Rename JHU's new Bio-Tech Park Henrietta Lacks Park !
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Johns Hopkins became a founding board member of EBDI ( East Baltimore Development, Inc), toward applying eminent domain on approximately 900 black homeowners, renters and businesses adjacent to the hospital, so the development project could involuntarily "dis-locate" lifetime residents to make way for Hopkins' new East Baltimore Biotech Park.
Many of us who were born, raised and lived in this East Baltimore neighborhood, formerly known as Middle East, for years resisted the systematic civic and government disinvestment that positioned our community to be dubbed " Zombieland," by local media, and low hanging fruit for wholesale gentrification toward transforming the area to house JHU's- BIO-Tech Park.
Interestingly, this is a neighborhood ,just beyond the hospital's emergency room, in which mother's warned their children not to walk on the hospital's side of the street when leaving the near by library or neighborhood stores late at night. These families lived with stories of Hopkins' practicing" body-snatchers" for research projects.
When the Henrietta Lacks' book was published, Henrietta's son David " Sonny" Lacks gifted the East Baltimore Historical Library, with a case of soft back books to donate and distribute freely to residents who were being forced to leave the neighborhood--to make room for Hopkins' Bio-Tech Park. He wanted to make sure that some of those families read about The Immortal Cells and would come to know about his mother--Henrietta Lacks. And, her sacrifice toward bio-science research's evolvement .
Especially, since we had to lose our homes and businesses to make way for Hopkins Biotech Park. * How ironic.
Why, because he grew up in East Baltimore and knew the stories of why black folk refused to walk pass the hospital late at night. David use to joke about that neighborhood North of the hospital and the stories those families shared, would make his mother "the poster-child" for what these, mostly poor black families, feared about Hopkins/research IF they knew Henrietta Lacks', now, documented story.
Over ten ( 10) years, ago, City Paper published an article entitled, " A Bitter Pill, " which shared stories of families being moved out of the neighborhood and public meetings we participated in.
It was in one of those public meetings, that residents demanded that Hopkins name the new community--- they were determined to develop Henrietta Lacks Park !
Sadly, we had to leave our beloved neighborhood, with promises from Hopkins and EBDI that we would later benefit from the redevelopment of the area. To date, most of the promises they made have not been attempted to be carried out.
As usual, our requests fell on Deaf ears...we hope that now, that the HBO movie is out and more folks know Henrietta Lacks' Story, and even though most of our families have been moved from the area, that citizens will sign this petition and encourage the mayor of Baltimore Catherine Pugh to lend her influence to get Johns Hopkins to DO the Right Thing----name their new biotech park after Henrietta Lacks.
East Baltimore Historical Library, Inc really needs your help with this petition drive. Eastbaltimore101@gmail.com
WE NEED YOUR SIGNATURE...to MAKE IT HAPPEN ! Namaste
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