Powerful Speech at Vaccine Hesitancy Panel Draws Standing Ovation

The California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA) brought together an impressive lineup of presenters to discuss COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy during its annual Round Up of Educational Leaders in September. 

One of the speakers, philanthropist and educator Lillie Tyson Head, brought the crowd to their feet with a speech that drew on her very personal connection to a painful chapter of history. 

“My presence here is paying homage to the sacrifices and the memories of the 623 plus African American men who were grievously wronged by the U.S. Public Health Service syphilis (USPS) experiment at Tuskegee and Macon County Alabama 1932–1972,” said Tyson Head. “My father, Freddie Lee Tyson, was one of them.”

In her speech, Ms. Tyson Head drew a sharp contrast between this historic injustice and the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“The study should not be considered as a reason to hesitate or not to get vaccinated. There is no comparison. The fact of it is that these men were denied treatment,” said Tyson Head. “How fortunate and blessed we are to know about the types of COVID vaccines that are available today. Why then should we deny ourselves from getting vaccinated?”

Read more about the CAAASA conference


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