Sisters Network® Inc celebrates 3 decades leading Black breast cancer movement
Written by Vibe Houston Staff on February 11, 2024
In celebration of its 30 years as the pioneer and the leading, black-led national organization dedicated to the black breast cancer crisis movement, Sisters Network® Inc. (SNI) will host a series of special programs and events with the goal of educating, empowering, and celebrating the sisterhood the organization has provided for Black women in the United States.
In honor of the 30-year milestone and anniversary theme, “Loving Our Sisters for 30 Years,” the organization will kick off its first event with a free virtual forum, “Loving Our Sisters: A Candid Talk About Black Women and Breast Cancer,” on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (CST), featuring special breast cancer survivor guest panelists including Sara Sidner, CNN Anchor and Senior National & International Correspondent and Athena Jones, CNN National Correspondent. The insightful discussion will be led by Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH, FAC, Chief of Division of Breast Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian Hospital Network.
To register, visit www.sistersnetworkinc.org. The free virtual forum is exclusively supported by Lilly. National Strategic partners include Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations during 2024, the organization will launch a new website in early spring, host a 30 for 30 fundraiser, “Pretty In Pink 30th Anniversary Luncheon “on Saturday, Oct. 5, and have a special surprise during the National Black Breast Cancer Summit on October 4-6 in Houston.
“As we celebrate 30 years, I am inspired by the courage and resilience of the countless Black women we’ve supported through their battle with breast cancer,” said Karen E. Jackson, Founder/CEO, Sisters Network® Inc. “We are very proud that Sisters Network Inc. has remained true to our mission for three decades, continue to provide a steadfast support system for thousands of breast cancer, offer impactful breast health education programs and outreach, sustain our operations to serve and advocate for Black women and continue to expand our national footprint with our organizations unique survivor-run affiliate chapter since 1994.”\Jackson continued:
“For Black women, the sisterhood our organization provides is not just a bond, but also a lifeline in their breast cancer survivorship journey. I am confident that Sisters Network Inc. will continue to stand tall as an organization of hope, strength, and a catalyst for change to support Black women nationwide. Most importantly, we will continue raise awareness, empower and educate Black women about the importance of early detection, advocate for health equity, eliminate barriers and increase access to quality care for all women.”
Black women are 42% more likely to die of breast cancer as compared to white women. In addition, Black women under age 35 are diagnosed at two times the rate as white women and more likely die at three times the rate.
“Our Loving Our Sisters: A Candid Talk About Black Women and Breast Cancer” virtual forum is critical conversation needed now more than ever,” Jackson stressed. “Our sisters are facing alarming challenges, and it’s imperative that we amplify their voices and experiences. Let’s come together, honor our sisters, and ignite the flames of change. Together, we can break through the silence and shame that too often surrounds breast cancer in the black community.”
Founded in 1994 by Jackson, a four-time, 31-year breast cancer survivor, Sisters Network® Inc. was born out of a profound need for a space where Black women could feel heard, educated, supported, and embraced by a real sisterhood. Jackson’s vision emerged from her own journey battling breast cancer in 1993, when she witnessed the glaring lack of support and education in the Black community, and an absence of culturally sensitive resources despite the alarming breast cancer mortality rate haunting Black women.
Today, Sisters Network® Inc stands tall as the largest and only national Black breast cancer survivorship organization with 25+ survivor run affiliate chapters and recognized globally for its impactful work in the breast cancer space. Guided by the organization’s powerful national creed, “In Unity there is Strength, In Strength there is Power, In Power there is Change,” Sisters Network® Inc continues to pave the way for transformative change in health equity.
Key Achievements and Milestones:
• First national black breast cancer organization founded in 1994
• Only black-led organization with survivor-run affiliate chapters in the United States
• Host the only National Black Breast Cancer 5K Walk/Run attracting over 4,000 participants annually
• Created award-winning Teens4Pink program
• Hosted the first National African American Breast Cancer Conference in 1999
• Hosted the first black breast cancer 10-city conference tour
• Purchased and opened the “Sister House” in Houston’s historic Third Ward in 2005
• Launched the national Breast Cancer Assistance Program (BCAP) in 2006, Renamed Karen E. Jackson Breast Cancer Assistance Program in 2021
• Launched the Pink Power 5-city tour to highlight Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2022
• SNI members serve on local and state boards and review committees
• Recognized nationally and internationally by numerous media outlets, elected officials and medical institutions as a critical resource for Black women battling breast cancer
• Invited to present at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Conference, and the National Black State Legislative Caucus Annual Conference
• Key referral resource by the American Cancer Society (ACS), Susan G. Komen Foundation, Cancer Care, National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), etc.
• Receives over 3,500 calls annually from women seeking emotional support, mammogram, and financial assistance