Category Archives: Family & Friends

LGBT VOTE FOR EQUALITY MATTERS

 

Dear Friends,

With Election Day around the corner, the LGBT Progress team has been working hard to produce research and policy analysis that matters as we look to 2013. This update highlights some of the work we think is most relevant.

Of course, the number one issue this year is the economy, and economic security is especially important for LGBT people. We have included an infographic (to see infographic visit LGBT Progress on Facebook) highlighting some of the harmful impacts of discrimination on LGBT employees and their families, but we’ve also shown how these antiquated policies compromise the efficiency and effectiveness of public and private workplaces. In the midst of a recovering economy, ending workplace discrimination against LGBT people is crucial for the economic security of all Americans.

This election cycle is a decisive year for marriage equality. With marriage on the ballot in four states this November, it is more important than ever for the public to understand that marriage equality laws are perfectly compatible with existing laws that guarantee religious freedom. Our research has shown that a majority of Americans believe gay couples should have the freedom to marry, and we hope to keep the momentum growing in favor of equality.

This November will also determine the future of the U.S. health care system. With LGBT people facing numerous barriers to health, from difficulty obtaining health insurance through their spouses to finding physicians who understand their unique health needs, we’re working to make sure that Obamacare is implemented in the states in a fully LGBT-inclusive way no matter who wins the election.

We believe in a country where employees are only judged by their job performance, where religious freedom is preserved and the freedom to marry is expanded, and where every American is given an equal opportunity to take care of themselves and their families, free of discrimination. Thank you for your commitment to building a just America through your interest in and support of the work we do.

Please consider making a donation today.

Best regards,
Jeff
@jeffkrehely

New SAGE Center Honors Elders

 

Black Pride New York City honored its Elders on August 16th, 2012 at the new Sage Center on 305 7th Avenue.

The  assembly of speakers came for across the city to honor the LGBT POC Elder community.  Over 75 seniors came to­gether for an evening of community, live entertainment and lunch, all generously donated.

A special tribute was paid to GRIOT Circle and its executive director, Glen-Michael Francis, who was also the keynote speaker. Glen spoke about community and the work that went into creating the Sage Innovative Center, the first city-funded LGBT Center in New York City. 

Glen also spoke to why this community center belongs to all of us, and why we as people of color should come and enjoy the activities, make sug­gestions to create programs and services that are reflective of our values and traditions, bring friends and take computer classes

Alyce Emory, the evening’s MC and program coordina­tor, said, “I am humbled and grateful to all who participated and supported!”  Minister Renair Amin was the officiant and gave the opening remarks and blessings!

 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH AT GRIOT CIRCLE

TO ENLARGE THE CALENDAR, JUST CLICK ON THE IMAGE.

JOIN GRIOT DAY-TRIP to ATLANTIC CITY on Dec. 6

TICKETS $40   PURCHASE DEADLINE: NOV. 22 

BUS PICK-UP at Bklyn YWCA at 30 THIRD AVE. at 7 am, Tuesday Dec. 6

ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE CONTACT:

MAXINE IRBY:  347-623-7686  

SANDIE GREEN:  646-578-9004 

ROBERT WALDRON:   718-246-2775

Bed-Stuy Grandma Blocks Eviction

By Natasha Lennard

From inside Mary Lee Ward’s small and sparsely furnished living room in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, it sounded Friday as if a block party was in full swing in the street below.  Cars and trucks honked their horns as they passed and almost 200 voices could be heard cheering and chanting.

But this was no street party; it was not yet 9 a.m. and the crowd outside was there as a line of defense.

Ms. Ward — a tiny, soft-spoken 82-year-old — faced eviction by a city marshal on Friday morning, as the result of a subprime mortgage she took out in 1995. The lender, which filed for bankruptcy in 2007, had subsequently been investigated for predatory and discriminatory practices.  And so neighbors, friends, housing advocates and supporters formed a thick human wall outside Ms. Ward’s small, gray house on Tompkins Avenue.

If I’m evicted today, that’s it for anybody who’s a senior citizen,” Ms. Ward, who has lived in the house since 1967, said earlier in the morning, sitting in her living room next to a table covered with legal documents.  “It would show they can break up the community and do anything to us.”

