Congresswoman to give Black History Breakfast keynote

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, will be the keynote speaker at the 31st Annual Black History Breakfast Observance in Columbus.

The event will be held 7:30 a.m. Monday at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center, 801 Front Ave.

Organizers of the event will recognize three local residents for their contributions to the community. Sandra Ellison, a retired school teacher and longtime volunteer, will receive the "Unsung Hero" award. The "Emerging Leader" award will be given to Brandon Hicks and Gwenetta Wright, two entrepreneurs and community activists, according to a news release issued by the planning committee.

Lee is serving her 11th term as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. She represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, centered in Houston.

During her tenure, Lee has served on various committees including the committees on foreign affairs, homeland security and judiciary. In the 110th and 111th Congress, she chaired the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection.

Lee is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

The Black History Breakfast was started by the late former Congressman Richard Ray in 1988 as an outreach effort to the black community, according to the news release. It is organized each year under the leadership of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and has become an annual draw for big-name speakers, including President Barack Obama, who was still a senator when he attended in 2005.

Tickets to the breakfast may be purchased on the lower level of the Columbus State University Cunningham Center, located at 3100 Gentian Boulevard, or by contacting Teddy Reese at 706-341-1822. Tickets also may be purchased at the door the morning of the event, according to the release.

Alva James-Johnson, 706-571-8521. Reach her on Facebook at AlvaJamesJohnsonLedger.