State of BLACK TEXAS: Top lawmakers speak on big issues of 2021
State Senators Borris Miles and Royce West, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick


The president of the United States is Joe Biden and his Vice President is Kamala Harris, a Black woman. It is like a breath of fresh air as we embrace a new chapter in our history. I join others in praying for our nation, knowing that there is much to be done but “We Can Do It.”

Even with the focus on the national scene, the reality is all politics is LOCAL. Knowing that fact, the Defender Network is proud to make a historic move to give Black communities throughout Texas the opportunity to hear from our state elected officials.

On Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 pm the State of BLACK TEXAS will present Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and State Senators Borris Miles (Houston) and Royce West (Dallas) in a virtual, live-stream event on the website, talking about the issues that matter to Black Texans.

When asked why people should attend the State of BLACK TEXAS program, State Senator Borris Miles said, “The Defender Network’s ‘State of Black Texas’ is important for all to attend because 2020 shined a bright light on the many disparities that Blacks have historically been subject to in healthcare, education, housing, criminal justice, finance and more. In 2020, not only did African Americans contract and die from COVID at a disproportionately higher rate than any other race, but we also suffered again from racially motivated attacks such as that against Amhaud Aubrey and continual police violence with the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Rayshard Brooks and our very own George Floyd, and countless others.”

Miles added, “The ‘State of Black Texas’ gives you the opportunity to speak to your Texas leadership, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and ask him the hard questions. As Black Texans we must make our voices heard, we must stand and demand answers. In the words of the heroic Fannie Lou Hamer, ‘I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.’ We must Keep the Faith and Keep the Fight.”

State Senator Royce West concurred adding, “The opening days of a Legislative Session that already faced the unprecedented challenges caused by an indiscriminate COVID pandemic, now has to safely manage the fallout of a chaotic White House and administration.

“More than ever, policy and bipartisan solutions will need to rise above politics and issues that pit one group against another and urban versus rural, versus suburban Texans. But yet, African Americans still have issues related to equity when it comes to educational and economic opportunities and the need for fairness and reforms within the criminal justice system. That, as I see it, is the State of Black Texas,” stated West.

The legislators will be questioned by representatives from the six Defender community partner organizations and will cover the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black lives in Texas, criminal justice, redistricting and a host of other topics. Some of those posing the questions include: Dallas partners Friendship-West pastor Frederick Haynes and Top Ladies of Distinction National President Sharon Beard. Houston partners include NAACP Houston Branch President-Elect James Dixon, Houston Area Urban League President Judson Robinson III, Greater Houston Black Chamber Interim President Carol Guess and the Pan-Hellenic Council of Houston President Wanda Anderson.

Adding a new perspective of collaboration, Houston Public Media has joined the Defender in this project and will also participate in the questioning of the guests.

The Defender applauds our program sponsors for their support of this three-part series. These include title sponsor H-E-B, presenting sponsor Chevron and V.I.P. sponsors Cadence Bank and Amegy Bank.

To attend the free, virtual event, go to the website and click on the red tab. The program begins at 6:30 pm Thursday, Jan 28. Join Us.