On Friday, the D.C. Council passed Councilmember David Catania‘s bill mandating human papillomavirus vaccinations for all female students attending 6th grade in the District. A group called Parents and Citizens Committee to Stop Medical Experimentation in D.C. vigorously opposed the bill, but the Council’s vote didn’t stop them from declaring victory. Group leader Faye Williams sent this message out to the press and others this morning:
My Beloved Sisters and Brothers,
We did it! We did it! We did it! We stopped David Catania and his rabid-dogged efforts to shoot our 6th-grade girls with the HPV-Vaccine!!! We did not successfully persuade, convince or influence all of the DC Council members to do the right thing-reject the Catania bill and protect the lives of our girls!!! However, we did cause them to pause and to acknowledge that our organizing efforts,the e-mails and the calls and the visits to their offices,forced them to not be able to do their business as usual.David Catania had every intention to introduce and pass this dangerous bill without much community input…We surprised him/them this time with our constant organizing and demands for health-justice!!!They were forced to take a second and closer look at the bill…That in itself was/is a major victory for us!!!
The HPV-Vaccine will not be a mandatory shot for our 6th-grade girls next year!!! The organized power of the people,the sensitivity and total support of three Council -members,Harry Thomas,Carol Schwartz and Kwame Brown- and the “support by-abstention” of Jim Graham forced the Council to a extended debate and revision of the Catania Bill…We were able to convince the power-brokers that to accept the Catania bill without major amendments and revisions would create even greater health, fiscal ,political and racial polarization within our city…
The HPV-Vaccine will not be given to our girls in the 2008-2009 school-year!!! Instead, the City will have a year to work with us to educate our residents about the vaccine…However,during the 2009-2010, school year, our girls will be forced to take the 500.00per-student-shots,unless their parents/guardians are able to read the health forms and choose to refuse the shot…
The struggle to defeat the HPV-Vaccine has had a profound impact on the lives of many people who chose to get involved with the efforts to reject the bill…We have witnessed the blatant racism,sexism,classism and condescension of David Catania, Mary Cheh, Jack Evans and Tommy Wells…We have witnessed the arrogance, dismissiveness and paternalism of Vincent Gray and Marion Barry…We have witnessed the insecurities and the non-professionalism of staff members as well as developed new respect for the legislative-process and some of those who help to make it happen…Most importantly,we have also created a special bond and a new determination to organize an even more powerful force to confront our elected officials about their obvious public disdain and belief that it is okay to be mean-spirited,resentful and punitive to the same folks who elected them!!!Time and time again, we were intentionally and painfully disrespected in many different ways by those who are supposed to represent us!!!
The HPV-Vaccine is a bad-thing for our girls …However, the movement to resist the HPV-Vaccine and David Catania ,has helped to create a whole new health-justice movement in this city and for that,we are grateful and excited and determined to create more and healthier health-care legislation and resources for the people of Washington,DC!!!The best is yet to come…
We could not have been victorious without the support of the black-media..We especially thank WPFW-89.3fm(tune-in on Monday at 11-00 am to get the full report),The Afro-Newspaper,The Informer, WOL-1450am,WHUR-96.3,Chris Otten for our great website-(www.nohpvshot4me.com ), Acorn,Empower DC,Save Our Schools and all of you who did your part to defeat the cantankerous Catania Bill..We thank you!!!
Stay -tuned for details about our victory party…All Is Well.
Long Live the Spirit of Resistance and Progressive Change!!!
peace and hair-grease