BLACK HISTORY MONTH: STANDING ON THE FOUNDATIONS, OPERATING IN THE PRESENT &
PROGRESSING TOWARD THE FUTURE

BHM SPEECH–WUNCHE HIGH SCHOOL

IT WAS JAMES BALDWIN WHO SAID, “KNOW FROM WHENCE YOU CAME. IF YOU KNOW WHENCE YOU CAME, THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO LIMITATIONS TO WHERE YOU CAN GO.” BALDWIN’S WORDS ARE TIMELESS. WE MUST KNOW OUR HISTORY – OUR FOUNDATION. THOSE WHO HAVE PAVED THE WAY FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE THE VERY REASON I HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF STANDING BEFORE YOU TODAY.

MOST OF THE WORLD IS FAMILIAR WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WHO GAVE US ALL A DREAM AND REMINDED US THAT WE SHOULD NOT BE JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF OUR SKIN BUT BY THE CONTENT OF OUR CHARACTER. WE MUST REMEMBER THE TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY ALUMNA AND LATE CONGRESSWOMAN, BARBARA JORDAN, WHO WAS NEVER AFRAID TO TAKE A STAND FOR JUSTICE — MAKING SURE THAT RICHARD NIXON DID NOT GET AWAY WITH WATERGATE. BUT WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO WE ARE NOT AS WELL KNOWN LIKE DR. SOLOMON CARTER FULLER – THE FIRST BLACK PSYCHIATRIST WHO MADE SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO RESEARCH ON BRAIN DISORDERS SUCH AS ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE.

THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY BUILDING BLOCKS… SO MANY PEOPLE WHO’VE SHOWN ME AND OTHERS WHAT HARD WORK CAN DO…THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WORKED IN THE COTTON FIELDS TO SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES…THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO MADE OUR CARS, OUR ROADS, OUR PORT OF HOUSTON…MY OWN FATHER, LARRY JOHNSON, WHOSE WORK AT KTSU SHOWED ME HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH PEOPLE…ALL OF THESE BUILDING BLOCKS HELPED ME BECOME A PUBLIC OFFICIAL WHO CARED ABOUT PEOPLE.. THEY SHOWED ME, JUST AS THEY SHOULD SHOW YOU, THAT AN

EFFECTIVE LEADER IS SOMEONE WITH THE ABILITY TO GUIDE OTHERS WITH INTEGRITY, CONFIDENCE, ACCOUNTABILITY AND PASSION. THEY MUST BE A STRONG COMMUNICATOR AND AN INSPIRATION TO OTHERS. I HAVE STRIVE STRIVED TO DO THIS AS A MAN AND AS A POLITICIAN. I AM COUNTING ON ALL OF YOU TO DO THE SAME – TO BE OUR FUTURE LEADERS.

I BELIEVE ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. ISN’T THAT WHAT ALL OF US SHOULD BELIEVE?

I HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF SERVING THE HARD-WORKING CITIZENS OF 139 AND THE STATE OF TEXAS IN THE 85TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION. I WILL ALWAYS DO MY BEST TO CLEAR THE PATH FOR YOU AS THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE ME DID. WHILE DOING THIS, I NEVER FORGOT THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING WITH OTHERS WHO MAY NOT SHARE ALL THE SAME BELIEFS FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAKING A GREATER CHANGE. YOU MUST KEEP FROM SEEING PEOPLE WITH OPPOSING BELIEFS AS AN ENEMY BUT RATHER AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE.

THE TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS MADE UP OF 95 REPUBLICANS AND 55 DEMOCRATS. I WAS STILL ABLE TO REACH ACROSS THE AISLE TO PASS 19 BILLS INCLUDING HOUSE BILL 374 – PUTTING VOCATIONAL ED BACK IN SCHOOLS AND PUTTING YOUNG PEOPLE ON A SOLID CAREER PATH. YOUNG PEOPLE LIKE BRANDON THOMAS, A MARINE CORP VET WHO HAD A HARD TIME FINDING A JOB WHEN HE GOT OUT OF THE SERVICE. HE IS NOW LEARNING A TRADE, EARNING A GREAT WAGE AND HAS HEALTH BENEFITS. THERE IS A FUTURE FOR ALL OF YOU. THROUGHOUT MY FIRST TERM, I WAS ABLE TO REGISTER 800 NEW VOTERS. NOW, I REALIZE THAT MOST OF YOU ARE NOT OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE YET. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT TOO EARLY FOR YOU TO REMIND YOURSELF EVERY DAY THAT YOUR VOICE MATTERS IN ALL YOU DO AND THAT NO ONE SHOULD GET LEFT BEHIND – ESPECIALLY IN TIMES OF

DISASTER. THOUSANDS OF TEXANS, INCLUDING MANY OF YOUR FAMILIES, WERE DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES AND THEIR JOBS AFTER HURRICANE HARVEY. WHILE I TRAVELED OVER 2500 MILES ACROSS THE STATE OF TEXAS, WAS ABLE TO PERSONALLY HELP 80 PEOPLE WITH CLOTHING, FOOD AND HOUSING REPAIRS, AS WELL AS GET OVER $10,000 DONATED TO AID THE HARVEY VICTIMS, THERE IS STILL MORE WORK TO BE DONE.

THIS IS WHY I HAVE PROPOSED HOUSE BILL 312 – ESTABLISHMENT OF A DISASTER RECOVERY FUND.

HOUSE BILL 312 WILL AMEND THE GOVERNMENT CODE TO ESTABLISH A DISASTER RECOVERY FUND ACCOUNT. THIS ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE FUNDING WILL BE ALLOCATED IN TIMES OF EXTRAORDINARY BURDENS TO STATE AND LOCAL ENTITIES AS WELL AS VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS IN AREAS WHERE THE GOVERNOR HAS DECLARED A STATE OF DISASTER. THIS ADDITIONAL FUNDING WILL HELP RELIEVE THE FISCAL BURDEN PLACED ON LOCAL COMMUNITIES DURING TIMES OF DISASTER.

I AM SHARING THIS INFORMATION WITH YOU TO PROVE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE THE CHANGE AND AS BALDWIN SAID, SO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU COME FROM. YOU HAVE TO TAKE OVER. I AM A BUILDING BLOCK JUST AS YOU ARE. THANK YOU.

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