Like many Hmong parents, my parents, Soua Toua Yang and Song Vang, came to the United States as Hmong refugees. By the age of 13, my dad was a soldier of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Secret Army in Laos. He and my mom married young. In the late 1970s, my parents came to the United States together, at the ages of 18 and 23. My parents landed in San Francisco, California, but quickly moved around the United States to reunite with family. I was born in Denver, Colorado, the youngest and only daughter of six children..... Read More
NHCOA Regional Conferences: Promoting Communities of Success
This post originally appeared on the NHCOA blog. You can still register for NHCOA’s Los Angeles Open Forum on August 29th by calling 202-347-9733 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we analyze the current state of Hispanic older adults in the United States the results paint a horrifying scenario; a scenario in which Hispanic elders are living in poverty, suffering hunger and dealing with inadequate access to healthcare. There is much improvement needed in the policies and programs that serve this aging segment of the population, in order to lessen the hardships that they currently face.
The numbers speak for themselves:
At 20%, Hispanic older adults have the highest level of poverty of any senior.... Read More
Bringing Elders and Youth Together to Learn Language, Life Skills
I am a huge fan of intergenerational programming. Both children and elders can feel silenced by a world that tends to privilege people of other ages, and there’s something powerful about meeting and learning from the people who’ve come before or the people who will usher in the future. As a teenager in upstate New York, I volunteered most weekends at the assisted living facility where my grandmother resided. It was an opportunity for me to spend more time with my grandma and give back to my community — something that was already starting to feel important in my budding social justice activist soul. I’d help staff run activities in the facility’s large common area or assist with more menial tasks,.... Read More
I find myself attending LGBTQ Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) events with less and less frequency over time. At one point, queer AAPI community events made up most of my calendar; now, hardly at all. Part of it is that other activities and responsibilities occupy my time, including family responsibilities. Part of it is that my tastes have changed – I am now much happier spending an evening with a few friends at home rather than going out. And speaking of going out: part of it is my lifestyle has changed. I was recently invited to an event that started at 10:00 p.m.! I mean, who does that?! Oh, right, I did, once upon a time.
The time has come to make a change and support paid family leave for everyone. As President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanics older adults, their families, and caregivers, I will be testifying in a public hearing for the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 on Thursday, February 11, 2016.
Hispanic older adults face substantial challenges to aging in economic security and in the best possible health. Limited education and English speaking ability, combined with a lack of financial literacy, means that many Hispanics enter old age with little in the way of savings. In 2014, 80% of Hispanics lacked health.... Read More
Growing Older Together: Queer People of Color and Aging
As I get older, I find myself having more and more questions about how best to care for my aging parents, how my wife Mala and I can best plan for our retirement and beyond, and how we can best support and remain active in our LGBTQ people of color movements. I also see for the first time a critical mass of queer people of color (QPOC) who have been out for years or even decades, and are now at or near retirement age.
So I’m more excited than ever about the upcoming Creating Change conference in Chicago from January 20-24. We’ll have several opportunities for conversations with other QPOC elders who are grappling with these same questions and.... Read More
Next week, our friends at the National LGBTQ Task Force are holding their annual Creating Change conference, the largest LGBTQ social justice conference in the country. With a mission of advancing LGBTQ liberation, Creating Change is expected to bring 5,000 activists from around the country to Chicago this January 20-24th. As a longtime participant in this conference, which has taken place annually for 28 years, I look forward to this yearly opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues from around the country, to meet new people, and to continue learning about the great work happening in communities everywhere.
This year, I’m excited to be part of ground-breaking programming at Creating Change specifically geared to a unique Read More
How Can We Help our LGBT Community Age Successfully?
How can we help our LGBT community age successfully? It’s a difficult question, but one that SAGE is determined to answer with our many resources and programs–including our innovative “Successful Aging” program. A quick check-in with Jerry Chasen, Director of Legacy Planning at SAGE and head of the program, shares the necessity of planning and being aware of our aging future. We asked Jerry a few questions before the TV premiere of “Gen Silent,” a powerful documentary that follows six LGBT elders as they navigate the hardships facing LGBT older adults. The film premieres today: Monday, November 9, at 9pm ET on Logo. Watch the Read More
The Mongoose and the Bird of Paradise: Storytelling to Help Older Lao Americans Thrive in Minnesota
Last week, SEARAC traveled to Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, as part of our year-long commemoration of 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War and the beginning of the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) refugee experience (40 & Forward: Southeast Asian Americans Rooted & Rising). Over 100 community members, artists, elders, youth, and families, as well as sponsors from foundations, corporations, and the University of Minnesota gathered to reflect on how far our communities have come over the last four decades, and celebrate both traditional and modern SEAA arts and culture. Almost 125,000 Southeast Asian Americans live in the Twin Cities, including the nation’s 2nd largest Hmong community and the 3rd largest Lao community.
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
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
Sharing Stories, Leaving Legacies: How Intergenerational Programs Empower Diverse Elders
Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, reunions, and celebrations with family. However, many of us have ambivalent feelings about these family interactions. Our mixed feeling can range from the joy of re-connecting to anxiety around different values and expectations that exist within the family, especially between generations. This ambivalence may be experienced every day in multigenerational families, and statistics indicate that immigrant seniors are more likely to live in multi-generational households. Contrary to the stereotypical picture of a large, tight-knit immigrant family surrounding their elders with relevance and constant caregiving support, the nature of intergenerational relationships within immigrant families is more complex. Older.... Read More