Executive Director Denise Jess Receives Civil Rights Award

Denise Jess standing at a podium speaking at a press event

Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW) is honoring Council Executive Director Denise Jess for her years of work promoting the rights and dignity of people living with vision loss.

At CSW’s September 28 Community Change-Maker Awards event, Denise will be presented with the Linda Sundberg Civil Rights Defender Award. The Linda Sundberg Award is given each year to an individual whose passion for civil rights has improved the lives of others. Being honored for that specific area of her work has special meaning to Denise.

“It’s an honor to me as a person with lived experience of blindness to be recognized because it’s an acknowledgment that there are systematic barriers that need to be undone or removed,” Denise says. “For so long, disability has been seen as an individual issue, not a systemic one.”

“I think I speak for the entire Council staff in saying that we’re incredibly proud of Denise, and know first-hand how well-deserved this award is,” says Bob Jacobson, Communications Director at the Council. “Her leadership and commitment to this work set the tone for everyone in our organization and beyond.”

Bernie Hoes, President of the Community Shares Board of Directors, says Denise brings a rare combination of skills to the table. “Denise embodies knowledge, compassion, empathy, and the endeavor for equality, fairness and inclusion that are the core pillars of social justice and civil rights work,” Bernie says. “Moreover, Denise’s personable, approachable yet confident temperament in her dedication to human rights work is the prototype that we can all learn from and strive for.”

Congratulations, Denise!

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