Each year, the Human Relations Committee presents the coveted Dante Award to a member of the local news media who has answered Dante Alighieri's call to be "no timid friend to truth."
Past recipients have been Irv Kupcinet, John Madigan, Hugh Hill, Dick Kay, Joan Esposito, Walter Jacobson, Mark Giangreco, Emily Barr, Larry Wert, Allison Rosati, Joe Ahern, Merri Dee, Dominic Mancuso, Frank Mathie, Vince Gerasole, Ron Magers, Janet Davies, Greg Caputo, Neil Stienberg, Linda Yu, Stella Foster, Tom McNamee and Bruce Dold.
In addition the Filippo Mazzei Public Affairs Award is also awarded.
The Mazzei Award is given annually to a person who shows extraordinary skills in the world of public affairs. In the late 1770’s Italian immigrant Mazzei's friend and neighbor Thomas Jefferson, gave the founding father this line:
“Tutti gli uomini sono per natura egualmente liberi e indipendenti. Quest’eguaglianza è necessaria per costituire un governo libero. Bisogna che ognuno sia uguale all’altro nel diritto naturale.”
Translated by a friend and neighbor of Mazzei, it was published as follows:
“All men are by nature equally free and independent. Such equality is necessary in order to create a free government. All men must be equal to each other in natural law.”
The 2019 Dante Award recipient was given to ABC7 news anchor Alan Krashesky, and the Mazzei Award recipient was Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean, Director Global Social Agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The 2018 Dante Award was given to MSNBC contributor Stephen E. Schmidt and the Mazzei recipient was Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell.
The 2017 Dante Award was given to ABC7 President and General Manager John Idler and the Mazzei recipient was Simon Wiesenthal Center Midwest Director Alison Pure-Slovin.
The 2016 recipient of the Dante Award was Jennifer Graves, vice president and news director of ABC7. Lissa Druss, public affairs and crisis communications specialist of Strategia Consulting was the Mazzei recipient.
The inaugural recipient in 2014 was Thom Serafin, CEO and President of Chicago public affairs firm Serafin & Associates. The 2015 recipient was former U.S. Senator Mark Kirk.
This event is attended by over 250 representatives of the Italian American community and an impressive cross section of prominent Chicago media.
Dominic DiFrisco is the founder of the Dante/Mazzei Awards.