Perry Saito Awards 2020

Bonnie Margulis and Marieta Huff were named Perry Saito Award honorees this year by the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Wisconsin Chapter. The annual award recognizes leadership in promoting social justice and the common good. 

The 2020 clergy recipient is Rabbi Bonnie Margulis of Madison.  She currently serves as Executive Director of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice (WFVJ). A rabbi in the Reform Judaism tradition, Rabbi Margulis has empowered people of faith to speak out on issues of poverty, immigration, hunger, healthcare and voting.  During the pandemic, she has consistently supported having science drive decisions on public health practices, public gatherings and restarting our market activities. These initiatives have reflected well on WFVJ’s commitment to advocate for the most vulnerable in society. Through her leadership, WFVJ has championed the rights of undocumented immigrants, building bridges with the Muslim community and promoting inter-faith dialogue and understanding.  By encouraging inter-faith cooperation in serving the needs of the poor and marginalized, Rabbi Margulis exemplifies the spirit of the ministry of Perry Saito. 
The laity recipient is Marieta Huff of Immanuel United Methodist Church in Kenosha.  For over twenty-five years, Ms. Huff has been an advocate for the homeless, including hosting Open Houses for the homeless in Kenosha on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  She has also championed the needs of the homeless at meetings of the Kenosha Common Council. Her leadership in the area of missions in her local congregation has included raising awareness of the Imagine No Malaria campaign, Midwest Mission Distribution Center, United Methodist Committee on Relief, local mission projects and missionaries in Bolivia. Huff exemplifies the spirit of the ministry of Rev. Perry Saito through the many ways she shares the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
Rev. Perry Saito lived and taught non-violence and respect for all of life. Saito’s Christian faith and commitment to peace and justice was shaped by experiences in Japanese internment camps in California during World War II. The international peace group called Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) sponsored Perry to get out of the relocation/internment camp in 1943 and hired him as a race relations secretary. He was a leading figure in justice and reconciliation ministries regarding peace, poverty, and people’s rights. Perry worked for the Methodist church as an MYF camp counselor during this time as well. He entered the Methodist ministry and served at Chicago: St. Paul’s and Christian Fellowship (Japanese). After transferring to Wisconsin, he served at Beloit: First, Stevens Point: St. Paul’s-Director of Wesley Foundation, Eau Claire: Lake Street, Supt. NC District, Wauwatosa: Wauwatosa Avenue, and Neenah: First.