Michael Johnson's impact on Dane County outside Boys & Girls Clu - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Michael Johnson's impact on Dane County outside Boys & Girls Club

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Michael Johnson/file photo Michael Johnson/file photo

FITCHBURG (WKOW) -- As Michael Johnson leaves Dane County to pursue another leadership position out of state, other community leaders applaud the impact he's had. 

Far beyond the walls of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, leaders and activists will tell you Johnson serves the under-served communities. 

"He speaks for the kids, he speaks for young people, he speaks for disadvantaged people," said Carl Kugler, a board member for the Boys and Girls Club and also a Madison attorney. 

But Johnson will be the first to tell you, alongside officers, he's been there during the good and bad times in our community. 

"I mean, there were nights when there were shootings in this city, we were at people's houses at one, two o'clock in the morning," said Johnson. 

During the city's most contentious times like in the aftermath of the shooting death of Tony Robinson by a Madison police officer, and the controversial arrest of Genele Laird, Johnson was an activist and mediator. 

"I just want to make sure we don't rush to judgment," he said in June of 2016 when Laird was arrested. 

Those who work alongside Johnson speak of the passion he carries. 

"Mike had the ability to just see what needs to be done, to see which people should be at the table, to bring himself to the table and to know when to remove himself from the table." said Sabrina Madison, the founder of the Progress Center for Black Women. 

"After the Race to Equity report came out, he had the leadership to step forward and challenge the community and he challenged it in a positive way," said Oscar Mireles, who is on the board for the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County and who is also the executive director at Omega School. 

Johnson admits, his work hasn't always been easy. 

"Especially when you speak up on social justice issues, people are not always going to agree with you. So, I've learned to just seek understanding instead of being understood," Johnson said. 

But for Johnson and so many across Dane County, his work has been worth it. 

"In many ways he has united the community around awareness of issues that are important and should be important to all of our citizens," Kugler added. 

Johnson isn't sure who will fill his leadership role in the community, but he said the responsibility shouldn't be solely on one person. He insists the community step up to help one another. 

Johnson said he will leave for Cincinnati, Ohio in about 60 days to lead the area's United Way.  

Boys and Girls Club Executive Vice President Rod Mitchell will serve as the interim president and CEO. There will be a national search for a permanent replacement, according to Johnson. 

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