Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Survivors celebrated, victims mourned during Breast Cancer Month

The cast of ‘Zooman and the Sign’: From left, Samuel Umoh, Chat Atkins, Hasani Morey, Mario Roberts Jr. and Deana Butler Rahming. Seated from left, Cynthia Strachan Saunders, Christina Alexander and Ray Lockhart.
The cast of ‘Zooman and the Sign’: From left, Samuel Umoh, Chat Atkins, Hasani Morey, Mario Roberts Jr. and Deana Butler Rahming. Seated from left, Cynthia Strachan Saunders, Christina Alexander and Ray Lockhart.

With October peeking its head around the corner, my thoughts turn to breast cancer, and how blessed some of my friends are to be survivors.

I won’t try to say I know how a woman feels when first told she has breast cancer. But I know what it’s like to wake up one morning, and while taking a shower feel a strange lump in one of your breasts. This happened to me several years ago. And although I had had my annual mammogram, I was concerned enough to call my doctor right away. After a thorough examination, he told me it didn’t feel like a cyst, and referred me to a breast-cancer specialist.

An appointment was made for me to have a biopsy right away. I called my son, Rick, who took off from work to go with me to the Sylvester Cancer Center. I remember that day, it rained so hard that airline flights had to be canceled and traffic was so bad that I got to the center an hour late.

I remember sitting in the waiting room with my son, thinking of all the things I needed to have in order should I have to undergo a mastectomy. I didn’t want my son to worry, so I put on my brave face and prayed silently. The biopsy was done and the doctor removed a small tumor, which was sent right away to the lab.

I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I was told the tumor, thanks be to God, was benign. I realized then, just how blessed I was, but couldn’t help but think about the thousands of women who don’t get such good news. Among those thousands are some of my relatives and dear friends. Some survived; others did not.

So, during the month of October, we celebrate those who survived this dreadful disease and honor the memory of those who died. And we still fight the good fight of faith, that one day no woman, or man, will have to die from breast cancer.

Other Breast Cancer Month events

In keeping with Breast Cancer Month, several events will be held throughout the month to celebrate survivors and remember those who did not make it.

▪ From 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 8 at Temple Beth Am, 5950 N. Kendall Dr., Your Bosom Buddies will celebrate its 18th year of “Celebrating Life” event. The speaker will be Miriam White Williams, breast cancer survivor, author, blogger, patient advocate and educator.

Williams will speak on the topic, “Calling all Warriors.” In a news release statement, Williams said, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls; warriors build windmills. Whether you are a new cancer warrior on our journey with breast cancer, or you are a warrior whose journey began some time ago, learn to build a windmill so as not to be blown away by the onslaught of change.”

Others on the program will include Baptist Health physicians Grace Wang, Robert Derhagopian, Gladys Giron and Christina Lopez-Penalver. More then 20 community organizations will have displays and exhibits of interest to breast-cancer survivors.

Also, entertainment will be provided by local jazz saxophonist Jeff Zavac and guitarist Danny Montano. The “Heroines,” an inspirational choir of breast-cancer survivors, will also perform. A light supper will be served. The event is for survivors, their families and friends.

The event is hosted by Linda Gayle Burrowes, who said the event is free “because I have always wanted to keep it as a celebration for survivors, not a fund-raiser.”

If you go, please RSVP by Oct. 5 by calling 786-596-3812 or email

▪ Miami Dade College Kendall Campus and the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami will present the second annual music and food event, “In The Pink,” at 5 p.m. Oct. 25 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 14260 Old Cutler Rd.

The event will feature the dance group “Dancers with Cancer” and the Heroine’s Choir. There will also be a skin care consultant on hand to answer questions.

Tickets range from $5 to $25 each and may be purchased by going online at, or by calling Phee Price, executive director of Civic Chorale of Greater Miami at 305-490-5930. Food and wine will be served.

‘Zooman and the Sign’ to be performed

Zooman and the Sign, a production by award-winning playwright Charles Fuller, will be presented two weekends starting Oct. 2, at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center 6161 NW 22nd Ave. in Liberty City.

Directed by John Pryor, the Obie Award-winning play tells the story of a teen murderer in Philadelphia, who senselessly terrorizes his community without regard to race. One of his crimes is the killing of a 12-year old black girl on a street filled with witnesses, all of whom are afraid to talk. The dead girl’s bereaved father posts a sign accusing the entire community of cowardice in the face of the escalating violence.

The play features Don Seward, Christina Alexander, Chat Atkins, Ray Lockhart, Mario Roberts Jr., Hasani Morey, Samuel Umoh, Cynthia Strachan Sanders and Deana Butler Rahming.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 , $20; 7:30 p.m., Oct. 3, $25; and 4 p.m. Oct. 4, $20. Also, 7:30 p.m., Oct. 9, $20; 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, $20; and 4 p.m. Oct. 11, $20.

