By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM

Karman Willmer, left, and Shelby Messenger protest against SB277, a measure requiring California schoolchildren to get vaccinated, at a Capitol rally, June 9, in Sacramento, Calif. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, would only allow children with serious health problems to opt out of school-mandated vaccinations. Photos: AP/Wide World photos

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Participants in Health Freedom rallies on the West Coast were vocal and vowing to repeal a new law mandating vaccines for all public school children. They also demanded that Congress subpoena a federal CDC whistleblower to showcase charges about a vaccine’s link to autism in Black boys.

Many mourned and questioned the sudden deaths of three alternative health doctors who treated patients with autism at rallies in Santa Monica, Huntington Beach and San Francisco.

When Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial SB277 into law June 30, he said while the law required school children be vaccinated, it explicitly provides an exception when a physician believes, in his judgment, one is warranted.


But hundreds of parents, children, doctors, and activists, who marched from the Santa Monica Pier to Santa Monica City Hall, and who met July 3 at the pier in Huntington Beach and at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco say that’s problematic.

Western Region Nation of Islam Representative Student Minister Tony Muhammad(center in red suit) and F.O.I. march during Health Freedom Rally in downtown Santa Monica. Photo: Charlene Muhammad

Judgment belongs to parents, not doctors, politicians, the government or big pharmaceutical companies who have bought them off, they told The Final Call.

They are pushing a ballot initiative to overturn the law.

It was filed on July 1 by former assemblyman Tim Donnelly.

“This bill really takes away the rights of American parents in a way that we’ve never experienced before,” said Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a world-renowned gastrointestinal surgeon and researcher.

The government is forcing parents to take the risks, but if their children are damaged, pick up the pieces alone.

The damage amounts to lifetime costs of caring for a child, misery, suffering, loss of attention to siblings, fear, sleeplessness, deprivation, and poverty that go along with having a child with a lifelong condition, Dr. Wakefield told The Final Call.

State Senators Richard Pan and Ben Allen and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalaz said they introduced the bill in an effort to keep all children safe.

The law removes personal belief exemptions for public school mandates that children be up to date for 10 specified vaccines, including measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), by the time they are enrolled in daycare, preschool, or K-12 education.

That means parents would be forced to give their children more than 40 doses of federally scheduled vaccines or homeschool them, activists said.

Andrew Wakefi eld addresses Health Freedom Rally in Santa Monica.

“We move forward. We take action. We go door-to-door.   We educate people,” said Wendy Silvers of the Million Mamas Movement, which is dedicated to empowering mothers, building healthy families and communities, and creating a culture of peace.

The task is to inform people and arm them with the truth so they can make informed, confident choices, she said.   “It’s like Brother Tony talks about, truth to power, but I believe that truth is power,” she said.

Ms. Silvers said there’s already an effort to recall Sen. Pan and a recall of Senator Holly Mitchell, who backed SB277, was expected to begin at press time.

“We need to stop saying that these people are powerful, because in the sight of God, they look like ants,” said Student Minister Tony Muhammad, also Western Region representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

He invited Health Freedom demonstrators to join the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March gathering, “Justice or Else!” in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 10, 2015.

“The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, ‘When they come after our children, they have declared a declaration of war. And we cannot sit back, not only to let them attack Black children but no children will be attacked in this day and time,” Min. Muhammad told the energetic gathering.

“When we go to D.C., we’re going to demand that Congress bring Dr. Thompson and subpoena him–not in a closed meeting–we want the meeting open,” he continued, referring to the federal whistleblower who charges the CDC has omitted information on the MMR’s vaccine’s impact on Black boys.

Kimberly McCauley, an opponent of a measure requiring nearly all California school children to be vaccinated, displays a photo of her daughter, Ella, laying in a hospital bed after she had what MCauley, says was a reaction to a vaccine, while talking to reporters after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, June 30, in Sacramento, Calif. The bill, SB277, which was in response to a measles outbreak in Disneyland last year, gives California one of the toughest vaccination laws in the country. Photos: AP/Wide World photos

Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote that he and co-authors omitted data suggesting Black males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased  risk for autism in their 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics.

“My concern has been the decision to omit relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub ­ group for a particular  vaccine. There have always been recognized risks for vaccination and I believe it is the responsibility of the CDC to properly  convey the risks associated with receipt of those vaccines,” he continued.

“Thimerosal.   This is an ingredient in this drug – vaccines – that contains mercury in a dose that begins to disturb the cells of the brain, particularly in Black males,” said Minister Farrakhan.   But Congress refuses to subpoena Dr. Thompson so he can discuss the issue under oath, he said.

