Meet Our 2023 Unity Award Winners!

These six extraordinary people and organizations are dedicated to building a more fair, just and equitable Milwaukee. 

Milwaukee, like most cities, isn’t without wounds – but it’s also not without healers. Our third annual Unity Awards celebrates the work of six people and organizations committed to helping our community thrive by cultivating equity and inclusivity. 

For the profiles that follow, we asked each winner what fuels their contributions and, new this year, for a term related to the work they do that’s commonly misunderstood. In these separate conversations, a clear theme emerged: Milwaukee and its people already have what it takes to overcome the challenges we face. 

Whether by creating platforms for marginalized communities to tap into their talents, to share their stories or to express their ideas and dreams, these folks are helping break down systemic barriers to success – and in the process, effecting deep, sustainable change. 

Below, meet Milwaukee Magazine’s 2023 Unity Award winners. We hope you’ll be inspired by their stories to bridge divides and forge new connections in your own life.



What’s Brew City’s best? We’ve picked 16 of our favorite Milwaukee craft beers for a March Madness-style tournament, but it’s up to you to pick the winner! Will it be bright and hoppy? Dark and malty? A zippy lager? Every one is worthy of the title; who will claim the sudsy crown?

Meet this Year’s Winners:

Deanna Singh, Uplifting Impact, Unity Awards 2023; Photo by Kat Schleicher

Deanna Singh

Social entrepreneur Deanna Singh has devoted her career to helping marginalized communities use their power by building or breaking systems to create positive change. Her consulting and coaching company, Uplifting Impact, helps businesses improve diversity, equity and inclusion. Along with hosting a podcast of the same name, Singh speaks about DEI to 50,000 people annually. She also runs Birth Coach Milwaukee, a company that aims to reduce health disparities among pregnant and birthing women.

TRUE Skool

TRUE Skool, founded in 2004, is a social movement that uses hip-hop to empower youth and young adults to nurture their talents and skills and challenge oppressive systems in Milwaukee and beyond. Fidel Verdin, co-executive director of TRUE Skool, grew up in Milwaukee and now – alongside a swath of local hip-hop mentors – leads young people to enact political and social change and create a more equitable future through their craft.

Fidel Verdin, Co-Executive Director of TRUE Skool, Unity Awards 2023; Photo by Kat Schleicher
Bishop Walter Harvey, Parklawn Assembly of God, Unity Awards 2023; Photo by Kat Schleicher

Bishop Walter Harvey

Bishop Walter Harvey served as the senior pastor for the Parklawn Assembly of God in Sherman Park for over 30 years until his retirement in 2020. He is deeply rooted in biblical teachings about manifesting the presence of God in our everyday life. He’s also the creator of Prism Economic Development, an initiative that empowers entrepreneurs in underserved communities to experience “economic flourishing.”

Jewish Museum Milwaukee

This East Side museum isn’t just a place to learn about Jewish history. It’s a space to have meaningful conversations about oppression, justice and tolerance through the perspective of Jewish history, art and values. Founded in 2008, the museum is home to a permanent collection, special themed exhibits and events that highlight the pains and accomplishments of Jews throughout history. 

Patti Sherman-Cisler, Executive Director of Jewish Museum MIlwaukee, Unity Awards 2023; Photo by Kat Schleicher
Adam Carr, Storyteller, historian and activist, Unity Awards 2023; Photo by Kat Schleicher

Adam Carr

A storyteller, historian and community organizer, Adam Carr has devoted his career to telling the untold stories of our city. He started his career in community-based work as a producer for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. Since then, he’s become a resource for helping people understand the city they live in, whether through public art collaborations, journalism, bus tours or in conversation with civic leaders.

Tammy Rivera

A veteran nonprofit executive, community activist and lifelong Milwaukeean, Tammy Rivera has served as executive director of the Southside Organizing Center since 2015. The organization is dedicated to the development and sustainability of the city’s near South Side neighborhoods, working to ensure residents have a voice, vote and vehicle to enact positive change on issues that matter to them. 

Tammy Rivera, Southside Organizing Center, Unity Awards 2023; Photo by Kat Schleicher



This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s February issue.

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