It’s no secret that I believe writing can change the world. In fact, I did a whole TEDxTalk on the idea. But sometimes writing doesn’t feel like enough.
When I was in active treatment for breast cancer, I kept saying how lucky I was because I had health insurance and because I was getting such wonderful care from my medical team.
I felt lucky because in 2020, thirty million people were uninsured, and about half of those were people of color, according to the Brookings Institution. I felt lucky because both anecdotal evidence and published studies reveal that many medical professionals don’t take Black people’s pain seriously. The staggering Black maternal mortality rates show that this type of implicit bias can be deadly. Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.
I felt lucky and then I got angry! I shouldn’t feel lucky! Affordable health care and being listened to and taken seriously by your doctors should be the norm for everyone! I’ve written stories about the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act and the CDC’s Hear Her campaign, which both seek to address the maternal health crisis in America. But I wanted to do more and I wanted to do something specifically for young women of color affected by breast cancer.
So, I applied for Tigerlily Foundation’s ANGEL Advocacy program. Tigerlily Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides education, awareness, advocacy, and hands-on support to young women affected by breast cancer — with a focus on young women of color. And the ANGEL program offers training on how to be a more effective breast cancer advocate. After being accepted into the program, I also signed on to help recruit more participants. We’re looking for women ages 21-50 who have been affected by breast cancer (either as a cancer patient or as a family member of a cancer patient) who want to learn more about advocacy.
This is a volunteer program, but ANGEL advocates can be offered paid speaking opportunities and more. The time commitment is totally up to you. After your training, you can pick and choose which activities you participate in.
You can learn more about the program here. And you can apply to join here. Be sure to type “Javacia Bowser” in that “Referred by” field!
If you know someone who’d be a good fit, send them this post!