The 2019 November Election brought many surprises, including several run-off elections in the City of Houston. But, in addition to the run-offs, Texas voters passed nine out of the ten State of Texas propositions. One, in particular, will have a significant impact on Texas and our region. Texas Proposition 6 allows the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to increase its authorized bonds from $3 billion to $6 billion, doubling its initial bonding authority since its creation in 2007. The work CPRIT has done to prevent and fight cancer since voters approved its initial funding in 2007 has been nothing short of incredible. We are fortunate to have the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical center in our backyard, which includes many cancer research institutions that make strides every day to finding a cure and preventing cancer using CPRIT funding. More than 18,000 Texans have had cancer or cancer precursors detected by screenings funded by CPRIT— which is pivotal for a disease in which early diagnosis can make all the difference. And CPRIT is funding groundbreaking research. It’s also helping us build the infrastructure for future discovery. We all know someone or are related to someone who has been touched by cancer. We see the pain, the struggle, and the toll that it takes on their bodies. But we also see the determination to fight this deadly disease and prevent it. Like many Texans, this is personal to me. It makes me happy that from 2011-2016, the cancer mortality rate in our state has fallen 8 percent due to CPRIT and other good work. So, in honor of the passage of this extraordinary life-saving state proposition, I am asking men to join me for Movember, an annual event where men grow out their mustaches during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, like anxiety, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. The goal is to encourage men to visit their doctor for an annual check-up to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments. Let’s save some lives and reduce the number of preventable deaths.
Senator Borris Miles
Many of you may know that I have struggled with my health all of my life. That battle includes facing sickle cell anemia and kidney disease head-on. Like many who live with a debilitating illness, I power through each day, no matter the pain to provide for my family and to serve the people of Senate District 13. Some days are good and some are bad. I do not get to decide which day I am dealt. Recently, I was blessed to receive a kidney transplant. I have been on the transplant list for one day too many. Like the hundreds of thousands of individuals who are on the list, I have woken up each day waiting for the call that a matched organ was available. Receiving an organ is greater than winning the lottery. According to the UC Davis Health Transplant Center, the chance of finding an exact match with an unrelated donor is about one in 100,000. And on top of that, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, African-Americans make up the largest group of minorities in need of an organ transplant. Organ donation can save lives. I am living proof. Please consider becoming an organ donor. You can register at www.DonateLifeTexas.org; you never know whose life you are going to save. My family and I are incredibly excited about this transplant, but I know the road to recovery will be long and difficult. But I don’t quit and I don’t back down. There is so much more I want to do, and one of those things is to continue serving you. My recovery will cause my absence in the community, but rest assured that my team will continue fighting for you. My district offices will stay open, and my staff will continue attending community meetings, working on your constituent issues, meeting with stakeholders on legislation and more. We just finished hosting my fifth job fair since becoming a state senator. This job fair served the North Forest community in Northeast Houston. Like many predominantly African-American neighborhoods, this is where opportunities may be thin,
Miles Ahead Scholars: A Legacy Program Aimed to Help Young Men of Color go to College Every urban city has African-American communities that have been neglected, and opportunities to succeed are scarce. This ongoing trend has reverberated for decades and leaves little hope for many of our kids. Houston is home to several of these neighborhoods. In 2014, President Barack Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative to address the persistent achievement gaps boys and young men of color face. Several studies from top research institutions found what we already knew. African-American men are a dying breed on college campuses. I sought to change this upon being elected as a state senator in 2016. We needed a program to help our young men of Color get to college and succeed. I approached the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and education advocates with this goal, and they all agreed. So, we got to work and developed a program based on best practices. Then, I was able to secure $22 million during the past two legislative sessions to fund the program. Last week, I joined HISD, the TEA, and hundreds of community leaders and education advocates to unveil the fruits of our labor and welcome the inaugural class of the Miles Ahead Scholars. The Miles Ahead Scholars’ inaugural class consists of sixty 9th and 10th-grade boys who show academic promise from Wheatley, Worthing and Kashmere High Schools. Each of these schools is located in predominantly African American communities. The program will follow these boys and future classes as they become men and graduate from high school. The program has dedicated staff to allow the students to achieve excellence in academics, learn skills for success, and to help them apply and get accepted to top colleges and universities. The program sets very high goals for the scholars. The students will also be mentored by successful men of color, participate in professional internships so that they can receive real-world experience and visit the top universities in the country. We need to show these kids what possibilities lie ahead. At
Why It’s Important to Black Men By Senator Borris Miles State of Black Texas in the Texas Legislature Earlier this year, I passed Senate Resolution 453 to designate September as Prostate Cancer Awareness month to educate the public on early detection of this disease. This year, over 174,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, making prostate cancer the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men. The disease will kill about 1900 men in Texas this year. In Harris County, about 102 of every 100,000 males test positive for prostate cancer, a rate significantly higher than the state-wide average. But what hits home is that this cancer disproportionately affects black men at rates that are 60% higher than white males for reasons that remain unclear to researchers. Statistical data has repeatedly shown that black men in the United States have the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world. Age and race are the two greatest risk factors for prostate cancer, with black men over the age of 65 being at the highest risk. While this data paints a frightening picture, there are ways to be proactive and protect yourself and our community: 1. Talk to your doctor and get screened 2. Know your family history and risk factors. 3. Help raise awareness in your community. Early detection is vital. Catching prostate cancer in its earliest stage is the best way to ensure a swift recovery. However, prostate cancer is slow-growing and usually does not show symptoms until it reaches the advanced stage, making proactive screenings even more important. The American Cancer Society recommends that men should start speaking to their healthcare provider about prostate cancer beginning at the age of 50. The discussion should include reviewing family history, understanding the risk factors and getting screened. Knowledge is power and early detection is essential. Black men are considered high risk for developing prostate cancer if they have close relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65. Men are considered very high risk if they have had several close relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer before