By Krystal Redman, Executive Director

I am halfway through my first year as Executive Director at BCAction and looking forward to what the future has in store! I want to take a moment to share some updates with you, which includes upcoming work and recent accomplishments to celebrate. Thank you for your continued support as one of our most important champions.

In May 2021, we started our strategic planning process and are thinking critically about how we center health justice. Integral to this process is creating a leadership model that is actively anti-racist, evaluates how capitalism shows up in our policies, and centers peoples’ experiences in every step of our work.

We’ll be asking ourselves some difficult questions, including: How can we get real about being intersectional? How do we best center those who reside deep within the margins and who have the furthest relationships to power? How do we ensure that we are looking at the whole person: their experiences, the interconnecting systems that influence their lives, and their ability to thrive? How do we balance our tireless work to dismantle barriers to equitable healthcare while prioritizing sustainability and self-care?

But we have never shied away from the hard truths, not when we are holding the breast cancer industry accountable, and not when we are examining our own work. And even as we take this necessary time for refection and visioning, our daily work to drive forward systemic change continues.

In June 2021, BCAction was chosen by the California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP) to be the convener for a major multi-organizational research project that aims to understand how multiple and complex factors influence breast cancer risk across generations of immigrant women, and how these factors are intersectional. This incredible opportunity provides funding to foster collaborations across three CBCRP-funded teams to: ensure that community voices and input are incorporated into the research process by engaging impacted immigrant communities and other stakeholders, and to mobilize our broad network of California-based community organizations.

This is one of our biggest-ever grants, and we were selected for this role of convener because we bring together evidence-based scientific expertise and the lived experiences of people with breast cancer.

More information on this exciting opportunity is coming soon.

Another important update from our work this year comes form the national stage. Our Think Before You Pink® campaign to push the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on environmental exposures related to breast cancer has had a huge impact on the agency. When the NCI responded to our request and recommendations last fall, their “revisions” to their materials still downplayed the risk of environmental exposures. But our watchdog work is fearless and unflinching! Working with our core scientific partners and members like you, we’ve kept the pressure on the NCI to expand their approach to reflect true primary prevention. After a conversation in August with BCAction and our partners at the Silent Spring Institute, the NCI acknowledged the downstream effect that their limited approach has on the fields of breast cancer and public health. We will now work to ensure the NCI implements these changes. Check out the letter that started the discussions with the agency. And, of course, thank you for taking action last year.

Finally, our upcoming work. Next week we will launch our newly redesigned website that will better reflect our strengthened values. Be sure to check it out! Also our staff and board are busy planning our industry-disrupting 2021 Think Before You Pink® campaign. Please keep an eye our for ways you can get involved, and save the date for our virtual event on Tuesday, October 12. It will include dynamic speakers, an update about Think Before You Pink® and an opportunity to take action together. And if you haven’t already, follow us on Instagram! We launched our Instagram account this Spring, and our community is growing fast.

As a grassroots, people-powered organization, most of our funding comes from you. Thank you for your commitment to addressing and ending the breast cancer crisis. I look forward to the necessary, lasting, and systemic changes we will make together.