Media Advisory
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Media Use Only
August 6, 2008
Contact: Tina Tran


Texas Legislative Internship Program Reception and Private Viewing of "Lucy" in Honor of Congressman Mickey Leland

DETAILS:Thursday, August 7th
 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
 The Houston Museum of Natural Science
 One Hermann Circle Drive, Houston, TX 77030

For one week in August 1989, Washington lawmakers, the American public and relief agencies around the world were riveted to news outlets as an intensive search was conducted for the missing plane of Houston Congressman George "Mickey" Leland. Leland and his delegation of staffers, State Department officials, and Ethiopian nationals were en route to a refugee camp in Ethiopia near the Sudanese border when contact with them was lost. Six days later, the plane was located with no survivors.

A six-term Congressman, Leland was a champion of the poor, the homeless and the hungry both at home and abroad. His passion took him to Ethiopia and other areas in sub-Saharan Africa many times facilitating delivery of relief supplies and mediating conflicts, some involving state-sponsored terrorism.

Leland believed strongly that if change is to be long-term, young people have to be a part of the process, to see firsthand what the issues and possibilities are. That prompted him to start his Congressional Internship Program through which college students were integrated into every aspect of his legislative operations.

Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis has continued that legacy with his own Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP) which has steadily grown. TLIP has provided over 300 young people with the opportunity to become key public policy players in government. Their internship experiences often serve as the springboard for selecting public service careers. Since its inception, this worthwhile program has been supported through private donations, all of which have gone to providing stipends for TLIP interns. Thus far, the program has distributed over $1,719,000 in stipends. TLIP is coordinated through the Mickey Leland Center on World Hunger and Peace at Texas Southern University.

On Thursday, August 7th, in honor of the 19th anniversary of Congressman Leland's final mission, Senator Ellis, joined by Alison Leland, widow of the late Congressman, is hosting a reception at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and a Private Viewing of the Exhibit : "Lucy's Legacy: The Hidden Treasures of Ethiopia." The event will not only recognize TLIP supporters, but will also be a reunion of former Leland staffers, colleagues, and friends in a setting which evokes the memory of the ancient civilization with which his humanitarian efforts are most closely identified.