LACY LAKEVIEW, Texas – Black History Month is a time to highlight the accomplishments of those making a difference across the country. One Lacy Lakeview Council member has had quite the journey into leadership, and also believes that representation matters.

Annise Payne had no interest in being a member of City Council until COVID-19 impacted her community, and she realized there was a need that she could fill.

“With me, pastoring a local church here, I kept up with the ordinances and what we had to follow with the church guidelines. After I did that and kind of kept up with it, not only for me but other pastors locally, and I really liked the way that felt and what it brought,” Payne says.

Payne says being a reliable source of information gave her an opportunity to be a voice for the people in her community. She was elected as part of Lacy Lakeview’s Council Committee on May 1, 2021.

“My mom would like to say it’s because my dad was actually [a] city councilman here in Lacy Lakeview. He actually died during his term,” Payne says.

Now in a role her father once had, she takes pride in listening to the needs and wants of her community.

As an African-American woman in her position, she believes representation in leadership is essential for the generation now and for those to come.

“We were really glad to have diversity, because it’s not a secret. There are not a lot of African-Americans on our City Council here. I am really hoping that others will step up and say, ‘Hey she’s doing it, I can too,'” Payne says.

She believes in unity for the community – despite barriers and cultural differences.

Although black history is nationally celebrated one month out of the year, she hopes it will be something that is celebrated all year long.

“Representation is so important. Black history does matter. We all should have a say so, because we all are a unit. I think that it all matters. Our voices do count. We like to have something to say on the outside, but why not come on the inside so that we will actually have a real voice,” Payne says.

Payne says although she has not hit her one year mark just yet, she has already seen the progress of her hard work.