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Pfizer and the National Newspaper Publishers Association Collaborate to Raise Awareness of Sickle Cell Disease and Need for Improved Patient Care Collaboration Aims to Educate on the IImportance of Clinical Trials in Developing Potential New Sickle Cell Disease Therapies

(BPRW) Pfizer and the National Newspaper Publishers Association Collaborate to Raise Awareness of Sickle Cell Disease and Need for Improved Patient Care Collaboration Aims to Educate on the Importance of Clinical Trials in Developing Potential New Sickle Cell Disease Therapies

(Black PR Wire) NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a trade association of more than 200 African-American–owned community newspapers from around the United States, are collaborating to raise awareness of sickle cell disease, a lifelong and debilitating genetic disorder that affects red blood cells.

People with rare diseases, like sickle cell disease, have unique and complex challenges. The first initiative under the collaboration will be a national poll, conducted in partnership with Howard University’s Interdisciplinary Research Team in Washington, DC. The goal is to assess the awareness of sickle cell disease, the challenges of living with the disease, and the importance of clinical trial participation in helping researchers succeed in developing potential new treatments. In a review of 174 sickle cell disease trials, difficulty enrolling patients was the stated cause in nearly half of the 30% of the trials that were terminated early.1

“This collaboration with Pfizer provides an opportunity for NNPA to inform and educate the readers of our 211-member Black-owned newspapers in more than 70 markets across the country on sickle cell disease, an often misunderstood disease that has a profound impact on the health and well-being of those affected,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., NNPA President. “Together with Pfizer, we look forward to providing sickle cell disease education that can underscore the importance of improving quality of care in the community.”

Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States, affecting nearly 100,000 Americans.2 Although it affects many different ethnic groups, the majority of people with sickle cell disease are of African descent.3 In the United States, sickle cell disease occurs in approximately 1 out of every 365 African-American births.4 Access to care and delivery of innovative treatments prove to be among the most significant challenges faced by people living with sickle cell disease in America.

“At Pfizer, we are committed to delivering life-changing therapies to people living with rare diseases, like sickle cell disease,” said Kevin Williams, Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer’s Rare Disease unit. “Our commitment also goes beyond clinical research to supporting the rare disease community through innovative collaborations. Working together, we hope to improve awareness and ultimately address the unmet medical needs of sickle cell disease patients.”

The poll results and information about sickle cell disease will be shared with the NNPA network and incorporated into educational programs at NNPA events. More information about sickle cell disease can be found at For more information about the NNPA, please visit

Lebensburger JD, Pair L, Hilliard L, et al. Systematic review of interventional sickle cell trials registered in Clin Trials. 2015:12(6);575-583.

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Statement: Amended TrumpCare no Better Than Before: Americans Still Pay Much More For a Whole Lot Less  

Jackson Lee:  “This bill is a grab bag of goodies for the very rich, which comes at the expense of stripping health care from 24 million Americans and leaving 52 million Americans uninsured.”

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the House Budget Committee that marked up TrumpCare last Thursday, released the following statement in response to the analysis issued today by CBO finding that under the revised Republican health care repeal bill, Trumpcare 2.0, 24 million Americans will lose their health insurance by 2026 at which time a record 52 million Americans will be uninsured:

“The CBO score confirms what most Democrats already knew.  TrumpCare, even in its amended form, wages an unbridled assault on working and middle class families.  The Congressional Budget Office analysis confirms that TrumpCare raises premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs while pushing 24 million Americans off their health care and leaving a record 52 million Americans uninsured by 2026.  As bad as the original bill was, the Manager’s Amendment is crueler to Medicaid recipients while handing billions more to the richest Americans.

“TrumpCare is not consistent with our values and is beyond immoral.  The time has come to pull the plug on this disastrous bill that gives billions in tax breaks to the rich, while denying working Americans the quality health care they deserve. By an overwhelming 3-1 margin, Americans reject the Republicans #PayMoreForLess health plan ”

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Sandra Bland Act discussed at press conference

AUSTIN – In front of the Supreme Court building on the north Capitol groundsThursday, March 2nd, Representative Garnet Coleman (D-147) and others held a press conference to discuss the filing of The Sandra Bland Act. The Sandra Bland Act aims to improve our criminal justice system to make Texas safer for everyone.

