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.
Many don’t know that same-sex spouses in non-marriage states still don’t qualify for all the same federal benefits that their different sex counterparts enjoy, simply because they are married to someone of the same sex. This is an issue that comes up in the context of Social Security, Veterans Administration, and some Medicare benefits. And it is all the more important for LGBT older adults who face pronounced poverty and lack of access to culturally competent healthcare.
This topic is one that our Executive Director, Michael Adams, examines in detail with his.... Read More
These workers probably also hope their children, parents, and dependents don’t get sick as well. That is the daily reality of American workers who do not have access to paid sick or family leave.
For many parents, having a job and having a family are mutually exclusive. If they need to take care of a family member or themselves, they could lose wages, face disciplinary action, or even worse, get fired. All Americans, including diverse Americans, want to have strong families— be there for their children and parents when they need.... Read More
National Native HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day: New Mexico’s Take
March 20th – the first day of spring – marks the 9th annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a national mobilization effort designed to encourage Natives (American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians) across the United States and Territorial Areas to get educated, get tested, get involved in prevention, and get treated for HIV and AIDS. The Diverse Elders Coalition is commemorating this important day by offering resources to our constituents and encouraging everyone to get tested and #GetCovered. Remember that American Indians and Alaskan Natives can enroll in Marketplace coverage under the ACA at any time of year – no need to wait for a designated enrollment period.
Native Americans are 0.9 percent of the U.S..... Read More
White House Conference on Aging: This Time it’s Personal
The last time the White House Conference on Aging happened, back in 2005, I was personally in a major life transition: I had just taken a new job, moved across the country, and was too busy planning my new life in Los Angeles as a young 30-something to think about the Washington, DC I was leaving behind, much less be concerned with the “aging communities” that I was probably too self-absorbed to care about at the time.
Ten years later, as the White House Conference on Aging gears up for its once-in-a-decade incarnation this summer, my life has changed dramatically in many ways. With my parents in retirement age and me well into my forties, I am much more.... Read More
Collecting Stories from Our Communities: The Diverse Elders Stories Initiative
Some of our greatest tools to make positive change on behalf of our constituents are stories from older adults, their loved ones, advocates and community members that illustrate the struggles and triumphs of aging as people of color or LGBTQ people. We share these stories with the public on our blog and through social media to raise awareness of the issues that affect diverse elders. Your stories also allow us to show policymakers the faces behind their proposed policies and programs. With your stories, we are able to advocate for the needs of diverse elders more effectively.
This week, we wanted to spend some time sharing some of the fast moving information happening at the federal level. The items below are drawn from government sources, Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) members, and important partners.
This past Monday, the nation celebrated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The ideals he worked and sacrificed for inform our work and we dedicate this blog post to him, his family, and his legacy.
We at DEC are hard at work on a variety of fronts. Our #SignUpB4TimesUp campaign is up and running- check out our blog for the tools to help raise awareness about the second enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act and what it means for our.... 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
AARP and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders: New Information about Elder Communities
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
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