20 Years of Community, Celebration, and Growth: 20th Annual Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch

The Women’s Health Team at Fenway is excited to announce the 20th Annual Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch on Saturday, October 20, 10am-1pm at the NonProfit Center, 2nd Floor, 89 South Street, Boston, MA. The event is a celebration of women of color and their supporters whose lives have been affected by cancer. Started in 1999, the Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch is named in memory of Audre Lorde, a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing the injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia. You can RSVP for the event via Eventbrite.

Hands in the Air. Date Unknown.



The theme for this year’s event is “20 Years of Community, Celebration, and Growth” to mark the momentous occasion for women of color to gather in community, celebrate their lives, and commemorate the history of the event. Denise Bentley, a former Fenway Health employee, founded the event 20 years ago in honor of her late wife Lorraine “Faye” Fayette Johnson. She created a space to honor two warrior women who battled breast cancer: her wife and Audre Lorde. Denise recognized that cancer uniquely affects women of color and the LGBTQ community and established a venue to discuss these health disparities, build community, and celebrate life. You can learn more about the history and community resources on the event website.

“I wanted a program in place that not only provided health education and resources; but also supported women to learn how to build community that meets their own individual needs.” –Denise Bentley

Denise Bentley (left), Founder of the Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch, accepting an award from Bonnie McFarlane (right). 2012.



Simmons College hosted the event for the first 10 years before Fenway Health moved to the 1340 Boylston Street location in 2009. From 2010 to 2018, the Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch took place on the 10th floor of Fenway Health with the view of Fenway Park. For the 20th Anniversary, the new location will be The NonProfit Center, 2nd Floor, 89 South Street, Boston, MA. Situated near South Station, the center is more accessible to communities of color by the red, green, orange, and silver lines with more space to celebrate the momentous occasion.

Here, the event will feature a musical performance by Zili Misik, an interactive drumming session from Genki Spark, a storytelling workshop by Red Sage Stories, health education sessions, raffle items, and more. This year’s recipients of the Audre Lorde Trailblazer and Spirit of Fire Awards are Erin Epps of Fenway Health and Dianne Austin of Coils to Locs. Cultivate: Queer Healing Lab by janhavi madabushi and Kamaria Weems Carrington will receive the Judy Bradford Community Grant to create healing spaces for queer and transgender people of color. At the brunch, the community will also have access to resource tables from the YMCA, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Cancer Care Center at Boston Medical Center, and Facing Cancer Together. We can’t wait to see you there.

Through the Years: Audre Lorde Cancer Awareness Brunch

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