Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and City of Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz 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 26th Annual City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance on Monday, January 17, at the Overture Center Capital Theater, 201 State Street, Madison. The program begins at 6:00 p.m.
The 2011 City-County Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award goes to: Dr. Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar. The Youth Award goes to: Elena I. Aleman. Information regarding each of the worthy award winners is listed below.
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.
“This year’s recipients honor the legacy of Dr. King through their service to our community,” Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said. “Dr. PatriciaTéllez-Girón Salazar has worked tirelessly to improve health and quality of life in the Latino community, both through her practice and extensive volunteer service. And Elena Aleman is a leader who is already making a difference in our community at a young age. Both Patricia and Elena reflect the best of Madison and I am proud to have this opportunity to recognize their work.”
“Both Dr. Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar and Elena Aleman have made countless contributions that have made our county a better place,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said. “Their commitment to community service, volunteerism, and willingness to help their fellow citizens succeed make them most deserving of these honors. They are leaders who strive for excellence both for themselves and their community.”
Dr. Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar
In the category of “Humanitarian”, this year’s recipient is Dr. Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar. Dr. Téllez-Girón Salazar is the Chair of the Latino Health Council of Dane County (LHC) and family practice physician at the Wingra Clinic on South Park Street. Dr. Téllez-Girón Salazar is an untiring advocate for health issues affecting the Dane County Latino population. She walks the talk. In her practice at the Wingra Clinic, a true community clinic, she takes provides hands on care of Latino patients everyday. She knows first hand the issues and struggles that many Latinos in our community face. In addition to providing culturally and linguistically competent medical car, Dr. Patricia Téllez-Girón Salazar volunteers countless hours in the community. Her community volunteer involvement is so extensive that one cannot mention them all. She is the chair of the LHC, she is the main organizers of our yearly Latino Health Fair, the annual Latino Mental Health Summit and the annual Latino Cardiovascular Disease Summit. She also coordinates and is the main host of the Nuestra Salud Radio program that is aired on La Movida radio station every first Monday of the month and writes a bi-weekly health related educational article for the Spanish language newspapers. Patricia is an active member of the Latino Support Network. Patricia came to Madison from Mexico, already trained as a physician and having practiced for a number of years in rural Mexico. However, her MD degree from Mexico was not valid in the US. As a new immigrant, facing language barriers and a complete change in her life circumstances, she had to start from scratch. She had to learn English and work as assistant in clinics and not practice medicine for years. Patricia never stopped dreaming about being able to practice medicine in Madison. She studied hard to pass her medical board exam and to apply for residency in the UW Family Medicine Department. Through hard work, she achieved both. From day one of her residency, she made sure to stay true to her roots and never forget where she came from. She always remembers her personal immigration experience and struggles and thus has dedicated her life to helping improve the health of other immigrants. Patricia has an unwavering dedication to our community and sets the bar very high for all of us.
Elena I Aleman
In the category of “Youth Leader”, this year’s recipient is 19-year-old Elena I. Aleman. She attended West High School here in Madison. Due to Elena's hard dedication in school she earned a scholarship to Edgewood College where she currently attends as a sophomore. As a student, she’s majoring in Spanish and is interested in exploring the social services field for future employment. In addition to going to college, Elena also works a job to help her mother pay rent and bills. She is daughter of a single mother with only an older brother. Aleman is involved in church and is dedicated to her community. By volunteering she is involved in workshops that teach about race and white privilege. She is a positive leader and role model to the youth to which she encourages to continue higher education. Elena is an advocate for the Dream Act. In addition to volunteering for her church, St Joseph’s and the Catholic multicultural center (known as el Centro Guadalupano) Elena also volunteers with the AIDs network. She is also currently president of ALAS, Association of Latino(a) students at Edgewood college and is very involved with all age groups and specially the youth. Elena encourages other students to be successful and volunteer. When Elena arrived to Wisconsin, she noticed a cultural difference. She came from California at a young age where constantly Elena was surrounded by her culture. It was hard to get used to and hard for her to interact with people because English was her second language. She set her mind to understand her environment better. Elena perfected her English and now is an expert in two languages, Spanish and English.
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