The Sandra Bland Act aims to improve our criminal justice system to make Texas safer for everyone. Bland was jailed on a highway in Waller County and later died in jail where the actions surrounding her death called a public outcry for justice.

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Trump Administration and the Chairman of The House Intelligence Committee Are Crumbling Around the Edges  

Jackson Lee: “Absolute shock surged through Congress and around Washington D.C. over the actions of the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in going to the White House alone and disclosing classified intelligence to persons allegedly under investigation. What will he do next?”

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, and a Member of the House Budget Committee released the following statement:

“New information has just been released that Trump associates may have coordinated with the Russians in the campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2016.  Today an enormous breach took place when the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence violated all protocols and maybe even the law by reporting classified information to persons who may be under active investigation.

“On Monday, March 21, FBI Director James Comey appeared before the House Intelligence Committee and testified that there was no substance and no truth to the representations of Donald Trump that President Obama had “wiretapped” Donald Trump. And today, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee may have figuratively blew up his bipartisan committee’s investigation of Trump’s accusation that he had been wiretapped by order of President Obama and undermined the credibility of the committee’s inquiry into the activities of the Russian Government to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election and the possible collusion of Trump campaign associates in those Russian activities.

“It is clear that confidence in the government must be restored, and that an independent investigation into these matters must go forward. Whether Chairman Nunes should continue to lead that investigation, however, should be conditioned on his providing a satisfactory explanation of his conduct to the members of the Intelligence Committee and to the House of Representatives.

“The allegations under investigation by the Intelligence Committee may bear upon high crimes and misdemeanors and should be taken extremely seriously. The investigation must be factual, impartial, thorough, and unbiased.  The American people deserve the truth.”

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Statement: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Calls For International Vigilance Regarding Acts of Terror  

Jackson Lee:  “America cannot stand the existing divide now being created by the Trump Administration with our international allies.”

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and a member of the Helsinki Commission promoting security and cooperation in Europe, issued the following statement surrounding today’s apparent terrorist attack in London:

“Sadly, again we see individual actors perpetrating terrorist attacks against innocent people.  This makes international collaboration against terrorism that much more important.

“The attack in London is still being sorted out and authorities are trying to gather more information.  I express my deepest sympathies and condolences over the loss of life and for those who were injured.  But the events of today show why America cannot stand the existing divide now being created by the Trump Administration with our international allies.”

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Precinct One youth and seniors programs receive federal grants totaling nearly $150,000

Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved nearly $150,000 in federal grants for Precinct One programs that assist young people and senior citizens.

 The nonprofit Harris County Precinct One Street Olympics Inc. was awarded a $42,024 Community Development Block Grant for the Harris County Aquatics Program, $28,993 for Discovery Camp and $58,502 for the Summer Games.

The Seniors Drama Program received a $20,000 grant. The program, directed by playwright Thomas Meloncon, provides acting and dance lessons. Seniors participate as actors, understudies and costume designers. Throughout the year, they perform plays that raise awareness of crucial issues affecting seniors.

 Created in 1986, the Street Olympics implements and sustains year-round programs that provide training, support and resources that lead to healthy and productive lives for Houston-area youth.

The Aquatics Program offers swimming lessons and competitive swimming for youth. In July, Learn-to-Swim students compete in a friendly competition at the Harris County Aquatics Center.

 Discovery Camp, which runs through the summer months, offers children ages 6-13 a one-day adventure that includes educational activities, games, crafts and projects that give them hands-on experience to help understand nature in natural settings at Challenger Seven Memorial and Deussen parks.

 The Summer Games gives youth at participating agencies a chance to compete in traditional street games such as kickball, jacks, hopscotch, Hula Hoop and foot races. The best participants at the agencies – which include Houston Parks and Recreation Department sites, YMCAs, churches and other youth centers – earn the right to compete at the Final Event in August at NRG Arena, where they can win medals. For more information, call 713 991 6881.

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Statement from Senator Borris Miles Regarding the UT Houston Land Purchase

“I respect the decision by the University of Texas System (UT) to not proceed with the development of a local campus on the 300 acres located in my Senatorial District. I met with UT administration and leadership several times, and questioned the recently-appointed regents regarding this purchase at their nomination hearing.

