Barbara Brenner, Pioneering Activist Reminded Us To ‘Think Before You Pink’

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FEATURING SUSIE LAMPERT – October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you didn’t know this, the plethora of pink-tinged products in store aisles might clue you in. The symbol of the “pink ribbon,” now synonymous with the fight against Breast Cancer, also makes an oversize appearance every October, so much so that some refer to this month as “Pinktober.” We’re all supposed to embrace these symbols, particularly because of the horrifically high death toll of American women from breast cancer. But the so-called “Race for the Cure” has been going on for so long with nary a cure in sight, that one might wonder where all the money that is supposedly being raised is going.

One breast cancer activist who asked these questions years before anyone else did was Barbara Brenner. The organization she headed, Breast Cancer Action, based in San Francisco was a pioneer in popularizing the phrase “Think Before You Pink.” Brenner was a hell-raiser, often a thorn in the side of establishment figures in the breast cancer industry. She was also one of the most passionate fighters for the rights of women with breast cancer.

Barbara Brenner died in 2013. A new book, So Much To Be Done, is a collection of her writings edited by Barbara Sjoholm with an afterword by Anne Lamott.

Find more information at www.bcaction.org.

Susie Lampert, Barbara Brenner’s partner.