The 2015 Aging in America Conference wraps up today in Chicago, IL. This week has provided a unique opportunity for the Diverse Elders Coalition and its members to share their work and connect with thousands of other participants from around the country working on issues of concern for elders. As a first time attendee, I was particularly impressed with (and maybe a bit overwhelmed by) the size and scope of the conference.
I kicked off the conference on the first day with a morning session talking about HIV/AIDS as part of an inter-generational dialogue entitled “Being Gay Ain’t What it Used to Be” with my colleague and friend, Read More
A Response to “It’s Never Too Late To Make a Change”
This blog post was written by SAGE‘s Executive Director, Michael Adams, as a response to “It’s Never Too Late To Make a Change,” a New York Times article focusing on transgender aging and originally appeared on the SAGE Blog.
As “It’s Never Too Late To Make a Change,” New York Times, March 8, 2015, demonstrates, more and more transgender people are making the decision to embrace their gender identity later in life. As the New York Times points out, the pull to live your life as who you truly are runs deep at every stage of life. The stories shared by the Times.... Read More
As we round the corner on Black History Month, I am encouraged to take the heritage and history we’ve all been reminded of over these past few weeks and use it to create a better world today for our Black elders. You may have seen the hashtag #BlackFutureMonth being used on social media as a reclamation of Black History Month and an affirmation of our commitment to equality, equity, and an end to injustice. In that spirit, I am such a fan of the SAGEWorks program. This national employment support program for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people age 40 and older expands participants’ job hunting skills and career options, and connects employers to diverse high-caliber candidates..... Read More
The 114th Congress Begins: New Faces and Ongoing Challenges for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
The U.S. Congress had a “first day of school” feel to it on Tuesday as the 114th Congress officially started in Washington, DC. On the “Senate side” north of the U.S. Capitol building, Vice President Joe Biden swore in the new Senate. Meanwhile, on the House side, the 435 members of the U.S. Congress, as well as the five non-voting delegates representing Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, convened for the first time under the leadership of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
The Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) was on hand to welcome old and new members of Congress. One particular set of members we were.... Read More
Diversity Within Diversity: The Uniqueness in Our Ethnic Elders
It is my privilege to have an opportunity to share some of my thoughts about what needs to be considered when serving ethnic minority elders. As service providers, it is imperative that we know where we find ourselves in relationship to these groups. Early on in my career as a professional educator, I learned the importance of achieving some sense of cultural competence, these days I think of it as cultural humility, if I were going to be effective as a practicing professional. Back in those days, Dr. Jose Gallegos, DSW, provided us with a model that highlighted the importance of understanding our beliefs and values and how these interfaced with or might.... Read More
Pearl Harbor’s Legacy: Memories of What We’ve Gained and What We’ve Lost
by Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition National Managing Coordinator
December 7, is a day that, in the now famous words of President Franklin Roosevelt, has gone down in infamy. The attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese Imperial military forces resulted in the death of 2,500 people with 1,000 more wounded and is generally recognized as the impetus that finally drew the United States into World War II. Traditionally, news coverage of the December 7 anniversary over the years has centered on survivors and evokes memories of the attack itself. Stories from the war are told by fewer and fewer people, as those who were around reach further into their golden years- many well into their 90s.
by Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition National Managing Coordinator
On Tuesday, November 25, the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC), in partnership with the U.S. Department on Health and Human Services (HHS), hosted a briefing on the Affordable Care Act and diverse elders. As the new National Managing Coordinator for the DEC, I was excited to open the event by welcoming the audience and introducing Michael Adams, Executive Director of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), a DEC member. Michael provided a wealth of data on health care challenges faced by diverse communities, including Latinos, American Indians/ Alaska Natives (AI/ AN), Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), African Americans, the LGBT community, as well as people living with HIV/AIDS..... Read More
World AIDS Day: An Intergenerational, Multicultural Perspective
As the new National Managing Coordinator for the Diverse Elders Coalition, I am pleased to write my first post for our blog here on World AIDS Day. Observed annually on December 1, World AIDS Day is recognized around the world with this year’s theme: Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation. This theme directly invokes the idea of age and makes us “focus” in on how different generations experience the epidemic, and is particularly appropriate for us to think about here.
As an openly gay man, I grew up and entered my teen years during the height of the epidemic in the 1980s. At the same time, I grew up a child of immigrants in a Filipino American household with two.... Read More
Grandparents: Our Guides to the Past, Present and Future
Note: This post is lovingly submitted in recognition of Native American Heritage Month
It’s so a matter of fact when English Americans speak about American History. It becomes focused on the “Discovery” of America and the influx of immigrants from across the world and their founding of a “new” world. It is the reality of the conquerors to believe that North America was void of culture and intelligence, as if America were a blank slate. This is a version of a momentous story and it is celebrated by many every year as Columbus Day, or Founders Day, but many Americans have a different story.
American Indians and Alaska Natives have a dissimilar story that is equally as momentous and certainly.... Read More
NICOA Conference Celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Elders
The 20th Biennial National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) Conference took place September 3rd through 6th at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown in Phoenix, Arizona. The NICOA conference was held in partnership with the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, and the Area Agency on Aging, Region 8. There were 1,387 elders attending from 65 different tribal nations.
The five day affair offered a range of events and activities for participants, speakers, families, and guests. Here are some of the highlights from each day:
Wednesday September 3
The first day of the conference began with a whirlwind of activity as many more attendees than expected arrived and were registered. An opening prayer was offered. The Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84 posted.... Read More
On April 3, 2008, my longtime friend Don (last name withheld) tested positive for HIV, the same day as his mother’s 56th birthday. He remembers the day vividly. “I had given blood to my doctor and a couple weeks later, I still hadn’t received a call. I called my doctor’s office and they said, ‘There’s an anomaly with your blood.’ I immediately freaked out and thought, ‘God, this is it.'” Don took the last appointment of the day and a few hours later received his diagnosis, along with a few referrals. He went home “to pull myself together, call my mom and wish her a happy birthday.” He wouldn’t share his HIV status with his mother for several years.
We, (those of us older than 50) are now finding out what Bette Davis knew, that “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Those of us who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) may have additional challenges including homophobia and heteronormativity, which can send us running back to the very closets we fought so hard to leave, according to Stein and colleagues in a 2010 article in the Journal of Gerontology Social Work.
Recently I did a study with African-American lesbians and gay males. All study participants experienced a sense of alienation, in the African-American and majority-LGBT communities, described consistently as “a hurt that lasts a long time.” They also talked of a sense of not.... Read More