DAM Awards 2018: Best Activist
Denton would be nothing without some of its most outspoken citizens, fighting for change at the local level on everything from taxes to rights for all citizens. The five nominees for Best Activist use their voices to bring attention to the issues in our community and how we can contribute to positive change.
When you look up Amber Briggle online or on social media, the first thing you see is that she is a “mama bear” to her two children, Max and Lulu. Max is her 9-year-old transgender son, and Briggle — as she’ll tell you — is his voice for trans-inclusion in our families and communities, and electing politicians who will uphold rights for the trans community. Her March 2016 TED Talk about Max’s journey, starting at the age of 2, is at once powerful and inspiring. In addition to her public speaking, Briggle constantly shares blog posts, videos, and articles regarding the transgender community at large on her Facebook page and website.
Indivisible Denton is a group of citizens from Texas’s District 26, dedicated to civic engagement and addressing issues to the district’s current representative, Dr. Michael Burgess. The group visits Burgess’s district office in Lake Dallas every Monday, calling the event Moral Monday on social media. The organizations comes through typically in groups of six, speaking on a topic selected the week before with the staff and holding signs in a grassy area adjacent to the frontage road near the office.
Willie Hudspeth has been making it to every commissioners' court meeting Tuesdays at 9 a.m. for nearly 20 years. At the beginning of his tenure, he had proposed the removal of the Confederate monument outside of the Courthouse-on-the-Square museum. However, he now advocates for turning on the water for the drinking fountain portion of the monument and the addition of more history on our square. Hudspeth regularly petitions on the square on Sunday evenings. In August, he announced his run for county judge in hopes of treating citizens who come to him with issues better than he has been treated in the court.
A member of Indivisible Denton, Jennifer Lane is active in the group in person and online. She is often seen passing out flyers in town and helping register citizens to vote. She, like Hudspeth, wants to see the Confederate monument restored to working order and used as educational material. Her most recent acts in the community include educating seniors on the tax freeze and voting to stop gas plants in Denton, along with campaigning, phone banking, and block-walking for local politicians, including Sara Bagheri, Gerard Hudspeth, and Keely Briggs. Lane is a Grammy award-winning classical voice professor at UNT, and also advocates for vocal health and wellness issues, saying — perhaps with more than one meaning — that she believes in “using our voices to do good in the world.”
Cindy Spoon is a member of Blackland Prairie Rising Tide, a group that formed in Denton in 2010 to protest fracking and comprises the North Texas chapter of the national Rising Tide organization. Through the complicated story of Denton’s ban on fracking and its subsequent overturning by Texas state legislature, the group and Spoon remain strong in their efforts to educate and protest and have been known to engage in acts of civil disobedience, including climbing trees and chaining themselves to construction equipment.
Header image layout designed by Cristopher Rodgers