For more information contact Theodore “Teddy” Harrell Jr., at 305-638-5768, ext. 235. For tickets call 305-638-6771 or email,

Photographer’s work to be displayed

If you are a lover of all things beautiful, you won’t want to miss this event, when the magnificent photographs of Marilyn Brown will be presented at the Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture at noon Oct. 5 in the Pioneer Room on the third floor of the first National Bank of South Florida, 1550 N. Krome Ave. in Homestead.

If you have never seen Brown’s work, you are in for a treat. I am blessed to have one of her photos in my home. It is one of my most prized possessions.

Brown captures and preserves environmental and historic images of Florida’s most breathtaking places. She uses an antique 4x5 view camera and with it produces large format, hand-crafted, silver gelatin photographic prints.

Said Brown: “Our Everglades, coastal shorelines, sunrises and dramatic skies are all unique to Florida. I want to preserve these sights on film so that others can enjoy the beauty, awe, and inspirations that I see and increase awareness of Florida’s fragile and embattled environment.”

Brown is a 50-year resident and a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. Some of her photographs are on display at the university.

Her talk is free and open to the public. If you go, a simple lunch will be available for $10 starting at 11:30 a.m., by reservation only. Call Barbara before 2 p.m. Oct. 2 to RSVP. Her number is 305-230-9185.

‘All In For the Men’

Suited for Success/Dress for Success Miami will present “All In For the Men” from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Oct. 10 at the Eden Roc Resort, 4525 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach.

The evening will include food and drinks and a chance to support the organization’s employment skills training program for men.

Sponsorship opportunities are available by calling 305-444-1944 or email,

Fall fashion show

The New Neighbors Club of South Dade will have its Fall Fashion Show Luncheon and program starting 11 a.m. Oct. 14 at the Killian Palms Country Club, 9950 SW 104th St.

The fashion show will feature clothes from Chico’s, a well-known retailer in The Falls Shopping Center. Club members will model the fashions.

If you go, reservations are required. Email your RSVP to, or call 305-595-0213 by Oct. 1, which is the deadline. The cost is $26 per person.

Celebrating Nigeria

It’s celebration time for the Nigerian American Foundation of South Florida. The organization is commemorating Nigeria’s 55th anniversary of independence with events beginning Saturday, Sept. 26, with the Nigerian History and Spelling Bee Competition, through Oct. 15.

Other events will include:

▪ A showcase of Nigerian arts, artifacts and lifestyle in the lobby of Stephen P. Clark Government Center, 111 NW First St. in downtown Miami, Oct. 1-15

▪ A Nigerian-American Wellness and Culture Fest, featuring the Nigerian Independence Soccer Tournament from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 3 at Rolling Oaks Park, 18701 NW 17th Ave., Miami Gardens.

▪ A ceremony recognizing Nigeria by the Miami-Dade County Commission, 111 NW First St., noon Oct. 6

▪ The “Green and White” banquet and awards night, a “dress to impress”, fund-raising event with the theme, “Promise of a New Nigeria” at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 at Florida International University, Wolfe University Center Ballroom, 244B, 3000 NE 151st St.

Honorees are Dr. Malou Harrison, president Miami-Dade College, North Campus; Don Campion, president, Banyan Air Services; Xavier Murphy, founder,; Dan Suleman, former vice president of the Nigerian American Foundation; Rodney Baltimore, media personality; and Adanma Osuji, former Mrs. Nigeria. High Chief Nathaniel Styles, will be the keynote speaker.

Entertainment will be provided by the Seun Major Abby Band; saxophonist John E.; Talking Drummers, Charles Deluxe Percussion and Ayanbinrin; and Fuji musician Mr. Money. The program will also feature Akwa Ibom and Umuoma Cultural Dance groups.

All events, except the banquet are free. Tickets to the banquet can be purchased through the group’s Evenbrite link, Or, you may order tickets through Sheri Restaurant at 305-622-3100; Bijon Restaurant at 786-515-8855 or at Rise N Shine Pharmacy, 954-447-7784.

If you can’t attend and would like to make a donation to Nigerian American Foundation, P.O. Box 694393, Miami Gardens, FL 33169

Jazz History Lecture Series

The 2015-16 free Jazz History Lecture Series, presented by Public Radio Station WDNA 88.9FM, will kick off 7 p.m. Tuesday with Charlie Parker, ‘Bird’ Flight of the Saxophone — A visit with the unprecedented artistry, virtuosity and legacy of Charlie Parker. Saxophonist, composer and professor Ed Calle will be the presenter.

The series will be presented in the WDNA Jazz Gallery in the station’s studios at 2912 Coral Way, and will continue monthly, except December, through May 2016.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.