Voting rights advocate Anita Johnson has been selected to receive the 2020 Robert H. Friebert Social Justice Award. The award was established in 2014 by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the family of Robert H. Friebert.
Johnson’s professional and volunteer dedication to voting rights across Milwaukee and Wisconsin, at both policy and individual levels, embodies the spirit of the award, according to the JCRC.
To recognize her work and the legacy of Robert H. Friebert, the JCRC plans a virtual event — “What are the Foundations of Social Justice?” — on Oct. 15 at noon. Following a ceremony honoring Johnson will be a panel discussion with Johnson and past award recipients, including James H. Hall, Danae Davis, Reggie Jackson, Fran Kaplan, Arno Michaelis, and Pardeep Singh Kaleka.
The selection committee was struck by Johnson’s commitment to remove barriers to voting, especially in historically disenfranchised communities, according to a news release. Johnson works with two non-partisan organizations, VoteRiders and Souls to the Polls, a faith-based organization. In these and prior roles, her efforts include organizing free rides to the polls, serving on the Wisconsin Election Administration Council, creating large–scale voter registration efforts, and crafting messages on when and where to vote, and how to obtain the necessary documentation.
“We were deeply inspired by the sheer amount of efforts Anita has undertaken to make voting more accessible across the state,” said JCRC Director Jenny Tasse. “Her tireless advocacy for voting rights and direct voter support is a model for pursuing justice.”
The award draws from Deuteronomy 16:18: “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof—Justice, justice you shall pursue.”
Attendees can register to receive a Zoom link at MilwaukeeJewish.org/Friebert or view it live on JCRC’s Facebook page.