Center for Law, Society & Justice was a culmination of both his passion for career development and mentorship as well as his deep knowledge of criminal justice and educational issues. Within the last year, Wayne made history when he joined the Wisconsin State Journal’s Editorial Board as part of the inaugural class of local community members asked to serve a one-year term.
Wayne Strong passed away in summer 2022. Wayne’s legacy lives on through his wife, Terri, children Jessica and Byron, and grandchildren Bella, Noah, and Mari, and a host of other relatives and friends. They will carry the torch for Wayne to ensure his legacy lives on and that the causes he fought so fervently for are not forgotten.
- WORT’s Friday 8 O’Clock Buzz (listen): King Coalition to host first in-person MLK Day observance since 2020
- Wisconsin Public Radio: Wisconsin’s 42nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute and Ceremony
- King Coalition: Full schedule of Madison-area events
- UW-Madison: Madison-area events for Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023
Our thanks to Dr. Jonathan Øverby, Aubrey Ralph, Wisconsin Public Radio, the King Coalition, the Overture Center, and WORT’s Aaron Scholz, Victor Calzoni, Tara Wilhelmi and Breyon Sommerville for their assistance in our broadcast of these events. Cover image used under Creative Commons license 2.0.