Announcing 2016 Award Winners!

The Carol Mason Student Activism Award

Every year we recognize students who contribute to their community, provides leadership, and inspire others through their work in reproductive justice. The Carol Mason Student Activism Award recognizes individuals that lead by example and inspire us with their ingenuity. The Take Root Steering Committee is proud to present the 2016 Carol Mason Student Activism Award to the student organization, UCO-NOW.

UCO-NOW, UCO’s organization for gender equality, worked in the last year to fight for sexual health access on campus. After a forum about women’s issues in January 2015, UCO-NOW provided leadership that helped to remove a health provider from campus that did not support sexual health services. Currently there is a new health provider on campus that offers these services. Also, because of this activism, gender and sexuality issues moved to the forefront of the administration’s agenda. Throughout 2015, UCO-NOW, along with key faculty and staff members, worked to create the Center, which includes the Women’s Research Center and BGLTQ+ Student Center at UCO. It’s official opening will be in fall 2016.

The Spreading Roots Award

When you are an activist working for social, gender, and/or reproductive justice, you may find that some places are more hospitable than others. Many activists leave their home states for other pastures, or for opportunity—there are an endless host of reasons. Nevertheless, the struggle for causes like access to reproductive, social, and gender justice continues no matter where you are. The Spreading Roots Award recognizes a red state activist who, though residing outside of their home state, has remained rooted in the community from which they came through their continued work for social, gender, and reproductive justice. The Take Root Steering Committee is proud to present the 2016 Spreading Roots Award to Coya White Hat- Artichoker.

Coya was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota; she is a proud enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. She is a founding member of the First Nations Two Spirit Collective; they are a Collective working to building a stronger political presence for Two Spirit people within the national dialogue of queer rights. The First Nations Two Spirit Collective is also a member of the ROOTS Coalition, a coalition of 14 queer, people of color, lead organizations throughout the country. She currently resides in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

The Staying Rooted Award

For activists working in red states, the battles can be fierce, the attacks on individual rights are constant, and at times our victories are few and far between. Yet, we push on because we love the people and we believe that our activism makes a difference. The Staying Rooted Award recognizes a red state activist who has remained in their community and continues to fight for social, gender, and reproductive justice. The Take Root Steering Committee has chosen two winners this year. We proudly present:

Sandy Ingraham has been working for reproductive justice for almost half a century. In the 1970s, as a cub social worker, she ran the Oklahoma Health Department’s teen pregnancy project, to help teenagers access contraception. In the 1990s, before law school, she outsmarted the most experienced Oklahoma lawmakers as she monitored abortion legislation for Planned Parenthood and the Campaign for Choice. As a lawyer, she is now on the cutting edge of same-sex adoptions.

OKC Artists for Justice was founded by local poets Grace Franklin and Candace Liger, along with a group of dedicated members, to work to address injustices committed against women of color through advocacy and support in the state of Oklahoma. They are known for their work organizing rallies to support the victims in the Daniel Hotlzclaw case.