Joan Lipkin, noted community activist, theatre artist and artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company, has been selected for one of the first inaugural Bravely awards, to recognize women in St. Louis who exemplify courage. In the invitation, Joan is described as “fearlessly creative.”“It is encouraging that a human rights organization that provides services to women who have been sexually trafficked or exploited who are in recovery recognizes the role of art in promoting a more just society,” she said. 

Bravely Inc., formerly Magdalene St. Louis, a Missouri nonprofit corporation, will present its Inaugural Bravely Awards ceremony at a luncheon on Thursday, April 11, at Patty Long’s Ninth Street Abbey, located at 1808 S. 9th Street in the historic Soulard neighborhood, St. Louis.

The luncheon takes place from noon to 1:15 p.m. (with networking and registration from 11:30 to 12:00) and all proceeds from this event will go directly to Bravely, a residential program for women who have survived sexual exploitation (prostitution and trafficking), abuse and addiction.

The inaugural honorees include: the Rev. Traci Blackmon, head of the Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ and a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement; Joan Lipkin, community activist and the founder and artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company; Christine McDonald, author, social justice advocate and survivor of human trafficking, homelessness and addiction; and Aisha Sultan, a nationally syndicated columnist and filmmaker whose work includes a focus on how social change impacts families.

The Bravely Awards were established to honor individuals or organizations that have strengthened our community by bringing attention to social justice issues including sexual exploitation, abuse and addiction. Awardees have demonstrated the highest level of commitment and dedication to the mission and vision of Bravely and furthered our cause through their life’s work.

“These women have dedicated their lives – personally and professionally – to create awareness and support issues and communities that are often at the margins of our society, such as the women we serve,” said Michelle Roberts, Bravely Executive Director. “We are grateful for their leadership and honored to have this opportunity to recognize them.”

Bravely helps women heal and rebuild their lives through free long-term housing, medical care, trauma therapy, education, and job readiness training. Since admitting its first resident in 2015, Bravely has served a total of 50 women on-site, in the building it purchased in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis, and hundreds more through advocacy and referral.

Over a three year period, this translates to: • More than 6,800 nights of safe rest • More than 20,000 meals • More than 4,800 hours of group therapy Bravely has 501c3 status and operates in the City of St. Louis.

For more information about the April 11 event and to register to attend, go to

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