Remarks for Barbara’s Memorial Service, May 13, 2013
I was at the first session of the first World Conference on Breast Cancer in 1996. The panel concluded and immediately a woman’s hand shot up and she stood and boldly asked challenging, articulate, and pointed questions. That was the beginning of my love of Barbara Brenner.
We were both directors of “hell raising” cancer organizations, mine in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From that moment on, we were colleagues, co-conspirators, and soul sisters. She taught us all about radical chutzpah in its many forms. For instance, we went to New York City and loudly challenged the “pinkwashing” policies and practices of the Avon Corporation at their annual shareholders meeting.
These past years, Barbara has taught us about living fully each day with gratitude and appreciation, and truly experiencing the sacredness of the natural world. She recently taught me how to effectively photograph hummingbirds.
Last year, my partner Catharine and I went on a “roll and stroll” with Barbara and Susie in Muir Woods. Barbara loved the majesty of those regal redwoods. The trees have roots that grow far and intertwine with the roots of other trees. Like the redwoods, Barbara was, and still is a connector, and we all are a part of that web. Today, we illustrate that web, and some of you have many strands in it.
If you are a member of Barbara Brenner’s family, please stand
If you worked, volunteered or benefited from Breast Cancer Action, please stand
If you traveled with Barbara and Susie to Yosemite, Ashland or places beyond
If you attended the theater or a musical concert with Barbara
If you did legal work with Barbara
If you were inspired by Barbara
If you loved her, please stand
Take a moment to look around and feel the strength and beauty of this weaving created by Barbara.
Barbara died on Rosh Chodesh, the new moon and first day of the Jewish month of Sivan. This is a special time for new beginnings, and a month about receiving.
We have received, and will continue to receive the myriad gifts that Barbara Brenner gave us. Her light shines brightly through us and far beyond these walls.
May her memory be a blessing.