M.G.T. from Houston, Austin and San Antonio participated in the 14th Annual Stop the Silence National African American Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk held April 20. Photos: Ati Hamid Cushmeer

by Ati Hamid Cushmeer

HOUSTON—Women from all over the country converged in Houston, Texas, for one of the signature events of Sisters Network® Inc., the 14th Annual Stop the Silence National African American Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk.

They ran in teams or as individuals but were united for one common cause: to raise awareness about breast cancer, to honor survivors, as well as those who lost their battle, and to hopefully save lives in the future.

Under the team name “MGT Sisters Walking in PINK,” women from the Southwest Region of the Nation of Islam from Muhammad Mosque No. 45 in Houston, Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, and the San Antonio Study Group participated. The event kicked off on April 20 at Lynn Eusan Park at the University of Houston.


The Stop the Silence Walk was launched in April 2010 and is the only national Black Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk. Over 5,000 participants attend each year to honor and celebrate Black women who courageously fight breast cancer while raising funds to support Sisters Network® Inc.

“I got a great workout, and we had the best time participating in the 14th Annual Sisters Network Stop the Silence 5K for Breast Cancer Survivors this weekend at the University of Houston campus. There was music, dancing, free swag giveaways, and we were blessed with beautiful weather! I look forward to next year’s event,” said Sister Dr. Stacey Muhammad of Mosque No. 45.

Sister Maalikah Muhammad, the Student Southwest Regional M.G.T. and G.C.C. Captain, stated that this issue is “near and dear to me because my mother suffered from breast cancer.” The Houston mosque and sisters of the M.G.T. and G.C.C. have participated in past events. One year, the sisters took part in honoring fallen soldier Sister Cassandra T. Muhammad of Houston, who lost her battle with breast cancer (may Allah be pleased).

“I’m always inspired when I’m out in the community and we want to continue with bringing awareness to this issue and work in collaboration with other Black women and organizations,” said Sister Maalikah.

The Stop the Silence Walk was launched in April 2010 and is the only national Black Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk.

Sisters Network® Inc. (SNI), founded in 1994, is the largest and only national Black breast cancer survivorship organization in the United States. It’s directed by breast cancer survivor, founder and CEO Karen Eubanks Jackson and is based in Houston, Texas, with affiliate chapters throughout the country. Sisters Network® Inc. is the leading voice in the Black Breast Cancer movement, emphasizing support, outreach, and education.

What makes this organization so important is that, according to the American Cancer Society, Black women are disproportionately impacted by breast cancer.

“Though Black women get breast cancer at a slightly lower incidence rate (3 percent) than White women, Black women are 42 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than White women. That is an astounding number and indicative of a variety of factors, many reflecting racial disparities,” notes the American Cancer Society.  

“The breast cancer incidence rate is highest in White women and lowest in Hispanic women. The breast cancer death rate is highest in Black women, followed by American Indian/Alaska Native (Asian) women, and lowest in Asian/Pacific Islander women. 

It’s notable that Black and Asian women both have a higher death rate than White women even though they both have a lower incidence rate for breast cancer than White women. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer in women in the U.S. overall, but it’s the leading cause of cancer death in Black and Hispanic women,” the American Cancer Society website continued.

The organization also notes that up to about 30 percent of breast cancers may be preventable with lifestyle changes and that about 30 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are linked to risk factors that women may be able to change—such as excess body weight, physical inactivity, and alcohol intake.

To those who may think breast cancer is a disease that only strikes those who are 50 plus, the American Cancer Society also notes, “Black women under age 40 have higher rates of breast cancer when compared to White women. Black women under age 35 get breast cancer at two times the rate of White women and die from breast cancer three times as often as White women.”

The Stop the Silence 5K Run/Walk is one of many initiatives sponsored by Sisters Network® Inc. Supporters are urged to save the date for the upcoming National Black Breast Cancer Summit on October 4-6, 2024, in Houston, and watch for the Pink Power National Tours coming to a city near you. For more information, please visit sistersnetworkinc.org and follow @sistersnetwork.