In this Jan. 8, 2004, file photo, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at a news conference in Washington at the State Department. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation will honor nine Black veterans this month during its ninth annual Avoice Heritage Celebration in D.C.

Colin L. Powell, a 100-year-old woman who served in World War II and a former homeless veteran who champions rights for female veterans are among those will receive awards on Feb. 13 during a reception and program at the Naval Heritage Center.

“From the heroic efforts of the Tuskegee Airman to the countless black patriots that died protecting the uncertain promise of freedom, we owe a debt of gratitude,” said A. Shuanise Washington, the foundation’s president and CEO. “The choice to serve our country in such a distinguished manner is to be revered and commemorated. It is an honor to pay respect to the black veterans that have often been overlooked due to the color of their skin.”

The Avoice celebration showcases CBCF’s Avoice Virtual Library Project, an online repository that captures the legislative and political achievements of African Americans in Congress and provides an opportunity to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations who make humanitarian contributions to society.

In keeping with this year’s theme, “Black Veterans on the Front Lines of History,” Congressional Black Caucus members will join attendees to laud the 2018 honorees and engage with them a special “talkback” session.

“The respect for Black veterans has been embattled with racial tension and hostility since Reconstruction ended,” said Menna Demessie, CBCF vice president for policy analysis and research. “The 2018 Avoice Heritage Celebration offers a special occasion to honor the legacy of those in our community who have endured the tolls of war to protect our liberty. The CBCF will continue to uplift black voices that have been historically left out of the American narrative.”

The 2018 Avoice Heritage Celebration honorees include:

• Retired Sgt. Millie Dunn Veasey – Distinguished Veteran: Living Legend Award for serving as staff sergeant to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion during World War II, as well as current CBC veterans – Distinguished Veteran Service and Champion Award in recognition of their military service and demonstrated commitment to minority veterans’ affairs.
• Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (U.S. Army)
• Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Nurse veteran)
• Rep. Bobby L. Rush (U.S. Army)
• Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Massachusetts National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve)
• Rep. G.K. Butterfield (U.S. Army)
• Rep. Anthony Brown (U.S. Army Reserve)
• Ginger Miller, Petty Third Class – Distinguished Veterans’ Rights Activist Award for her tireless efforts to expose the public and advocate for veterans in need.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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