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Black Women Rising: The cancer charity that champions our community

In a Notting Hill Carnival first, we at Colours Carnival have partnered with a charity for 2022. Black Women Rising is a UK-based charity that provides cancer support and resources, championing Black communities.

Image courtesy of Black Women Rising

The Black Women Rising cancer support project was launched in 2017, and founded by award-winning community champion Leanne Pero. Pero created the charity after her own battle with breast cancer at just 31 years old, and her struggle in the aftermath to find support packages for women of colour.

Leanne was not alone. Black Women Rising's groundbreaking 100 Women Survey stated that 96% of respondents reported that they did not see women of colour represented enough in the media when talking about breast cancer, and only 31% found someone they could relate to after their cancer diagnosis. Most leaflets only depicted Caucasian faces, most wigs and prosthetics only catered for Caucasian hair or tones, and generally, there was little to no representation of Black women in cancer charity brand campaigns.

As Leanne began to interact with many other women facing the same barriers to support services, she realised there was a need to create a safe space to come together and talk openly and frankly about what they were going through. "As well as these generic injustices, the unhelpful myths and taboos surrounding cancer within the BAME communities had ultimately stopped people from speaking out about their ordeals, leading to a lack of awareness and education within households around cancer, its signs and symptoms," the charity said.

Since their launch, Black Women Rising has become an invaluable support to women going through cancer in our communities. They give these women a safe space to share their experiences and a platform to share their stories, without fear or shame.

Image courtesy of Black Women Rising

The charity provides support groups for its members, hosted by trained facilitators, and hosts pamper days too. They also have a podcast, where charity members and guest speakers talk about their experiences of cancer, and in 2020, they launched the first edition of their glossy magazine, enabling women in our communities to see themselves reflected in mainstream media. Black Women Rising's mission is to empower women of colour as they navigate their cancer journeys, as well as educate, inspire and bring opportunities for women from the community to connect with one another. This is something they are thriving in achieving! Black Women Rising has worked with some incredible brands like Palmers, Estee Lauder and GHD to celebrate their women, and this is something the charity is looking to do by partnering with us at Colours Carnival too. "After playing mas with Colours Carnival in 2019, I knew this would be an experience our women would love," said Black Women Rising founder Leanne Pero. "It is a chance for these women to celebrate life and tick off the incredible experience of being in a Carnival parade."

A group of Colours Carnival masqueraders on Carnival Sunday, 2019

Not content with just serving our female communities, Pero also launched Black Men Rising more recently. We highly recommend listening to their inspiring 12-part podcast series, which you can stream on Spotify. We, at Colours Carnival, are incredibly honoured to work with Black Women Rising this year. We want to celebrate these women - and men - and celebrate our culture and communities in all its glory! Please find out more about Black Women Rising on their website, and follow Black Women Rising and Black Men Rising on Instagram.

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