Sonny Lacks to Speak at BCCC


David“Sonny” Lacks, Son of Henrietta Lacks, and Victoria Baptiste, Great-Granddaughter, to Discuss Lacks Family Story at BCCC Authors Series Event, Wednesday, April 17

     BALTIMORE – David “Sonny” Lacks, son of the late Baltimorean Henrietta Lacks and a nationally sought-after speaker who has shared his family story with college and university audiences across the country, will speak this coming Wednesday from noon-2 p.m. at Baltimore City Community College. He will be joined by family member and BCCC Nursing student Victoria Baptiste, great-granddaughter of Lacks who frequently shares the stage with him. Their talk will take place in the Liberty campus Fine Arts Theatre located adjacent to the back parking lot, 2901 Liberty Heights Ave.
     Mr. Lacks and Ms. Baptiste will discuss the issues surrounding the immortalized HeLa cell line taken from Lacks without her permission in 1951 as she sought treatment for cervical cancer. In addition to the enormous medical and scientific advances made possible by that line, including the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization, Mr. Lacks and Ms. Baptiste will explain how their family was forever changed by Mrs. Lacks’s experience.


     Throughout their talks, Mr. Lacks and Ms. Baptiste provide audiences sincere first-person perspectives on the collision between ethics, race, and the commercialization of human tissue. Despite the inequities of HeLa cell commodification, which helped biotech companies make millions while members of their own family often could not afford to see a doctor, their message is positive, optimistic, and celebratory of Henrietta Lacks’s life and legacy.


    For more information, contact the BCCC Institutional Advancement office or Virgie Williams, assistant librarian, at 410-462-8225.
For Immediate Release:
April 12, 2013
Contact: Bill Fleming