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“Vax Daddy” Crashes BIC’s 2021 Graduation Party

By BIC CCNY Posted on 07/01/2021 17:55

"When you see a problem, don't be afraid to do something about it." - Huge Ma aka "Vax Daddy"

A big #BICster thanks to Huge Ma, AKA “Vax Daddy,” @TurboVax for being a surprise guest at the BIC Class of 2021 graduation party on Friday, June 4th. He was invited to address our grads because, as BICster Paul Bernabe commented afterwards: “He’s a real New York hero.” In the face of the pandemic, he used his skills to innovate and make the world a better place. In that way, Huge is a lot like a BICster.
More specifically, as the creator of TurboVax, Huge designed a tool that has helped (in his estimate) hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers find vaccination centers and schedule appointments. By taking initiative, he was able to transform vaccines in a vial into actual vaccinations in arms. So what words of wisdom did he impart to the BIC Class of 2021? Here’s most of his inspiring speech.

When you see a problem, don't be afraid to do something about it. I made a bot that changed how New Yorkers got the vaccine. This was something that any other software engineer could have done. But don't assume that anyone else has the same idea. You will never know where the idea will take you. 

Next, be resourceful. You got lots of ideas. You don't need to reinvent the wheel to make it come to life. The bot that I built Turbo Vax was built on Google docs and on Twitter. There's so much power in our platforms today and I think we can use them to do more with less. 

Lastly, just be true to yourself. In February, during the height of the vaccine chaos, I decided to take down Turbo Vax to protest anti-Asian racism. It was a difficult decision. There was risk in politicizing this very useful tool. But in the end, I just followed my gut and spoke out because I think it was the right thing to do. So you never know when the spotlight will come to you and when it does, make sure you take that opportunity and use it for good.

Finally, I'm sure that many of you had a very difficult year. You have pushed through all these difficult times to get to where you are today graduating as part of Class 2021. So, congrats to all of you, future branding mavens and creators! I’m so proud of everyone. You can do amazing things! 

Oh... and get vaccinated!
Bravo to you, Huge! And thanks for being a part of our celebration. To read more about Huge’s vaccine efforts during the pandemic, read this article from New York Magazine’s The Cut here.

Photograph by Stephanie Mei-Ling

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