It's 2017 And We Still Don't Receive The Recognition We Deserve
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Politics and Activism

It's 2017 And We Still Don't Receive The Recognition We Deserve

Black girl magic has been a thing for years!

It's 2017 And We Still Don't Receive The Recognition We Deserve

Since we were kids, we’ve grown up hearing about super hero’s and immortals with fantastic powers. People who had the ability to save lives and the world, all the while maintaining a normal life. Clark Kent as Superman, Bruce Wayne as Batman and Tony Stark as Iron Man. We allow our imaginations to wonder and think about what if we had powers or the ability to save lives or cure diseases? What would it be like to have one-day job that pays the bills, and a job that labeled as a hero?

Well what if you were a hero and cured diseases and saved many lives, but nobody knew? What if it was you who had the ability to save thousands of people, so you did. Yet, nobody knew your name, and someone else took that credit? What if I told you, this really did happen? There was once a woman, yes a woman who saved many lives with her “superpowers”. Powers that we call cells, blood cells.

If you know anything about cells, you know that we lose cells all the time, and they have a short life span. However a sick patient came in, and she was discovered to have cells that were far more durable. Imagine a scientist who came across a formula that was going to change the face of science! He was going to cure diseases and create vaccines. He would become a hero, his name would become well known. Instead of the young lady who lost her battle to cancer, a lab researcher stole and violated from her. She was snatched from her opportunity to make history, to be known in the scientific world.

What’s her name? Who is she? More importantly why don’t we know anything about her? Her name is Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951. She became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and yet

her family can’t afford health insurance.

Could you imagine being dead for so long, yet a part of you is still alive. No, not in “keeping the memory alive” terms, but actually alive. Living, breathing cells, being used over and over. To learn about the abuse of power and flat out disrespect with those involved with the taking of HeLa is appalling right? Still, why isn’t she known worldwide? Is because she was a black woman? Would that cause an uproar? Would people have a hernia if they knew it was black woman who contributed to major changes in science? It took almost 20 years after her death before her family learned the truth. It wasn’t until 2010 did Johns Hopkins release a statement admitting their involvement with the HeLa cells.

Not all heroes receive their recognition. Using Superman and Batman as examples: Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne are not seen as heroes. They are simply the men in the capes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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