John L. Quinlan
Madison, Wisconsin Community Leader

Executive Director, South Madison Metropolitan Planning Council

President, Q Solutions, LLC
Organizational Development, Cultural Competency, Event Planning
and Communications-Related Consulting

Mailing Address: 75 Golf Pkwy, Ste. F, Madison, WI 53704
Phone: 608-213-8409

Host and Producer, "Forward Forum" Radio and Associated Media

Recipient of the City of Madison's 2008 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award

2009 President of the United Nations Association-USA/Dane County

Commissioner, Madison Equal Opportunities Commission, Dept. of Civil Rights

Below: Recent Project that I produced for Prof. Patty Loew's Life Sciences Communications 444 class, Chronicling the Powerful Story of Native American leader Ofelia Rivas, an elder in the Tohono O'odham nation, whose homelands lie along the Arizona-Mexico border.

September 1, 2010 Madison Times Q & A Interview with John

Contact Information, Biography, and Related Links, follow this Photo Album

Left and right: Leading an intergenerational, multi-cultural exchange at a recent Midwest Social Forum gathering. Center: 2008 Wisconsin State Journal photo on the occasion of receiving the city of Madison's ML King Humanitarian Award, posing before a painting of children in Selma at the National Voting Rights Museum, where John has assisted with oral history projects.

Left: As president of the United Nations Association (Dane Co. Chapter), leading legislative visit to office of Sen. Russ Feingold. Center: In accepting the King Award,"Recognizing the 'Power of Relationships' in transforming misunderstandings about who we are into collaborations based in the kind of trust that allows us to seek common ground while honoring our differences." Right: Sharing A Fun Moment on King Day, thanking the group for recognizing a "much-oppressed group of us that so many in this world are asking to change, a group that still others think is too controversial to honor on King Day.... So on behalf of bald people everywhere, I thank you for this award." (Photo credit: Stacy Harbaugh).

Left: With the Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and colleague of Dr. King, and Dane Co. King recipient Jerome Dillard, who does pioneering work on behalf of restorative justice (the African sashes were the gift of UMOJA publisher Milele Chikasa Anana). Right: August 2006: with James Reeb UU pastor Darell Richey, and Selma to Montgomery march veterans Joanne Bland, and Lawrence and Dorothea Huggins, in front of Selma's historic St. James Hotel.

Adventures in broadcasting as host of "Forward Forum" -- Left: Still from WISC-TV news of the "Madison Mayoral Debate" John produced and moderated in conjunction with "Communities United," Feb. 2007. Center: Interviewing film critic Roger Ebert, March 2006, in a remote from Four Star Video during the WI Film Festival. Right: At the board in the WTDY studios.

Left ot Right, from top:

Additional background information and networking resources at Linked In

Late 2009 update: Forward Forum is currently on hiatus. Please vist our pages below to access archived versions of our show. Facebook members can add their testimonies, seeking the show's return, on the Friends of Forward Forum page.

Forward Forum Webpage

Forward Forum Exchange Blog

My Personal Webpage: Junction Q

My Facebook Page: John Lawrence Quinlan

John Quinlan's Vimeo Video page

Recent Projects

Producer and Videographer of "The Northside Story"
Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of Madison's "Northside Planning Council"

A Tribute to Molly Ivins

Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" Speech on April 4, 1967 at
at New York's Riverside Church (one year to the day before his assassination in Memphis)
with a message still resonant today
Including my Introductory Interview with Dr. King's colleague, the Rev. Joseph Lowery

John L. Quinlan Bio
Updated December 2009

John Quinlan is a Madison, Wisconsin-based journalist, nonprofit development consultant, civil rights activist, media reform advocate, gay community leader, and radio show host. He grew up as the son of a teacher and United Methodist pastor in small communities all over Wisconsin, and has lived in Madison since 1978. His travels have taken him to 48 states and 13 countries in Europe and South Asia. In January 2008, he was the recipient of the city of Madison's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 2008 Humanitarian Award, in recognition for 30 years of advocacy on behalf of civil rights and social justice in the greater Madison community and beyond.

John began an exciting new challege as the executive director of Madison's South Metropolitan Planning Council in early April of 2011. Planning councils are umbrella groups for multiple neighborhood associations as a means of encouraging collaboration and cooperation. John's work will involve community organizing, marekting and media advocacy, and an economic development component. John will also supervise production of the SMPC's quarterly newsletter, Southern Exposure.

