TAKE ACTION: Tell the Office of Budget and Management that Diverse Elders Need Disaggregated Data!

Did you know? Federal agencies (like those that administer education, housing, and employment programs, just to name a few) are NOT required to count detailed data for diverse communities. Instead of asking whether an elder identifies as “Cambodian,” “Vietnamese,” or “Marshallese,” they simply ask whether a person is “Asian.” People who are Puerto Rican, Mexican, or Brazilian are all lumped together as “Latino.” And agencies are not required to ask ANY questions about sexual orientation or gender identity — and efforts are even underway to remove those questions from federal surveys that do ask for that information. This means our communities remain misrepresented, left out of policy and program decisions, and under-funded.

But the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.... Read More

             

“These Seniors are Survivors:” Serving Cambodian Elders in Chicago

This week, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) Executive Director Quyen Dinh travels to Chicago to talk about the needs of Southeast Asian American refugee elders with the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) at the American Society on Aging conference. The DEC is the only national coalition dedicated to raising awareness about the unique needs of LGBT elders, American Indian/Alaska Native elders, immigrant elders, and elders of color.

The seniors program of the Chicago-area Cambodian Association of Illinois (CAI) demonstrates that while many of the needs of Southeast Asian American elders are similar to those of other diverse seniors, they also have very specific needs: culturally, linguistically, and as survivors of.... Read More

             

They Fought for the U.S. in Laos. Now Many Older Hmong Fight Depression.

by Alice Daniel. Alice reported this story for KQED public radio’s statewide “California Report,” as part of a Journalists in Aging Fellowship supported by New America Media, the Gerontological Society of America and the Silver Century Foundation. This story was first published by New America Media.

Click to hear the radio report of this story.

Dia Yang is a cultural broker at the Fresno Center for New Americans. She helps Southeast Asian refugees acclimate to the United States.

On this rainy day, she’s working with a dozen older Hmong men and women who find life in America really hard.

Yang instructs them in a crafts activity: decorating little paper gift boxes to fill with chocolate and.... Read More

             

What Did the Diverse Elders Coalition Achieve in 2016?

In case you missed the December edition of our Common Threads newsletter, here are some highlights from the Diverse Elders Coalition in 2016! Subscribe to our newsletter here, and read on to learn more about what we achieved for diverse older adults this year:

It has been a year of ups and downs for our communities and the policies that impact aging within those communities. This edition of our Common Threads newsletter takes a look back at the work the Diverse Elders Coalition did in 2016 and renews our commitment to supporting diverse elders in 2017 and beyond. Read on for more!

Aging in America
In.... Read More

             

The Painful Struggles of America’s Older Immigrants

by Chris Farrell. This article originally appeared on Next Avenue.

America’s immigrant community is aging along with the rest of the population, and in many cases, with great financial difficulty.

Some 15 percent of adults 60 and over were foreign-born in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Older immigrants represent a larger proportion of the elderly in major gateway cities and states. For example, in New York City, they comprise 46 percent of older adults; in California, one in nearly three older residents is foreign-born. Late-life immigrants are contributing to rising ethnic populations in rural areas and small towns in the Midwest and South, such as in Minnesota and Georgia, according to the Population Reference Bureau.

.... Read More
             

America’s Stateless People: How Immigration Gaps Create Poverty

by Paul Nyhan. This article originally appeared on Equal Voice News.

FRESNO, Calif. — They came to America in the 1970s and 1980s as child refugees, members of the Hmong minority in Laos fleeing that country’s new communist government and persecution for helping the CIA in its covert war in Southeast Asia.

America held the promise of safety and a piece of the American dream.

Many of them chased that dream in California’s Central Valley, slowly, sometimes painfully, building lives in a new country where their language and culture were virtually unknown. Largely from poor rural farming families, they often struggled to adjust to a dramatically different society, with few relevant skills and limited support.

But, they went.... Read More

             

Refugee elders support each other after a long, difficult journey

by Hitomi Yoshida, with with support from Naw Doh, Shira Walinksy and Melissa Fogg, members of the Southeast by Southeast Community Center in Philadelphia. Hitomi is a long-time friend of the Diverse Elders Coalition, and you can read her stories of intergenerational work with diverse elders in our Diverse Elders Stories Initiative.

Naw Gay Lay is a 77-year-old Karen refugee from Myanmar (Burma). The Karen people are an ethnic and religious minority group that has been persecuted throughout much of Burma’s history.

As a young woman, Naw Gay Lay worked in a rice field and began raising her family in a rural village in central Burma. When she reached her mid-30s, the whole village had to flee.... Read More

             

SEARAC Election Response: We Love, We Heal, We Organize

This post originally appeared on the SEARAC blog.

Today as we let the election results sink in, it may feel like hatred and oppression won. We have all witnessed the next President of the United States stoke fear about immigrants and Muslims, disrespect women and people with disabilities, and make explicitly racist statements. Those engaged in the fight for true equity, justice, and empowerment of immigrants, refugees, and communities of color are feeling a great deal of grief — feeling that our nation’s vote was a personal attack on who we are, the values we stand for, and why we are here in America.

What do we do now?

We hold each other closer, and we love our.... Read More

             
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