“My greatest concern regarding the UT land deal has always been about the nontransparent method by which the land was acquired and by the system’s inconsistent explanations for how the land was to be used. I am encouraged that UT listened to the voices of concern and decided to pull the plug on proceeding with the Houston development. I understand UT will now sell the land gradually to an entity or entities that will bring economic development and jobs to the surrounding community.

“UT has a very big stake in Senate District 13 and the greater Houston area, with MD Anderson Cancer Center and UT Health Science Center at Houston. UT’s success benefits all Texans, including Houston. In fact, the land in question lies in the heart of my district. But, there must be a methodical and inclusive process when decisions like this are made, especially when it affects our present universities. I look forward to continuing to work with UT System, the board of regents and Chairman William McRaven on ways to improve higher education in Texas and our community.”

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City Pursues Strategies for Homeless, Panhandlers

Mayor Sylvester Turner on March 2nd announced what he termed  a more holistic approach to reducing homelessness and invited the community to help implement it.  The mayor’s plan involves expedited efforts to permanently house the homeless, more shelter beds, new public health and safety regulations and an anti-panhandling awareness campaign.

“Houston has achieved significant reductions in homelessness in recent years, but I am committed to doing even more,” said Mayor Turner.  “It is simply not acceptable for people to live on the streets; it is not good for them, and it is not good for the city.  We will tackle this complicated issue, and we will do it humanely with a meaningful approach that balances the needs of the homeless and the concerns of neighborhoods they impact.  We will need everyone’s patience and help to make it work.”

At the center of the mayor’s plan is expansion of The Way Home, the coordinated housing initiative of 100 public and private organizations that has reduced overall homelessness by 57 percent over the last five years.  Another 500 chronically homeless individuals will be placed in permanent supportive housing within six months.  Coupled with this aggressive goal, the community, often with direct city support, is continuing to invest in new permanent supportive housing units, but more apartments are still needed. The mayor is calling upon apartment owners and landlords with vacant units to step forward and be part of the solution.

Another 215 shelter beds will come online in August when the new Star of Hope campus on Reed Road is finished.  In addition, the city is pursuing creation of one or more secure and professionally managed covered outdoor spaces with restroom facilities where up to 75 individuals could stay temporarily.

“In this city, we are not going to abandon our most vulnerable,” said Turner.  “The goal is to get as many people as possible into permanent housing or shelters, but even with all of the assistance being offered, there will still be people who choose to stay on the streets.  It would be wrong to tell these people they cannot be here or there without providing a suitable alternative.  I am inviting the community and City Council to help identify locations in their districts we can use as temporary outdoor shelters and for feeding the hungry.”

The city will continue weekly cleanups of encampments to address health and safety concerns while the homeless are transitioning to shelters and permanent supportive housing. The Houston Police Department Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is expanding so there can be increased interaction and assistance for the homeless. Another component is a new ordinance outlawing tents on public property.  This ordinance will prohibit people from putting up tents but will not make it illegal to sleep outdoors.  There will be a 30-day transition period during which HPD’s HOT team will work to compassionately redirect people in encampments to housing alternatives.

“This is a best practice across the nation and is based on public health and safety concerns,” said Turner.  “We cannot have people setting up tent cities where there are no restrooms or other accommodations to meet basic human needs.  Not only is it unsanitary, but it also deters from the goal of getting people into permanent supportive housing.”

The Texas Department of Transportation is assisting by installing “no camping” signs at freeway underpasses and is working to allow the city to have access to the underpasses for parking and economic development, an idea Mayor Turner has wanted to pursue since seeing something similar during last year’s trade mission to Mexico City.

The mayor’s plan also takes aim at panhandling with a new ordinance prohibiting obstruction of roadways and an anti-panhandling media campaign involving TV, radio, print and social media ads, street signage, billboards and a way to donate to service organizations via text and online giving.  The campaign, which is being funded by 15 management districts, urges residents to help bring about “meaningful change” by donating their “spare change” directly to organizations that provide services.  The public awareness campaign will be coupled with a pilot program to connect panhandlers to employment opportunities.  The signs and ads are expected to be up and running within a month.

The mayor noted that a lot of homeless have mental health issues and have repeatedly fallen through the cracks of the social service system.  He stressed the importance of increased funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment programs and said that he had directed this issue to be added to the city’s legislative priorities in Austin.

