August 23, 2018
Advocating for Diverse Elders on Senior Citizens’ Day
By: Nicole Van Nelson

This article originally appeared on the NICOA blog.

Rupert Steele, of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, takes a photo during a tour of a petroglyph site in Box Elder County, Utah, Aug. 26, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

Every year, August 21st is celebrated as National Senior Citizens’ Day, a day where we recognize our Elders and the contributions they have made throughout their lives. The day was created in 1988 and President Ronald Reagan stated, “For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.”

At the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA), we ask everyone to celebrate their Elders on National Senior Citizen’s Day. Along with that celebration, we also ask that everyone educate themselves on Elder issues and concerns, as the more you know, the more you can understand and support all Elders. A few great organizations that can provide educational resources on Elders that NICOA has worked with or supported include:

  • AARP – AARP represents the needs of nearly 38 million members with lifestyles and political views as diverse as any group in the United States. Developing public policy recommendations that serve such diversity is a formidable task. We concentrate on the issues most important to those in the 50+ community as they age: economic security; health care; access to affordable, quality long-term care; creating and maintaining livable communities; consumer protections; caregiving; and ensuring that our democracy works better for all.
  • American Society on Aging (ASA) – The American Society on Aging is an association of diverse individuals bound by a common goal: to support the commitment and enhance the knowledge and skills of those who seek to improve the quality of life of older adults and their families.
  • Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) – The DEC advocates for policies and programs that improve aging in our communities as racially and ethnically diverse people; American Indians and Alaska Natives; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people.
  • National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) – NAPCA’s mission is to preserve and promote the dignity, well-being, and quality of life of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as they age.
  • National Association for Hispanic Elderly [Asociación Nacional Pro Personas Mayores] (ANPPM) – The National Association for Hispanic Elderly / Asociación Nacional Pro Personas Mayores is committed to achieving social change by focusing on the needs of low-income minority and Hispanic older persons, thus impacting the Hispanic community and the nation as a whole.
  • National Caucus and Center on Black Aging Inc. (NCBA) – As the oldest and most effective voice for African American and low-income minority seniors, NCBA provides the support our seniors have earned and the advocacy they deserve.
  • National Council on Aging (NCOA) – NCOA is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. We partner with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to provide innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy.
  • National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) – Working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers.
  • SAGE – A national advocacy and services organization that’s been looking out for LGBT elders since 1978. We build welcoming communities and keep our issues in the national conversation to ensure a fulfilling future for all LGBT people.
  • Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) – SEARAC is a national civil rights organization that empowers Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity.
  • And of course, NICOA – NICOA’s mission is to is to advocate for improved comprehensive health, social services, and economic wellbeing for American Indian and Alaska Native Elders.



The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.