The Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce of Central Texas held its first banquet in honor of its third anniversary Saturday evening at the Courtyard by Marriott in Killeen.
The theme was “Celebrating Professional Women,” and Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman was the sold-out event’s keynote speaker.
“I was very honored to receive the invitation to keynote the chamber’s very first banquet,” Guzman said. “The work of the chamber is palpable in this room tonight, and they have support from so many different sectors from a very diverse community.”
Bell Count District Attorney Henry Garza introduced Guzman.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure that Justice Guzman is here sharing with us tonight,” he said. “It’s a great honor to be in a position to introduce her.”
A three-time gubernatorial appointee, Guzman moved swiftly through the ranks of the Texas judiciary. She began her judicial service in 1999 when she was appointed to the 309th Family District Court of Harris County by then Gov. George W. Bush. She was elected to that bench in 2000.
In 2001, Gov. Rick Perry appointed her to the Court of Appeals for the 14th District of Texas at Houston where she served until her appointment to the Supreme Court of Texas on Oct. 8, 2009. She was elected to a six-year term on the court in November 2010.
Guzman is one of only eight women to sit on the Supreme Court of Texas since the 1800s and is the only female minority to serve on the court.
“I have been immersed by the sense of community here in Killeen,” Guzman said of her time touring the area. “I received warm and gracious hospitality from Central Texas.”
During her speech to more than 300 guests, she commended all professional women, lauding those who work in the home and work to raise their families.
“There is a no more honorable career than to raise a family,” she said.
Guzman opened her speech by telling the crowd that there are 8.6 million women-owned businesses today and that those businesses generate $1.3 trillion and employ 7.8 million people. Of those, 994,000 are owned by Hispanic women.
“For all women it’s important we set our sights on whatever goal we may dream of. There are no ceilings we as women are not strong enough to break,” she said.
During the banquet, Killeen Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone read a proclamation declaring Sept. 21 as Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce of Central Texas Day.
To learn more about the chamber, go to www.haccctx.org.