Paul Michael Rogers

Local Activist Award

Do you know someone here in West Texas who has worked towards equality by being active in the LGBTQ+ community? LubbockPRIDE is looking for recipients of the Paul Michael Rogers Activist Award, to be given during the annual Pride celebration.

We are looking for someone who has worked in their local LGBTQ+ community and has demonstrated leadership, passion, and commitment to creating change in the South Plains. We ask that you please submit a short nomination listing why you feel this person deserves this year’s award. If selected, the nominee must be present at the festival.

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Previous Award Recipients


2013 - Grace Rogers

Born in New Mexico, Grace was a high school government teacher, an art lover, and the proud mother of two gay sons. A member of PFLAG, Grace can be found at any event. Although she no longer teaches, she still speaks at Texas Tech and many PFLAG events in the area. She works to encourage people to become registered voters, always carries a pocket book with the US Constitution and when at LGBTQ events, wears a rainbow pin to show her support. This award is named in honor of her late son and her family.

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2014 - Betty Dotts

Betty Dotts, a Lubbock Native, has spent her life giving to those in need. She and her late husband, the Reverend Ted Dotts, spent many years working in several social rights movements including the Civil Rights Movement, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights. Betty and Ted founded the local chapter of PFLAG which is very active ‘ill this day. They hosted the first meeting on the second flood of St. John’s Methodist Church. She has since passed the torch to other leaders but can still be found at their monthly meetings.


2015 - Katie Miller

Katie Miller was the president of the Tech GSA for three years. Originally from Arlington, Texas, Katie moved to Tech to pursue a degree in Exercise and Sports Science. Not only did she run the GSA but was part of the Leadership Council and the Diversity Council for Texas Tech. Katie received many awards including Human Sciences honor graduate, Raiders Who Rock, Outstanding Senior from the College of Human Sciences, Feminist Activist award, the Presidents Excellence Award for Diversity and Equality, and a diversity scholarship. She helped create and pass ordinances on Texas Tech campus for transgender inclusion in dorms. 


2016 - Kimberly Simon

Simón holds a Master’s degree and PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy from Texas Tech. With experience in addiction and recovery, collegiate substance use, relational and sexual violence, and campus programming, Simón has taught courses in the Community, Family and Addiction Sciences department since its creation. She has worked in outpatient treatment programs, inpatient treatment centers and juvenile justice facilities, providing individual, group and family therapy for clients. She also is a trained crisis specialist who worked in a domestic violence shelter. She became the director of RISE in 2015. As of April 2017, she was promoted to director of the Texas Tech University Risk Intervention & Safety Education (RISE) office, has been named as the university’s Title IX administrator.


2017 - Derek Mergele-Rust

Since his first year at Texas Tech Law School, Derek worked tirelessly to establish Lavender Law, a student organization dedicated to advocating for the LGBTQ community. Under Derek’s leadership, Lavender Law was committed to LGBTQ legal issues and student support. In addition, Lavender Law co-sponsored training for student leaders, faculty and staff to receive LGBTQ Allies Training. In his last year of Law School, Derek worked with licensed attorneys in the Lubbock area to provide pro bono legal services for gender-marker and name change services for transgender persons. His legacy in the Law School and the Lubbock will have a great impact for many years to come.


2018 - Cadyn Tyler Ribera

Cadyn has continuously shown direction and leadership in the community, especially on transgender issues. He has spent much time leading the Gender Spectrum Support Group, not only making it an environment welcoming to the community as a whole but parents and friends alike. In his activism, he has appeared many times in the news talking not only about transgender issues but problems the community faces as a whole. “If me constantly being outed in the community means that I can help one person, be who they are without fear, then I am willing to. If me going to the news and reading the awful comments on Facebook later means that eventually one day no trans person has to feel so alone, like I did, then I will.” He has opened his home to LGTBQ individuals who have nowhere to stay, making them feel welcomed and loved.