On May 7, the Diverse Elders Coalition, our member organizations, and our key partners had a very important opportunity to share the stories of our constituents with Nora Super, the Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging. With discussions happening in English, Spanish, Khmer, and Tagalog, and a packed house at the Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, we were able to provide Ms. Super and her team with a deeper sense of the challenges our communities face, their resilience and strategies for survival, and ultimately, their hope.
We’ve talked about this Town Hall in previous blog posts, but coming back to Los Angeles where I lived for two years gave me.... Read More
The Pope’s Arrival in the United States: The Personal and the Political
On September 23rd, I was honored to be in the audience for Pope Francis’ official welcome to the United States. Braving an early morning start at 2am, getting in line at 4am, and hours waiting for the event to start at 9:30am, I joined thousands of my closest friends on the South Lawn of the White House to witness the first African American President welcome the first Pope from the Americas. Washington, DC has hit a fever pitch in recent days in anticipation for the Pope’s visit, and this welcome ceremony did not disappoint, with pomp and fanfare appropriate for the.... Read More
Golden Girls: Growing Old, Growing Up, and Growing Asian American
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the debut of “The Golden Girls” on NBC. From modest beginnings, the show would become a huge success, garnering top ratings for NBC and accolades for the show, its cast, and crew. But more importantly, from a cultural perspective, it has had a much larger impact. As the first network broadcast show to focus on older women, The Golden Girls changed the way we looked at them and broke many stereotypes. From water cooler chatter to professionally refereed academic journals, much has been made of what their groundbreaking portrayals mean for how we understand women and aging.
“If you were from, where I’m from, then you would know.”- Montell Jordan
Immigrant culture in the United States, by virtue of taking one’s homeland culture to a new location in the context of a new culture, entails some degree of cultural sharing. For Filipinos in the United States, this has resulted in a vibrant new “Filipino American culture” that borrows from new and old to create a unique new entity. It also creates some challenges as those familiar with old ways must adapt to new environments.
These cultural conflicts and confluences are revealed no more clearly perhaps than in the very personal journey of caregiving for a loved one as they age. For older people who grew up in.... Read More
Social Security at 80: Behind the Policy and Beyond the Politics
One of the things I’ve found as I tell people that I work on aging policy, is that even though the issues are complex and the policies are never clear-cut, people connect to them in a very personal way. There’s almost always a reflection about someone’s own aging process, or a caregiving story about a loved one, but it invariably hits home in a particular way. My own family has not often understood the advocacy work I do, but when a family member approached me and, in her mix of English and Tagalog, thanked me for her Social Security, I knew it was personal for her on a number of levels: both as someone who came to the U.S. to.... Read More
50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid: Facts, Figures, and Faces
When I was younger, I didn’t often think about Medicare or Medicaid. Before the “Young Invincibles” were told we were young and invincible, Generation Xers like me were more often than not just people running around who may or may not have had health care. I was fortunate enough to spend my 20s in relatively good health and with means enough to have the health coverage I needed. As the nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the creation of Medicare and Medicaid this week, I find myself thinking about these programs not only as a professional imperative to the work I do on aging policy, but as someone in his 40s with aging parents and an increasing awareness.... Read More
A reality of the work we do in the non-profit sector, when so many of the issues we address affect people’s lives directly and what motivates us to “keep on keepin’ on” is their impact on us and our communities, is that it becomes a labor of love. The lives that we document in our Diverse Elders Story Initiative put human faces to the policy issues we work on and reveal the impact of these issues often more powerfully than any statistical research report. The stories we tell speak best to that impact when they speak to the heart.
The 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) took place this past Monday, and as the dust settles, we get the opportunity to take stock of the events on July 13th as well as the events leading up to the day. For the Diverse Elders Coalition, this week is the culmination of months of work including engagement with local partners, extensive policy analysis, and working directly with the White House Conference on Aging and other policymakers. With clear goals of articulating the experiences of elders of color, American Indian/Alaska Native elders, and LGBT elders, and identifying specific policy recommendations, the DEC, its member organizations, and their constituents came to Washington, DC with a firm sense of.... Read More
Diverse Elders Coalition to Host Congressional Briefing After White House Conference on Aging
The Diverse Elders Coalition, in collaboration with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, is hosting a Congressional Briefing on July 14, 2015, the day after the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. Coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the Older Americans Act, this Briefing will discuss elders of color, indigenous elders, LGBT elders, and elders living with HIV/AIDS in light of the White House conference and will identify needs and challenges moving forward. The Diverse Elders Coalition will present a report documenting their engagement with the White House Conference on Aging and their policy recommendations on how to improve the lives of diverse elders and their families.
Congressmember Mark Takano (D-CA) will join the Briefing and provide comments. Rep. Takano.... Read More
Representing Diverse Elders During AAPI Heritage Month (APAHM)
May is recognized as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. From modest beginnings when President Carter signed a Joint Resolution on October 5, 1978 marking the first ten days of May as “Asian-Pacific Heritage Week,” to 1992, when the entire month of May became officially recognized as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), it has become an opportunity to lift up the experiences of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Across the country, communities, organizations, and governments at local, state, and regional levels celebrate the month in a variety of ways, including cultural performances, political discussions, and other activities.
May has been an important month for me for almost my entire professional career doing policy work in Washington, DC. As Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM), it has served as an opportunity to focus on the communities I’ve served, lift up issues such as immigration, cultural and linguistic competence, and address anti-Asian violence and racial discrimination. From its modest beginnings in 1977 when it was just the first week of May, to 1992 when it became officially designated for the entire month, it was chosen initially to recognize both the completion of the transcontinental railroad and the role Chinese laborers played there as well as the arrival of the first cohort of Japanese immigrants.
On April 2, the White House Conference on Aging hosted its third in a series of five Regional Forums in Seattle, WA at the Bell Harbor International Center. With our member organization the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging a hop, skip, and a jump away in downtown Seattle, and a diverse elder population in the city and region that includes significant tribal populations, the Diverse Elders Coalition identified this Regional Forum as a key opportunity to lift up the profile of its member groups and the constituencies we all serve.
Approximately 200 people attended the Forum, which opened.... Read More