Jessica Christopherson, AVP Marketing
Sarah Covington, Assistant Director PR
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Visit Fort Worth to Honor Opal Lee 

Annual Meeting to celebrate civil rights leader and front-line hospitality workers 

Fort Worth, Texas (January 6, 2021) - Visit Fort Worth, the tourism marketing organization for the nation’s 13th largest city, will honor civil rights leader Opal Lee on February 5 with its annual Hospitality Award for her efforts to make Fort Worth a more welcoming community. 

Lee, 94, realized a longtime dream in 2020 and collected 1.5 million signatures on a petition to create a national holiday for Juneteenth, the day the Civil War-era Emancipation Proclamation was announced in Texas.  

Visit Fort Worth was a leading sponsor of Opal’s Walk celebrating Juneteenth 2020. Her efforts drew national attention from celebrities including UsherDiddy and Lupita Nyong’o as well as media coverage from The New York Times and Associated Press

“Opal Lee’s positive message about freedom captured national attention this year. In honoring her, we want to emphasize that everyone is welcome in Fort Worth, Texas,” said Mark Nurdin, chairman of the Visit Fort Worth Board of Directors. 

Lee said: “We have simply got to make people aware that none of us are free until we’re all free, and we aren’t free yet. As we address local inequality, we become a more welcoming city.” 

Tickets are now on sale for the February 5 breakfast at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel. The event has been re-imagined for social distancing and safety. Most tables will seat six people instead of the usual 10. For even more distancing, tables for two are available around the perimeter of the room. 

The event will take less than 50% occupancy of the Omni ballroom. Masks will be required at all times except when dining. Hospitality staff stationed by entry doors will take the temperature of each attendee.

Previous honorees include DFW Airport, Mayor Betsy Price, Leon Bridges, museums of the Cultural District and Holt Hickman, whose vision to renovate the Stockyards revived the district decades ago. 

Visit Fort Worth also will announce the recipient of the second annual Beyond Award, recognizing front-line workers in the hospitality industry – among the hardest hit by this year’s business closures and economic downturn. Nominate an employee of a hotel, restaurant or cultural attraction by January 11 at

“Tourism is vital to our local economy because it creates jobs and supports local business. We look forward to honoring Opal Lee and our front-line hospitality workers because they embody the determination and spirit of the Modern West,” said Bob Jameson, Visit Fort Worth president and CEO. 

Visit Fort Worth will also highlight ways the local tourism industry is recovering and opportunities for ensuring long-term growth. Before COVID-19, the local visitor economy delivered a $2.6 billion annual economic impact and supported more than 24,000 jobs. 

Previous annual meetings have debuted new campaigns including “Things to Do” featuring Grady Spencer and the Work, the Fort Worth Stories video series, “Take Me Home” by local musician Lou CharLe$ and short films inviting visitors to Discover Diverse Fort Worth.



About Visit Fort Worth
Visit Fort Worth is the official destination marketing organization of the 13th-largest city in the United States, dedicated to promoting Fort Worth as a premier business and leisure destination with thriving centers of creativity, culture and commerce. Visit Fort Worth is the parent organization of The Fort Worth Herd, the Fort Worth Film Commission, Fort Worth Sports Commission and music initiative Hear Fort Worth.