Skip to Content

University Events

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" Common Reading Program

October 18, 2012
7:00 PM
Location: Campus Recreation Center
  • Open to the Public
  • RSVP Required
  • Registration Required

This event is open to the public, but due to high demand for seating and space limitations, some attendees may be directed to satellite locations to watch via live video feed. While there is no cost, a ticket is required for entry. Please call (401) 254-3210 to reserve a ticket.

David “Sonny” Lacks has captivated audiences across the country talking about his mother Henrietta Lacks and her important contribution to science. The international success of this New York Times bestseller has left people keenly interested in the Lacks Family and Henrietta’s legacy.

In his appearances, Sonny shares with audiences what it meant to find out – decades after the fact – that his mother’s cells were being used in laboratories around the world, bought and sold by the billions. Sonny’s visits put a personal face to big issues such as the dark history of experimentation on African Americans and the birth of bioethics, as well as the legal battles over “informed consent” and whether we control the stuff we’re made of and should share in the profits.

Henrietta’s family didn’t learn that the cells existed until the 1970s when scientists wanted to do research on her children to learn more about the remarkable “immortality” of Henrietta’s cell line. Her children were then used in research without their consent and without any benefit from the commercialization of HeLa cells.

Despite what the Lacks Family has endured, they are proud to honor the memory of Henrietta and her unparalleled contributions to science. Their message is positive, optimistic, and above all celebrates Henrietta’s life and legacy.

Sonny’s visits give audiences a sincere first-person perspective on the collision between ethics, race and the commercialization of human tissue, and how the experience changed the Lacks family forever.

This event is open to the public, but due to high demand for seating and space limitations, some attendees may be directed to satellite locations to watch via live video feed. While there is no cost, a ticket is required for entry. Please call (401) 254-3210 to reserve a ticket.