“Our existing programs and the expanded ones I have outlined lead all major cities in dealing with a nationwide problem,” said Turner.  “This is a realistic, holistic approach that provides meaningful solutions.  By offering multiple choices and a little bit of tough love, we hope to convince more of our street population to get off the streets.  This plan also provides strategies for easing the pressure in neighborhoods.  We will never totally eliminate homelessness, but with the entire community’s help, we can reduce it even more.”

Six years ago, Houston had a homeless population of more than 8,500.  Today, that number has dropped to around 3,600.  Less than one-third of these people are living on the streets.  The rest take advantage of shelter beds.

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The National Black Church Initiative Strongly Denounces the Desecration of the Jewish Cemetery and the Continuous Threat Against Our Jewish Brothers and Sisters

The National Black Church Initiative Strongly Denounces the Desecration of the Jewish Cemetery and the Continuous Threat Against Our Jewish Brothers and Sisters

This is despicable in the sight of God!


Washington, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, is loaning its moral voice in the denunciation against those who have visited violence against the Jewish cemetery and Jewish communities across the country.

Antisemitism does not have any place in our growing and diverse society. We can disagree on policy, but the Black Church will not tolerate any violence toward our Jewish brothers and sisters. We wholeheartedly condemn those who are responsible for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries across the country. An act against the Jewish community is an act against the Black Church and Black Community We stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters shoulder to shoulder and we will not tolerate any violence in either words or deeds against the Jewish community.

Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the NBCI, says, “We are speaking out forcefully against the environment that allows individuals who are not of good will to threaten bodily harm against our Jewish brothers and sisters across the country. We will not tolerate such behavior. The National Black Church Initiative, with its 34,000 churches, wants everyone to understand that our Jewish brothers and sisters are God’s chosen people to interpret the holy Torah, and without their interpretation humanity could be lost.”

He went on to declare, “By touching or harming any of our Jewish brothers and sisters, you are interfering with the will of God. Therefore, all of God’s people, Christians as well as Muslims, condemn these present threats and negative actions against the Jewish community. African Americans are also a part of God’s chosen people and the Jewish community has the same sacred obligation to protect the dignity and the godhead of Christians and Muslims as we are to protect Jews.”


The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, churches and the public. Our methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science.

NBCI’s purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work. Visit our website

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Houston Selected to Participate in National Initiative to Increase Equity and Build Local Pathways to Higher Education and Employment

The National League of Cities (NLC) selected Houston as one of six cities that will take part in a two year project to explore and build equitable pathways to post-secondary and workforce success. The mayors of each participating city have made a commitment to increasing access and decreasing barriers that prevent youth from succeeding in higher education and gaining meaningful employment. Houston’s efforts will focus on the Hire Houston Youth (HHY) program.

“Workforce programs and summer employment can decrease the likelihood that a youngster will drop out of school, they help ensure we have an able and ready workforce and set youth on the path to long-term careers,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “Despite these benefits, less than a third of American teenagers held a job last summer and their participation in the workforce is at an historic low. This year’s goal is to provide 5,000 summer jobs for local youth. I’m calling on our business community to help us get to this goal by hiring and paying a HHY summer applicant. If you don’t have a spot, you can pledge $2,500 to sponsor a youth’s salary, training and benefits at a government agency or a nonprofit organization.”

HHY provides local youth ages 16-24 with at least a seven week summer job or internship experience from mid-June through the first week of August.  In preparation for job placement, applicants will attend workforce readiness training one week prior to their start date.  Students will work up to 40 hours a week for seven weeks, earning at least $8 an hour.  The program is part of the mayor’s vision to create complete communities in historically underserved neighborhoods.

Cities are the economic engines of our nation. In understanding this role as economic drivers, mayors and other city partners – including representatives from city workforce, economic development and education – will be working together to ensure access to education and employment for all citizens with the ultimate goal of building vibrant local economies. To reach this goal, cities need clear pathways to college and postsecondary programs that are responsive to regional workforce needs. The value of a college educated community brings both personal and city-wide benefits.

Through its Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and with support from The Kresge Foundation, and LinkedIn, NLC will bring together city leaders from the government, education and business sectors and national experts that will help Houston develop strategies and expand the city’s efforts. The city will also have access to labor market trends in hiring as well as insights on education pathways and key skill sets leading to employment from LinkedIn. For more information, call 832.393.0800.

The six cities chosen to participate as NLC cohort include Austin, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; Corpus Christi, Texas; Houston, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee.