This week, the White House announced that the 2015 White House Conference on Aging will take place in Washington, DC on July 13th. The Diverse Elders Coalition has been engaging the White House every step of the way during the planning and preparation for the conference, including the use of a survey to solicit feedback from our constituents, the nomination of attendees and presenters to the five WHCOA regional forums, and even in hosting our own regional events to amplify the voices of our diverse elder communities. We’re excited to continue this work as this historic, once-in-a-decade July event approaches.
Since joining the Diverse Elders Coalition back in January, I’ve been working closely with our member organizations and the White House conference organizers to understand and highlight the needs of our communities. I’ve learned so much from the stories our diverse elders have submitted to our Diverse Elders Stories Initiative or discussed during the WHCOA regional forums and listening sessions. Even though the WHCOA event in July will be limited to only the small number of people who will receive invitations, I am hopeful that this is just the beginning of the conversation. The White House has invited people to live-stream the event and has provided viewing guides and discussion materials for you to host a viewing party in your area. We encourage our diverse elder communities to stay involved, engaged and interested in US aging policy, even long after the 2015 White House Conference on Aging is over.
The White House has also been soliciting comments from readers on the four policy briefs that the WHCOA released during the months of April and May. The Diverse Elders Coalition submitted a formal response to the White House on May 29, 2015, commending conference organizers for their inclusion of our diverse communities in the conference activities and planning to this point and pushing them for greater recognition of and response to our unique needs going forward. You can read this response in its entirety here. As always, more work is needed to eliminate health disparities and ensure that our LGBTQ elders and elders of color can age with dignity and health, but we continue to fight tirelessly for our communities. Feel free to share your needs as a diverse elder and your hopes for future generations on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.