FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2015
Jenna McDavid, Diverse Elders Coalition
Ben de Guzman, Diverse Elders Coalition
Diverse Elder Communities in Los Angeles
Host Town Hall with White House Conference on Aging
Los Angeles, CA – May 7, 2015
One hundred area elders, caregivers, and advocates from communities of color and LGBTQ communities gathered at the Pilipino Workers Center in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown district on Thursday to speak directly with Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) about the unique and specific aging concerns that affect diverse elders. Through presentations from elders and a town hall format that allowed individuals to share their stories and ideas for improving their futures and the futures of their children and grandchildren, Ms. Super and other WHCOA staff heard about the need for culturally- and linguistically-competent services; the need for improved services and resources to ensure retirement security; the importance of community care and supports; and the different faces of elder abuse in diverse communities. Local advocates hope that the White House will take the stories they heard today and craft aging policies and practices that improve the lives of elders of color and LGBTQ elders.
A planning committee made up of local and national organizations serving elders of color, LGBT elders, and their caregivers brought the event to Los Angeles, one of the nation’s most diverse cities, in order to highlight the voices of these communities that are not often heard in mainstream policy discussions around aging. Nora Super, giving a brief presentation on the White House Conference on Aging, expressed the need to reach out to diverse constituencies and appreciated the different communities that came together in the room as a better reflection of what America looks like in 2015.
One of the elders who gave a presentation as a participant of programs at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Herbie Taylor, talked about the impact HIV/AIDS has had for over 30 years in the gay community and the struggle for services that meet his needs. “I am a consumer with nothing to consume,” he said, and shared stories of how he and his peers have had to deal with stigma and lack of programs serving him and his peers.
“This is what America looks like,” said Ben de Guzman, National Managing Coordinator for the Diverse Elders Coalition. “The elders who shared their stories did so in their own languages, and not in a conference hotel but in the real community setting where they live. Their voices, quite frankly, represent perspectives the White House needs to hear more of if they are to not only meet the needs of the ‘graying of America’ as the population gets older, but also the ‘browning of America’ as we become more racially and ethnically diverse.”
This event was generously sponsored and supported by the following organizations:
Caring Across Generations
Diverse Elders Coalition
Los Angeles LGBT Center
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Hispanic Council on Aging
National Indian Council on Aging
Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
For more information on the White House Conference on Aging, please visit www.whitehouseconferenceonaging.gov.
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