Hoyer Attends the 25th Annual Black History Month Breakfast Featuring Senator Barack Obama - Southern Maryland Headline News

Hoyer Attends the 25th Annual Black History Month Breakfast Featuring Senator Barack Obama

Breakfast Sponsored by Comcast, Prince Frederick Graphics, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car Draws 450 Community Leaders

GREENBELT, MD – Congressman Steny Hoyer today attended the 25th Annual Black History Month Breakfast in Greenbelt where he was joined by Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), who gave the keynote address. Over 450 community leaders from Charles, Calvert, St. Mary’s, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties attended the event to pay tribute to Black History Month and to commemorate the theme, Celebrating Community: Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow.

Congressman Hoyer helped start this annual breakfast in 1982 and has attended the breakfast every single year since to recognize the critical role African Americans have played in the founding and developing of our country. Music for the event was performed by the Second Coming, C.S.D Band and Voices of Reid, a choir from Reid Temple AME Church.

“For the past 25 years, this breakfast has provided our community with an opportunity to discuss how our shared history frames our future,” said Congressman Hoyer. "In sharing in this morning of friendship and fellowship, we together celebrate the contributions of African Americans whose hearts are not hardened by the toils of history, but who are committed to building families and communities, and a better nation.”

Senator Obama, the only African American serving in the United States Senate, expressed his gratitude for being invited to participate this year. “With the recent passing of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, it’s more important than ever to teach our children about the struggles and the progress made by the civil rights heroes who came before us,” Obama said. “Black History Month events like this one ensure that these leaders of the past will remain role models in the future. I am extremely grateful to Congressman Hoyer for allowing me to be a part of this important celebration of Black History.”

Hoyer said Black History Month “provides our nation with the opportunity to honor the rich history of a community that has overcome so much and recommit ourselves to ensuring that America continues to make progress.”

As part of that commitment, Hoyer called on President Bush and Congress to join in supporting full election reform and protecting voting rights. “One of the landmark achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Hoyer said. “The Voting Rights Act was a major step forward in America’s quest to live up to our ideals of equality and justice that are admired worldwide.” Hoyer noted that certain parts of the VRA are scheduled to expire in 2007 and stressed that “it is critical that those provisions be reauthorized this year, so that no American’s franchise is denied or impeded.”

Hoyer praised Obama, a lifelong civil rights advocate, as “young, vibrant and full of the optimism that makes America great.”

“We are honored to have Senator Barack Obama here today,” Hoyer said. “He has dedicated his life to public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, State Senator, and now as a leader in the United States Senate.”

Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983, and moved to Chicago in 1985 to work for a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment. In 1991, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review.

In 2004, Obama captured 70 percent of the vote in Illinois, becoming only the fifth black United States Senator in history.

Previous guest speakers for this Black History Month celebration include Vernon Jordan, Donna Brazile, Jesse Jackson, Elijah Cummings, Kweisi Mfume, Congressman John Lewis, Carmen Turner, Anthony Williams, Leon Harris, and Tony Brown.

Photo: Rep. Hoyer speaks about Senator Obama's lifelong commitment to helping people in need.

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