Long-time Gamaliel leader awarded MLK Heritage Award by Wisconsin governor

Rev. Willie Brisco, a long-time Gamaliel leader in the fight for racial and economic justice, was awarded Wisconsin’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Heritage Award on January 20 at the 40th annual MLK Tribute and Ceremony.  Gov. Tony Evers was present to honor Rev. Brisco who has been working with the governor and other Wisconsin leaders to reform the criminal justice system in the state.

Rev. Brisco is the President of WISDOM, the statewide Gamaliel affiliate in Wisconsin.  Prior to holding that position, he was President of MICAH in Milwaukee.  Rev. Brisco is an Associate Minister at New Covenant Baptist Church in Milwaukee.  Before “retiring,” Rev. Brisco spent more than 20 years in law enforcement, a career that has shaped his vision for the reform he seeks.

Besides his steady leadership in the local and state Gamaliel organizations, Rev. Brisco has become a recognized champion for many justice causes.  He led a very successful local campaign to ensure that local people were hired for jobs in a major federal public housing building project.  He has led WISDOM's major effort for criminal justice reform in Wisconsin, using his own background in law enforcement to counter those voices that would use fear to excuse mass incarceration.

“I am proud to have worked with Rev. Brisco through the years and am honored to have been present when he received this well-deserved award,” said Ana Garcia-Ashley, Gamaliel Executive Director. “His unflagging commitment to ‘standing for justice’ even through the most challenging times has inspired me to stay the course. On behalf of the Gamaliel Network, congratulations! We are proud of you, Rev. Brisco.”


Rev. Willie Brisco

Rev. Willie Brisco

A note of thanks from Rev. Brisco

I would like to express gratitude to the Gamaliel Network for the outpouring of congratulations for my receiving the "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Heritage Award" on Monday January 20, 2020. I accepted this award on behalf of the dynamic and diverse people that make up the Gamaliel Network. Thank you for allowing me the honor of working alongside each of you.


from l. to r.: Mandela Barnes, WI Lt. Gov. (and former Gamaliel organizer); Jerome Dillard, State Director, EXPO; Rev. Willie Brisco; David Liners, ED, WISDOM; and Ana Garcia-Ashley, ED, Gamaliel