“COMMUNITY DAY OF HEALING AND MEMORIAL SERVICE
20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL NATIONAL APOLOGY FOR THE HISTORIC
UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE SYPHILIS STUDY AT TUSKEGEE”
Tuskegee, Alabama (March 20, 2017) – The Voices for Our Fathers Legacy Foundation (VFOFLF) and the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University will sponsor a Community Day of Healing and Memorial Service, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. CDT, April 3, 2017 at the Chisholm Community Recreational Center, located at 3031 County Road 69 in Tuskegee, Alabama. This commemoration is in honor of the sacrifices of 623 African American men from rural Macon County, Alabama who were victimized and treated as human guinea pigs in the United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study (USPHS) at Tuskegee for forty-years, from 1932-1972. The VFOFLF is the non-profit foundation founded by the descendants of the USPHS Syphilis Study.
The theme for The Community Day of Healing and Memorial Service on April 3, 2017 is “Voices Moving Forward with a Purpose and Action.” This will be the first time the entire community of Macon County will come together since the national apology was given on May 16, 1997. The Community Program, Memorial Service and Solemn Candle Light Ceremony will provide reflections, inspirations and healing offered by descendants of the syphilis study.
“This is the first descendants’ sponsored program to honor the lives of our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers and uncles who sacrificed their lives. The occasion will also serve as a reminder, this type of unethical study will never be allowed to happen again. These men without their consent, unknowingly sacrificed their health, some of them lost their lives, while others impacted their families by passing on the disease to them,” said Lillie Head, Co-Chair of the VFOFLF.
The year 2017 is the 20th Anniversary of the 1997 U.S. Presidential Apology when President William Clinton on May 16, 1997, hosted at the White House, at that time the living survivors of the study, Herman Shaw, Fred Simmons, Frederick Moss and Ernest Hendon and their families attended the White House Ceremony. Ernest Hendon was not able to travel to the White House but his brother, North Hendon represented him.
“Each year we honor the men who were in the so- called study and their families during the Month of April which is also National Minority Health. This year the Community Day of Healing will be held on April 3rd through April 7th. The annual Public Health Ethics Intensive Course
(PHEIC) which, is a component of the Annual Commemoration begins on April 4 and ends April 7th. The PHEIC is designed for the family descendants, students, local community residents, undergraduate and graduate students, health professionals, academicians, faith leaders, ethicists, researchers, and community advocates to discuss pressing ethics issues that challenges local, state, regional, national and global communities will end at 12 noon on
April 7th. From 12 noon – 2:00 p.m., the Annual National Apology Commemoration Luncheon will be held at Tuskegee University and Dr. David Satcher 16th U.S. Surgeon General, who actually asked President Clinton for the Apology, will be the keynote luncheon speaker. It is the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care’s distinct privilege and honor to collaborate with the descendants family members of the men who were in the study,” emphasized, Rueben C. Warren, DDS, MPH, DrP.H., MDIV, Professor and Director of the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University.
The Voices for Our Fathers Legacy Foundation will also pay a lasting and sustaining tribute to the legacy of the men who were in the study. The Foundation will give (6) $500.00 scholarships to under graduate and graduate student descendants this year as the VFOFLC Moves Forward, bringing forth good deeds through education. A $3000.00 Award from the Henrietta Lacks Foundation helped to provide the necessary funds for these scholarships. To be eligible for a Voices for Our Fathers Legacy Scholarship, an applicant, must be a descendant of one the participants in the United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study conducted in Macon County/Tuskegee, Alabama. Applicants must have a 3.0 average or better on a 4.0 scale, must be graduating high school senior or a student in an accredited college or university pursing a degree in health-related fields. Applicants must complete the scholarship application and present in writing a need for financial assistance. Scholarship recipients will be announced in the spring of 2017. Application deadline is March 25, 2017.
Voices for Our Fathers Legacy Foundation (VFOFLF) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization established in the Spring of 2014 at the Annual 1997 U.S. Presidential Apology Commemoration which is sponsored by the National Center of Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University. The Foundation is committed to transforming the legacy of the infamous unethical study of the United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. The VFOFLF members are descendants of the men who were in the study and supporters of the foundation.
The National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care at Tuskegee University (http://tuskegeebioethics.org/) is the only U.S. Presidential mandated bioethics center in the United States.