TFN Honors Activists at 15th Anniversary Gala

The Texas Freedom Network celebrates its 15th anniversary on Oct. 7 in Austin. We would love to see you at the celebration. Click here to purchase tickets or to help sponsor the event. We sent out the following press release:

The Texas Freedom Network will honor two Texas activists for their extraordinary leadership on behalf of religious freedom, individual liberties and public education at the organization’s 15th anniversary celebration on October 7 in Austin.

“Our annual gala provides essential resources for the Texas Freedom Network to defend mainstream values under constant attack by religious and political extremists,” TFN President Kathy Miller said. “We are proud to honor these two dedicated activists at our 15th anniversary celebration.”

This year’s gala, which includes a silent auction, is at 7-10 p.m. at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (1800 North Congress) in Austin. Tickets are $50, and sponsorships are available for up to $10,000.

TFN will honor Melessa Rodriguez with the organization’s annual Samantha Smoot Activist Award and Diane Ireson with the Walking the Walk Award that evening.

Melessa, a San Antonio native, is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. Last spring she worked with the TFN’s UT-Austin Student Chapter to organize Save Our History. That coalition of college students and groups called on the State Board of Education to stop politicizing and censoring social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. Save Our History’s efforts, including a march from the University of Texas to a press conference at the Texas Education Agency building, drew national attention and media coverage. Melessa has also been active in student government and voter registration drives and has served as a congressional intern for Texas Congressman Rubén Hinojosa.

Diane is a longtime member and former chair of the TFN board of directors. She has been a psychotherapist with her own practice in Austin for more than 25 years and is also a member of the Church Council at United Methodist Church.

TFN and other progressive causes have no better friend than Diane, Miller said.

“Diane is simply one of our biggest champions,” Miller said. “And she is always on the front lines – as a citizen lobbying our elected leaders, providing crucial financial support to organizations in the community and standing up for the mainstream values that we all share.”

Since its founding in 1995, TFN has become the state’s leading nonprofit grassroots organization defending civil and religious liberties in Texas. The organization has grown to more than 45,000 faith, civic and other community leaders across Texas. TFN recently received its third consecutive award from the Austin Chronicle as Austin’s “Best Activist Organization.”

Tickets to TFN’s 15th anniversary celebration are available here.


The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots coalition of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom, individual liberties and public education.

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