Minister Farrakhan learned about the problem from Atty. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., progeny of the famous Kennedy family and the son of U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy Sr. and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy brought his concerns to Minister Farrakhan through Min. Muhammad, who, along with Rizza Islam X, Dr. Brian Hooker (Focus Autism Foundation), Michelle Ford (Vaccine Injury Awareness League) and others visited Minister Farrakhan at his home and gave the details of how Mr. Kennedy had tried to sound the alarm throughout the Black community to no avail.

“Some of us are afraid, but Mr. Kennedy found his way to our door,” Minister Farrakhan said during a June 17 meeting with community leaders at Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.

Min. Farrakhan applauded Minister Muhammad for already taking up the fight and noted, “My fight is so much broader than a vaccine. This whole governmental apparatus has to be taken down!”

Questions about public interest

A hush fell over the sanctuary as Minister Farrakhan began to call the names of those politicians who either co-authored or backed SB277.

“So the Honorable, Dishonorable–and we’ll call them dishonorable until they rise up … . The only honorable one on the list is Autumn Burke, because she abstained from voting on the bill when it passed in the Health Committee,” he stated.

“If you want revolution you got it,” Min. Farrakhan declared. He told listeners if the state forced parents to vaccinate their children against their will, parents should pull their children out of schools.

Min. Farrakhan continued, if “these dishonorable members of the legislature” approve the mandatory law, they must be held accountable.

Despite the revelation from Dr. Thompson, more data from Dr. Hooker, and pleas from their constituents to wait to hear from Dr. Thompson before voting for SB277, the bill passed in the California Assembly 46 to 31.

Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Jr. (chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus), who co-authored SB277 reiterated some Black lawmakers’ support for the bill in a June 18 press release. “We feel that SB277 was thoroughly vetted and stand by the positions of our individual members on the measure,” he said.

Assemblymember Jim Cooper, who also co-authored the bill, tried to refute Dr. Thompson’s information.

“There is no scientific evidence to suggest that Black children are at a higher risk for autism due to vaccines,” Mr. Cooper argued.

Black organizations, including the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the California State Conference of the NAACP, and the California Black Health Network, supported mandatory vaccines, he said.

Assemblymember Cheryl Brown called the bill unnecessary and opposed it. “Over 90 percent of the students in California are vaccinated and the number of personal belief exemptions have decreased,” she said.

According to a June 18 article in the Sacramento Bee, drug companies have donated millions to state lawmakers, including more than $2 million to current members of the Legislature in 2013-2014 and more than $95,000 to Sen. Pan, the top recipient of industry campaign cash, who carried the vaccine bill, according to Jim Miller.

Autism and Black boys

“I’ve found the science that says that African Americans not only may be but are more susceptible to vaccine injury and they also have an increased susceptibility to neurological disorders such as autism,” said Dr. Hooker, who said his son was vaccine-injured.

The most reliable study shows autism incidents are higher in Blacks as compared to Caucasians, Dr. Hooker noted.   He cited a 2010 paper published in PLOS ONE, a peer review journal, which studied autism incidents in Black and White communities nationwide.

“It found that within the Black community, autism incidents were 25 percent higher than in Caucasians,” Dr. Hooker said.   He wants populations vulnerable to vaccine injury to be identified and protected.

“You don’t call somebody that advocates for safe automobiles anti-car. Similarly, it’s ridiculous to call somebody who advocates for safer vaccines, more effective vaccines, and to protect children, to ever call them anti-vaccine,” Dr. Hooker said.

A remedy is to pull the safety net completely from the CDC and Health and Human Services, and place the responsibility for vaccine safety with an entity that is independent of government and pharmaceutical company influence, said Dr. Wakefield.

Sudden deaths among doctors and questions

News that Gov. Brown had signed SB277 into law within 24 hours after it passed the Assembly and Senate disappointed and saddened many.

But more shocking and tragic were the untimely deaths of three alternative doctors in the safe vaccine movement.

Robert Kennedy, Jr., son of former U.S. Attorney Gen. Robert Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, speaks against a measure requiring California schoolchildren to get vaccinated, during a rally at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., April 8. Photos: AP/Wide World photos

On June 19, Dr. Jeffrey Bradstreet, an autism researcher considered as a hero for treating patients infected with mercury toxicity by many, was pulled by a fisherman from a North Carolina river with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, according to deputies.

His family established an online fundraising site to launch an investigation into whether there was foul play associated with his death. According to Gwinnet Daily Post, Dr. Bradstreet’s Wellness Center was raided by federal agents days just before his death.

