End-of-Life Care Advocacy Group Announces Recipient of Annual Rev. Dr. Paul Smith Award
Rev. Madison Shockley of Carlsbad, CA is this year’s honoree
Today, Compassion & Choices announced Rev. Madison Shockley will receive the Rev. Dr. Paul Smith Award, named in honor of civil rights leader and end-of-life options advocate Rev. Dr. Paul Smith. Rev. Dr. Smith was the inaugural recipient of the award and is at the vanguard of advocating for improving end-of-life options for all.
This year’s award will be presented to Rev. Shockley for his unwavering commitment to improving end-of-life care and options in his community and beyond. Rev. Shockley is the pastor at Pilgrim United Church of Christ (UCC) in Carlsbad, California.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Smith Award is given annually to a faith leader who is dedicated to the end-of-life options movement. Faith leaders of every denomination have a unique challenge and opportunity to discuss end-of-life issues with their constituents and communities. These leaders have always played a critical role in end-of-life advocacy, as evidenced by Rev. Dr. Paul Smith’s integral role in early efforts to pass medical aid-in-dying legislation. Medical aid in dying is authorized in Oregon (1994), Washington (2008), Montana (2009), Vermont (2013), California (2015), Colorado (2016), the District of Columbia (2016), Hawai‘i (2018), New Jersey (2019), Maine (2019) and New Mexico (2021).
Rev. Dr. Smith has been critical in reaching new audiences and engaging the Black community in these important conversations. Rev. Shockley, a member of the Compassion & Choices Board of Directors, continues this tradition and is committed to a vision of a diverse, equitable and inclusive movement, and recognizes that everyone should have access to a patient-directed end-of-life experience regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or age.
Rev. Shockley is also a member of the Compassion & Choices African American Leadership Council, served on the Compassion & Choices Strategic Impact Committee and lends his voice to end-of-life education and planning efforts, including in virtual events and educational videos.
Future recipients will be chosen by the Compassion & Choices leadership team.
"Rev. Madison Shockley has been and continues to be a transformational figure in this movement," said Kim Callinan, president and CEO of Compassion & Choices. "His powerful voice has lifted the issue of end-of-life in new ways and has been vital to helping many, many people explore and talk about their own end-of-life wishes and preferences. His impact is extensive, from his work in service to his congregation to his role in the authorization and reauthorization of the California End of Life Option Act, to his service on the Compassion & Choices board of directors. Rev Shockley is a powerful voice for the end-of-life movement."
Rev. Shockley's support was integral to the passage of California’s End of Life Option Act. This law gives mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to request prescription medication they can decide to take to peacefully end unbearable suffering. Beyond California, Rev. Shockley has participated in rallies and lobbying efforts in numerous states over the years. He has also participated in countless events and educational opportunities encouraging the Black community and beyond to make end-of-life planning a priority.“Since I first met Rev. Shockley in 2009, he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our mission,” said Brandi Alexander, national director of community engagement at Compassion & Choices. “He cares deeply about providing education and resources to all communities and empowering others to do the same.”