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The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation is seeking nominees for its sixth annual Robert H. Friebert Social Justice Award. The award will be given to an individual who has demonstrated leadership, courage and compassion as a social justice advocate, while working to eliminate discrimination and injustice in the greater Milwaukee area. Nominees’ professional and personal contributions to social justice will be considered. Previous honorees are James H. Hall, Danae Davis, José A. Olivieri, Reggie Jackson, Fran Kaplan, Pardeep Singh Kaleka, and Arno Michaelis.
The honoree will be recognized at the JCRC’s Annual Meeting on June 18, 2020. Nomination forms can be found online at MilwaukeeJewish.org/Friebert. The deadline for submission is March 12, 2020.
This award was created in memory of prominent Milwaukee attorney and activist, Robert H. Friebert. He was driven to pursue social justice through the law and public service, and he believed deeply that everyone deserves equal social, economic and political rights.
Bob Friebert (1938-2013) dedicated himself to the pursuit of social justice and the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world). A graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Friebert was a founding partner of the law firm Friebert, Finerty and St. John S.C. He argued four cases in the United States Supreme Court, addressing the rights of teachers to organize, due process for federal youthful offenders, reproductive rights of women and the rights of people to vote in primary elections. He served as the first public defender for the State of Wisconsin from 1966-1968.
Friebert became active in local, state and national Democratic politics in his pursuit of social justice. He served several terms on the Democratic National Committee and as an advisor and consultant to numerous Democratic presidential. Friebert enjoyed political debate and was respected for his strongly held views by Republicans and Democrats alike. Friebert was president of the JCRC, formerly the Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations.