Paige Dixon: A resilient force
A veteran, politician, and a single-mother of two young boys, Paige Dixon is the epitome of dedication and resilience. Born in Georgia but raised in Texas, Dixon was adopted into a family of hard-working parents who raised her with love and taught her the value of determination and a strong work ethic. Growing up, her father worked on a farm and her mother was a maid. Her parents would often foster children.
When asked about what shaped her political views, Dixon stated that it was the environment which she grew up in. “We struggled financially and I remember how my parents could not really afford healthcare since my mom’s insurance premiums kept going up and my father, who dropped out of high school to take care of his siblings, had a job that barely paid the minimum wage.” As someone who was raised in a community of working-class Americans, Dixon believes in the importance of universal healthcare and medical equity. According to her, it is the life that she has lived and the experiences of this life that have had an impact on her liberal and progressive political views. In addition to that, Dixon is also a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and stated that “I understand what it is like to live in a space that oppresses you for just being you”.
Dixon joined the military when she was 18 and completed her Bachelor's degree at Dallas Baptist University. While she had a general understanding of politics throughout her life, the 2008 elections when Barack Obama was elected was the first time she was engaged in an election’s results. And in 2016, when Donald Trump was elected, Dixon started to become active in politics. Dixon recalls that she was surprised with the results and wondered, as a veteran, what had happened to our country. She remembers how many individuals were outraged and used social media platforms to voice their concerns during the time and Dixon also spoke at rallies like “Fight for Our Life” and “Moms Demand Action.” She also became the president of the Denton County Young Democrats and also served in leadership roles in the Denton County Democratic Party.
Dixon wanted to do more to be a part of local politics and entered the arena of political activism when she decided to lead the PTA of her youngest son’s school to raise funds for activities like school field trips and socials as well as maintenance fees for the school library but it required a lot of effort to financially recover after the school had been robbed twice. Since the school was classified as a Title I school where many of the students came from low-income families, there was a massive gap according to Dixon when it came to the courses being offered and the commitment of faculty members. As she got more involved, she was able to witness more inequities. For instance, one summer they had a loss of 30 educators and every administrator they had. “The teachers were just fleeing and there was no stability. The quality of education had declined significantly over the ten years since the middle school had been built and more and more parents started enrolling their children in charter schools.” Although Dixon initially thought that her experience serving in the PTA would at most involve her to make some cupcakes and hold fundraisers, she stated that the impact it had on her was much bigger and influenced her to run for the LISD School Board.
As someone with a limited political background, Dixon stated that running for office, especially for the first time, was difficult. “I learned a lot of things the hard way, but I am so grateful for the experiences I had because they allowed me to make smarter choices and be more fearless the second time I ran.” As an African-American woman who had to run in a very conservative area, Dixon describes that she faced a lot of racism and fear mongering. “Any time you run, you want to win or lose solely based on your merits and you shouldn’t feel at a disadvantage because of your race or gender, which are two things you have no control over.” However, Dixon chooses to fight these challenges and stated “I might not get to see any of the changes that I am fighting for in my lifetime, but my hope is that my children will get to see that change and that all of our children will get to see that change. We’ve got to fight, and we’ve got to fight for each other.” Being a mother has affected her views more than anything else. “When you are a mother, you want the world to be accepting of your children and you want a world which allows them to fully take advantage of their opportunities. I have two African-American sons and we live in a world where we see African-American men being disproportionately murdered and incarcerated and what parent would not want to make a better tomorrow for their kids?”
What’s next for Dixon is serving as the Chair of Education Initiative for the DFW NAACP and she has also joined an organization called IGNITE to mentor other young women interested in politics. Her advice to anyone interested in pursuing politics is this. “Be bold and do it. You’re going to get hurt but you are tough, tougher than you can ever imagine. Just have a strong support system and make sure to take care of yourself. You cannot pour from an empty vessel and self-care is the only way you can keep yourself as genuine and enthusiastic to serve your role and actively engage in political activism.”