Every Texan Honors Four Extraordinary Women at 2023 Texas Legacy Awards

Every Texan Honors Four Extraordinary Women at 2023 Texas Legacy Awards

On Wednesday, Every Texan held its 2023 Texas Legacy Award ceremony at the iconic Austin Central Library. Every Texan honored three exceptional leaders — a first in the award’s 23-year history — for their relentless efforts to eradicate poverty and homelessness, improve the quality of education for all students, and ensure equitable health care for those who need it most. Every Texan also proudly presented the Future of Texas award to Tiara Cooper for her visionary social justice advocacy.

The leadership of the late Honorable Libby Linebarger led to the passage of the recapture bill, which is pivotal in addressing the unequal distribution of resources among school districts and continues to provide the basic framework for public school funding in Texas. Dr. Flora Brewer — through her innovative work creating a 24-unit permanent, supportive housing project — set a model that Fort Worth will replicate in four new projects. Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi played a key role in developing a Covid-19 vaccine technology while making the unique commitment to keep this life-saving treatment freely available to the world through open-source technology.  

These women pioneers join a distinguished line of Legacy Award recipients including: Representative Garnet Coleman, Darren Walker, Luci Baines Johnson, Secretary Henry and Mary Alice Cisneros, and Speaker Joe Straus. More information about the honorees is available here

Every Texan CEO Marisa Bono kicked off the evening by welcoming special guests, including Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, Travis County Commissioner Ann Howard, Representative Elliott Naishtat, and others. Acknowledging the legislative season, Bono recounted the powerful legislative victories and called out the Legislature for its failure to use the historic budget for “restorative change.”

“The Legislature had hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been invested in long-term solutions for all Texans,” said Bono. “But instead of prioritizing people, the Legislature squandered billions in tax cuts to wealthy corporations.”

The Future of Texas Award honors an extraordinary leader under 40 working to advance opportunity, justice, and equity through their work in the Capitol, the community, the classroom and beyond. Tiara Cooper is an award-winning social justice leader committed to mobilizing marginalized people and uplifting their stories through grassroots efforts to impact policy change at the municipal, state, and federal levels. Her efforts to end extreme sentencing and center people with lived experience in policy advocacy have garnered national attention, most recently as she called for more humane alternatives to punishment in the cases of Jedidiah Murphy and Tyre Nichols.  

“I hold deep gratitude for everyone who gets up every day to fight for a better Texas. A Texas we have yet to see but dare to imagine,” said Cooper. “I don’t do this work simply because I’m directly impacted. I do this work because I believe I was sent to do this work and I believe that each and every one of you was sent to do this work in some capacity.”

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