Ethics is the focus for student panel at One Book event


Kevin Frodahl

The three-student panel and professor Maureen Moore discuss the nature of ethics for the SpeakOut! event in the bookstore on March 20.

*Story was updated on March 29th, 2013*

Students were invited to the Hawks Nest Bookstore at Cosumnes River College March 20, to participate in the One Book: Speak out! event, and take part in a discussion of the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

The discussion focused on prepared questions provided on the CRC website, but those in attendance were encouraged to ask their own questions and contribute thoughts on the issues raised in the book. The event was hosted by humanities Professor Maureen Moore and featured a panel of three students that had written answers for discussion questions beforehand.

“We got into talking about the ethical dimension of the choices that were made by the doctors, that seemed to be the bulk of our discussion today,” Moore said. “We also talked a little bit about racism and the implications of racism on the individual we call Henrietta Lacks, and her life.”

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks covers the life of Henrietta Lacks, a cancer patient who had samples of cancerous tissues removed from her body and used for medical study without her informed consent. Though the samples have gone on to save many lives, even to this day, the way they were procured raises ethical questions, which, as demonstrated by the event, also prevail to this day.

Those in attendance found the event to be enlightening.

“It opened my eyes a lot more, as to how it is now and how it was back then,” said Elyza Serrano, a 20-year-old undeclared major. “This is a good interaction with the school community, getting to know your peers and their views on things, it’s very eye opening stuff.”

Kru Davidson, a 27-year-old radio production major, also enjoyed the event and recommended the book to those that hadn’t read it.

“It’s opened up a whole new world, a lot of people think that people of color have no place in medicine, or have no accomplishments or achievements there,” Davidson said. “This book just goes to show that we are relevant, and we are relevant to the advancement of medicine, cancer research in particular. It’s really empowering to hear a story like this.”

Moore encouraged students to come to the future One Book event in which David “Sonny” Lacks, the son of Henrietta Lacks, will speak and answer questions from the students and faculty of CRC. The event, titled “A conversation with Sonny Lacks” will be held May 2 in the CRC recital hall at 10:30 a.m, and will feature another family member as a special guest.

“We’re hoping that this is our culminating event for this year,” Moore said. “And we’re hoping to use this conversation with Sonny Lacks as a keystone or the touchstone, the finale for the events.”