18th Annual Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch Emphasized Importance of Self-Care

Over 100 attendees, including women of color cancer survivors and their supporters, volunteers, performers, and Fenway staff, came together on October 22 for the 18th Annual Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch. The theme of this year’s event – “Self-Care: I Am My Best Work” – was inspired by Audre Lorde’s famous quote: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

The importance of self-care for survivors was highlighted throughout the event, at which attendees were offered free stress reduction coloring books that included resources for cancer survivors of color, yoga poses, meditation instructions, and more. Self-care items were also given out during a raffle, which included prizes such as in-home massages, yoga classes, and hair salon gift certificates. The attendees also had access to resource tables from the LGBT Aging Project, LGBT Elders of Color, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, Cancer Care Center at Boston Medical Center, and Facing Cancer Together.

Ashley Rose Salomon was the emcee for the brunch, while Sirad Abdilahi, a yoga instructor, opened and closed the program with meditation. The Uprising Dance Theatre got attendees on their feet with an interactive dance session, followed by a spoken word performance by community members Ashley, Charmaine Santiago, and Musu-kulla Massaquoi.

Lula Christopher, one of the founders of the brunch, led attendees in honoring those who have passed during a remembrance ceremony. Devin Ferreira, who wrote and performed the Boston Marathon-inspired song “Unstoppable,” delighted all with his live saxophone and rap performances.

Each year the brunch honors two community members who embody Audre Lorde’s strength and vision. This year’s recipient of the Spirit of Fire Award was Lola Tom, who serves as the Director of Asian Program and Community Development at Good Shepherd Community Care and manages its Asian hospice and palliative care programs. This year’s Trailblazer awardee was Cecilia Flores, who was honored for her work as part of the Racism and Health Training Team at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center.

“This is my first time here,” said one attendee. “Thanks to a good friend my experience is joyful and I have many more to come. It’s good to be alive.”

A long time Audre Lorde Brunch attendee said, “This year’s brunch was fantastic. The best ever. Deeply spiritual. The brunch was organic and intentional performance and celebration.”

We’d like to thank everyone who joined us for the 18th Annual Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch, and all the organizers, speakers, entertainers, and community members who helped make it possible. We hope to see you all next year!

Click here for photos from this year’s event.

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