By Press Release Submitted to Published Aug 20, 2015 at 3:56 PM

Dr. Luis "Tony" Báez, Ph.D., a social justice, civil rights and education advocate who has served the Milwaukee community for more than four decades, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award.

Dr. Báez will be presented with the Zeidler award during a special ceremony at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1 in the third floor Council Chamber Anteroom (prior to the start of the regular meeting of the Common Council) at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.

Dr. Báez has dedicated his life to social justice since his arrival from Puerto Rico in 1970, and attorney Arthur Heitzer, chair of the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award selection committee, said Mr. Báez has focused on advocating for civil rights issues, educational change and parental and community education in Milwaukee for more than 40 years.

"Tony Báez is a national and international figure, who has nonetheless devoted his talents and sensitivity to serve people in the Milwaukee area," Mr. Heitzer said. "A champion of bi-lingual education to maximize the positive contributions of Latinos and others in our broader community, Dr. Báez has served dozens of organizations as a volunteer and/or board member, but has also worked in non-traditional roles, such as mediating between Native American and white residents over treaty rights, and between street gangs in Milwaukee and elsewhere."

"We are blessed to have him as a member of our community," he said. 

Alderman Robert J. Bauman, vice-chair of the award selection committee, said Dr. Báez is known for his service as a leader in Latino education, parental involvement in schools, at-risk youth issues, bilingual and multicultural education, adult education and ESL (English as a second language), and using his expertise to develop educational plans for urban school districts nationwide.

"He has always been drawn to civil rights and equity struggles that affect the condition of Latinos, other minorities and the working poor, and Dr. Báez’s engagement with social justice has extended far beyond Milwaukee as well, as he has been involved and contributed to organizations from coast to coast and beyond to Puerto Rico, México, Cuba, China, Germany, Spain, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Canada," Ald. Bauman said.

Dr. Báez has also become a well-renowned keynote speaker, author of social justice writings and a prominent cultural worker, all with the goal of building a more equitable and democratic America. His education advocacy, particularly for bilingual education, has been recognized numerous times in the form of awards and other recognition.

June M. Perry, a member of the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award selection committee, said Dr. Baez has left a lasting and positive mark on Milwaukee.

"Tony Baez is an icon in this community … but he doesn't stop there," she said. "He has gained recognition and respect nationally (and internationally) for his accomplishments and efforts to make sure social, education and employment policies and practices are fair. Many lives have been impacted positively by what he has done."

Dr. Báez retired earlier this year from Centro Hispano Milwaukee, where he served for eight years as executive director. He also served as provost and chief academic officer of the Milwaukee Area Technical College, and during his 12 years at MATC, he also served as Assistant to the President, Associate Dean of Pre-College Programs, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Director of Research, Planning and Development.

Dr. Báez holds undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.