Dr. Bradstreet was also called a conspiracy theorist for using methods shunned by the mainstream medical industry.

Dr. Wakefield was a friend who knew Dr. Bradstreet very well, he said. “I saw him a few weeks ago. He did not look like a man who was about to end his life. He was full of enthusiasm, full of optimism. He was moving forward.   I do not believe that Dr. Jeffrey Bradstreet committed suicide,” Dr. Wakefield said.

On Father’s Day, June 21, Dr. Bruce Hedendal, also from Florida, was found dead in his car. According to reports, his car wasn’t running, and no explanation as to what exactly happened has been given.

“To make matters even more suspicious, both doctors have had run-ins with the feds due to their unconventional treatments, which had been known to help people,” noted

Similarly, family and friends are mourning the deaths of Dr. Teresa Sievers, found dead in her Florida home on June 29.   According to reports, police confirmed she was the victim of a homicide, but no motive or cause of death had been revealed at press time.

Dr. Sievers was the third alternative health doctor found dead in a span of two weeks.

“It may well be that someone is trying to send a message.   Do I fear what will happen to me? It crosses my mind sometimes, but the truth is, I live a blessed life. I’ve been involved in this work, and I’ve loved working with these families, and this is not an issue that–I’m not going to walk away from this,” vowed Dr. Wakefield.

“It’s not going to change a thing that I do or the way in which I do it or the things that I say. In fact, it sharpens my focus, and when I stand alongside someone like Brother Tony Muhammad and I listen to him, then I realize that actually fear is our worst enemy,” he told The Final Call.

“I’m not about to quit on this, so if I die under suspicious circumstances, it was not me who did it, okay,” he added.

“I feel like I’m watching a spy thriller,” Ms. Silvers said.   “What’s so interesting about all this is that initially, when this first happened, there were a lot of people saying no! This is impossible. Then all of a sudden, toward the middle of these past five months, people were saying, ‘Oh,   wait, what if they’re right?’ ”

Personal battles

Activists like attorney George Fatheree argue lawmakers rushed to pass harmful legislation. He advocates for students’ rights and the rights of students with disabilities, like his son who’s had an adverse vaccine reaction.

“I’m really just a concerned dad,” he said.

His first-born son was born a perfectly healthy, joyful, intelligent baby boy, who for the first few months of his life was developing at a normal, if not accelerated pace, he said.

“Until we took him in at his five-month birthday to get his scheduled dose of vaccines,” Atty. Fatheree sighed and said. He and his wife, first time parents, were conscientious about not missing pediatrician appointments.

That night their son had a fever of 104 degrees. “He screamed for hours uncontrollably, and he vomited. He finally collapsed,” Atty. Fatheree recalled.

His son had never been sick before but shortly after being vaccinated the child started having seizures.

Time passed, his son’s condition leveled off and got a bit better, until his doctor’s visit at seven months, Atty.   Fatheree said. According to the advocate, he and his wife discussed their desire to wait until the child was a year or older for another vaccine, but their pediatrician disagreed, pressured the couple. The doctor said there was absolutely no connection between their son’s epilepsy, his seizures, fever, and the vaccines given, said Mr. Fatheree.

Reluctantly, they followed her guidance and let their child be vaccinated. “It’s a decision that we both will live to regret for the rest of our lives,” Atty. Fatheree said. His son’s seizures came back with a vengeance. His body and mind entered into a state of perpetual epilepsy and seizures, and the child had seizures for 45 minutes before collapsing in exhaustion.

“That was the last time we heard his voice for several years. When he finally woke up he had lost the ability to respond to sound. He would have over 100 seizures a day.   His mental development severely and dramatically regressed, and that’s basically been how he’s lived for the past 13 years,” Atty. Fatheree said.

National implications

At press time, politicians in 11 other states–Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Washington–had filed legislation to eliminate non-medical vaccine exemptions, said Heather Allgood of Our Kids Our Choice, a grassroots organization for medical freedom and opposed to medical mandates like SB277.

There are also 128 similar proposed bills to SB277 running through the country and a national bill that people should pay attention to, she said.

HR 2232, introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson of Florida, would make it mandatory that students in public schools get vaccinated in order for states to receive preventive health services grants.

“We want people to understand that vaccines are unavoidably unsafe, as deemed by the Supreme Court. Vaccines are like medicines; there can’t be a one-size-fits-all plan. And many children have adverse reactions to these vaccines, with some resulting in death. If there is a risk, there must be a choice,” Ms. Allgood said.