For five years, beginning in January of 2005, John was the host and executive producer of an award-winning public affairs radio show called Forward Forum (, where he has interviewed hundreds of local and national/international guests involved with politics, community organizing, civil rights, media reform, and the arts. As of late 2009, the show has been on hiatus, but John and a band of loyal listeners are actively seeking new venues for the show.

John has held a number of important leadership positions in the greater Madison community, as both executive director and board president, in the realms of affordable housing advocacy and civil rights, including having served as the director of the Tenant Resource Center and OutReach (Madison's LGBT community center). As an advocate for fair housing and equal opportunity, he helped to draft and pass several pieces of local legislation, and has also advocated for legislative change at the state and federal levels. In early 2007, he directed an extensive series of forums on community responses to hate crimes, under the auspices of the Wisconsin Center for Pluralism. As a gay community leader, he has been a leader in efforts that resulted in the reversal of the local Big Brothers/Sisters chapter's exclusionary policies toward gays, the creation of an 8,000 person civil rights march and four days of associated events in 1989, and has been instrumental to ongoing advocacy efforts promoting cultural competency toward LGBT youth and children in LGBT families in the Madison schools.

John has also served in a leadership position on more than a dozen community groups, including past service as the board president of the Fair Housing Council, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission housing committee, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Visibility Alliance, vice chair of the civil rights coalition Communities United, co-chair of the Coalition for a United Dane County, trustee of the American Civil Liberties Union of WI, president of the Wisconsin Community Fund, and co-chair of the city of Madison's Study Circles on Race Program. John has also taken an active role in electoral politics at all levels of government, including being an important advisor throughout the early career of U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, an early supporter of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, and service as the Northern Wisconsin Media Director for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign (during which time he coordinated preparations for the visits of both Al Gore and Hillary Clinton).

He currently serves as the 2009 president of the United Nations Association USA-Dane County, as a steering committee member of the Midwest Social Forum, was a recent past board representative on Madison's Northside Planning Council, and is active in the 500 member Downtown Madison Rotary, including recent service as Public Relations Chair. In May of 2009, he began a three-year-term as a commissioner on the Madison Equal Opportunities Commision. He is leading efforts to promote Madison-based support for a Selma, Alabama-based oral history project, which would also serve as a means of educating Madison area youth and adults about the ongoing legacy of the civil rights struggle.

John has also pursued a parallel career as a journalist and public relations specialist, and has contributed actively to the Wisconsin LGBT and ethnic minority press, and as a radio show reporter, host and producer. Working in various capacities, he has helped to place hundreds of print and broadcast stories for various civic groups and social justice organizations locally and nationally. In the late 1990s, he served as the first managing editor of the nation's first gay and lesbian parenting magazine, the Los Angeles-based, Alternative Family Magazine. In addition to his radio show, his work life includes cultural competency, and nonprofit and communications-related consulting work, under the auspices of his consulting firm, Q Solutions, LLC. This includes conducting workplace trainings on equal opportunity issues, public speaking engagements, organizational strategic planning, events coordination, and video production. He has been a local leader in bridging understandings between those rooted in traditional media, and those seeking to harness the full potential of New Media. Three years ago, he returned to part-time studies in history and communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison-an experience he's enjoying immensely.

In addition to the 2008 King award, John has received several recognitions for his contributions to the community, including Wisconsin Fair Housing Advocate of the Year (1988) from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development and the state of Wisconsin Equal Rights Division; Man of the Year 1993, from OutReach; the 1995 Stonewall Award from Milwaukee Pride; and the Sally Sunde 2002 Award for Social Justice, from Community Shares of Wisconsin.

On the occasion of this last award, John Nichols, associate editor of Madison's Capital Times newspaper, and contributing editor to the Nation, wrote, "Quinlan's wide-ranging activism marks him as the sort of big-picture leader who understands the need to cross boundaries of race, class, gender, and personal experience and circumstance to achieve change. Quinlan's long experience working for so many important causes has made him not just a wise and good presence. It has made him a necessary player in our community, our region and beyond, as Community Shares of Wisconsin has rightly recognized."