I am honored to invite Alfred Lacks Carter, Henrietta Lacks’ grandson, to share his thoughts on this important bill and how he and his entire family are working to preserve his grandmother’s life and legacy and ensure Henrietta Lacks’ contributions to humanity are never forgotten.
Racial Injustice and a Commitment to Be Part of the Solution
I’ve spent the last few days trying to come up with the right words to adequately express the outrage, sadness and range of other emotions I’ve felt following the death of George Floyd last week and the ensuing protests across the country. George Floyd’s death, along with others including Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, are the result of senseless brutality against black people across this country. I realize my desire to say the “right thing” has resulted in a delay in saying anything, which in and of itself has likely sent an unintended message.
I know I join many in the need to get comfortable with discomfort about not saying the right thing. Staying silent, however, is not an option. As a leader, I have a responsibility to ensure that ACS CAN continues to actively engage in conversations that are critical to addressing the issues of racial injustice that have driven health inequality in this country. We cannot shy away from tough conversations - not when lives are at stake.
Systemic racism is a public health issue and our only hope for addressing the cancer burden in a just and equitable way is to fight for public policy solutions that aim at the root causes that undermine access to care for communities of color. We must stand together and partner with individuals and organizations that have been on the front lines fighting for justice and equality and use our platform to push for change.
We are at a critical moment in time – and we cannot and will not let it be a passing moment. We are committed to figuring out the words, listening in this moment and helping with the solutions.