Part of an occasional series of blog posts that focus on a particular member of the Diverse Elders Coalition and their work.
One of the best parts about working at the Diverse Elders Coalition is that I get to work with not just one team, but also with the five teams of the DEC members. This past week, I have had the pleasure of working closely with the staff at Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) at two major events: the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change and at a special LGBT Elder Housing Summit hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Creating Change is one of the largest LGBT social justice conferences in the country and took place February 4-8 in Denver, CO. Held annually by the National LGBTQ Task Force, the conference attracts thousands of participants, and registration reportedly reached 4,000 this year. During the conference, SAGE hosts a day-long Elder Institute and a track of programs and workshops, and the organization also sponsors the annual SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues.
I was pleased to support the Elder Institute by co-facilitating a lunchtime roundtable discussion on the White House Conference on Aging with SAGE’s Director of Federal Governmental Relations, Aaron Tax. Aaron and I also presented on a panel discussing HIV/AIDS in elder populations. Later in the conference, SAGE’s Executive Director Michael Adams presented the SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues to Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) for introducing the LGBT Elder Americans Act, a bill to increase federal supports for LGBT older people through the Older Americans Act.
On Tuesday, the SAGE team headed from Denver, CO to Washington, DC, where they joined the National Center for Lesbian Rights for the White House National LGBT Elder Housing Summit. SAGE staff, local partners, and other advocates, academics, and leaders in the community discussed a variety of issues related to housing for LGBT elders, including policy, research, and community perspectives. A special listening session with the White House Conference on Aging offered participants an opportunity to provide feedback to White House Conference on Aging Executive Director Nora Super, and Kathy Greenlee, Administrator of the Administration for Community Living. Ms. Super and Administrator Greenlee gave a shoutout to the Diverse Elders Coalition in expressing their commitment to ensuring as broad a range of voices from different elder populations is included, and provided a number of ways for people to get involved. The DEC has been hard at work with the White House to make sure that all our constituencies of our member groups are engaged.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition