Valuing Equality

Jessi Kingston wins the Tom Oye Award for Human Rights.

The Tom Oye Award for Human Rights honors local leaders who further equality and civility. This year’s recipient is Jessi Kingston. “I grew up in a very diverse family, so we’ve always sort of had this energy in our family for defending human rights,” says Kingston, who works as a human rights and equal economic opportunities director for the city of St. Paul.

“Tom Oye was a pioneer in human rights. When I bought my house in Edina, I really wanted to combat the racism I experienced growing up, taking on critical issues like domestic partnership ordinance, voting rights and marriage equality.”

Receiving the award “was actually pretty amazing,” Kingston says. “When I found out I was the recipient of the award, I was in the airport on my way to Selma, Alabama to honor the anniversary of Bloody Sunday.”

Of the honor, Kingston says, “It’s really important the city continue to recognize the pioneers in our community, and to be a part of that group is just incredible.”