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Black Women’s Health Imperative and Penguin ClassicsBlack Women’s Health Imperative and Penguin Classics


Forty years ago Audre Lorde first published her groundbreaking book The Cancer Journals, moving between journal entry, memoir, and exposition to fuse the personal and political as she reflected on her experience coping with breast cancer and a radical mastectomy. Today—four decades later—Black women still have the highest breast cancer death rate of all racial and ethnic groups, and are 42 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.[1] This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re shining a spotlight on Black Women’s Health Imperative, an organization that’s working to close this gap by supporting health and wellness initiatives for Black women. Read on to learn more about their mission and programs. If you’re able, we encourage you to join us in making a donation to support their work.

Black Women’s Health Imperative Mission Statement

Black Women’s Health Imperative’s mission is to lead the effort to solve the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls in the U.S. Through investments in evidence-based strategies, they deliver bold new programs and advocate health-promoting policies.

Policy and Advocacy Work 

Black Women’s Health Imperative’s policy and advocacy team evaluates and develops national and state policies to hold elected officials accountable for addressing issues most critical to Black women’s health, especially regarding: breast and cervical cancers, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, intimate partner violence and sexual assault, maternal health and reproductive health. They are also leading the effort to create the first National Health Policy Agenda for Black women. For more about their work click here.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: The P.O.W.E.R. of Sure

Do you have the P.O.W.E.R. Of Sure? This Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time for you to take an active role in your personal health journey by scheduling a mammogram today. Black Women’s Health Imperative is excited to team up with the platinum recording artist Mary J. Blige, Hologic and Rad-Aid to deliver this important message about the power of early detection and taking care of you. Watch more about Mary’s journey and visit to schedule your mammogram today!


The inequalities in our country are far-reaching and the healthcare system is not immune. Join Black Women’s Health Imperative in the fight to ensure that women receive fair, balanced, and comprehensive care. Penguin Random House has made a $5,000 donation and will be matching employee contributions.


The Cancer Journals

The idea for this partnership was inspired by the publication of Penguin Classics’ new edition of Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals, a startling, powerful account of Lorde’s experience with breast cancer and mastectomy, now with a foreword by US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Poetic and profoundly feminist, Lorde’s testament gives visibility and strength to women with cancer to define themselves, and to transform their silence into language and action. Learn more here.



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