Fifteen years ago, Ms. Ward says, she needed money for a lawyer to help keep her great-granddaughter from being put up for adoption.  Like many others in her neighborhood, she turned to a subprime lender.

She signed a contract with Delta Funding, a company she found advertised on a flier tucked in her mailbox. She borrowed $82,000 against her house, but claims she only ever received a payment of $1,000.

TO READ FULL STORY, CLICK HERE –> FALLOUT FROM A SUBPRIME MORTGAGE IN BROOKLYN – NYTimes.com.

INSIGHTS ON CONVENING OF AGING PROFESSIONALS – Post 1

Since the upcoming National Convening of Aging Professionals is the first of its kind, the GRIOT Circle Blog will serve as a portal to provide insights, address questions and foster clarity around the function, expectations and importance of this event to the LGBT elders of color community.

So here we go, this is post #1 in the Q&A series. Please use the comment tab at the bottom of the post to expand the discussion on this topic.

WHAT ACTUALLY TAKES PLACE AT THE CONVENING AND WHAT’S
THE EXPECTED OUTCOME?

During the October 12-13, 2011 Convening in Washington, D.C., we will engage in very active discussions around identifying multiple variables that have contributed to the isolation, stigmatization, poor health outcomes and alienation of the LGBT POC elder community.  There will also be discussions and strategy-building for the implementation of best practices to ensure equal access to culturally competent care.  Out of this convening will emerge a policy research/writing committee and an operational structure for a National Network.

WHY IS THERE A CONVENING IN THE FIRST PLACE?

“Wisdom is knowing what to do next.  Virtue is doing it.” ~ David Starr Jordan.

This convening will mark the creation of an innovative National interagency LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) POC (People of Color) aging communication network.  The Convening is a public action statement to the urgency of addressing issues of chronic health disparities among this population.

Racial and ethnic minorities have higher morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases.  The consequences can range from greater financial burden to higher activity limitations.  Among older adults, a higher proportion of African Americans and Latinos, compared to Whites, report to have at least one of seven chronic conditions — asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or anxiety/depression.  These rank among the most costly medical conditions in America.  African Americans and American Indians/Alaska Natives are more likely to be limited in an activity (e.g., work, walking, bathing, or dressing) due to chronic conditions.

Compounding matters is the fact that LGBT seniors face special difficulties as well.  These seniors are “twice-hidden” due to social discrimination on two levels: ageism and homophobia or heterosexism.  LGBT seniors of color have the additional burden of chronic environmental stressors rooted in racism that has been shown to be a major contributor to disabling health conditions.

IS THIS EVENT LIKE A TOWN HALL FORUM THAT’S OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC?

Not exactly.  Town hall meetings are an informal public meeting where everybody in a town community are invited to attend, not always to voice their opinions, but to hear the responses from public figures and (if applicable) elected officials about shared subjects of interest.

This Convening is an assembling of carefully selected/referred national POC professionals and elders all of whom have proven records of health care justice advocacy for the elderly and for the LGBT POC elderly in particular.  One of the principal goals is the exploration of adult transformational learning strategies and the collective discovery of new/innovative solutions to the health crisis faced by LGBT POC elders.

This Convening follows a definite structure intended to maximize the contributions of those experts who have confirmed their attendance and participation.  The whole experience is interactive and experiential.  There will be two panels, two workshops, but the heart of the Convening will center on small group work, each group assigned specific topics and specific  outcomes.

We continue this dialogue next week, please check back for more insights on the National Convening of Aging Professionals, or simply put your email address in the GET GRIOT BLOG UPDATES slot in the left column to receive alerts of new posts on the GRIOT Circle Blog.

Now THIS is a Great Dose of Inspiration

“My new inspiration!!  I received my motorcycle license at age 61. 

Now I plan to ride for another 15 years at least LOL!!”  L.

Click the red link below to see video —>

THIS is an Inspirational Portrayal of the Power of the Human Spirit.

For Half of a Century, Love Endures

Long-time Brooklyn couple considers nuptials  as marriage equality act takes effect in New York State

By C. Zawadi Morris

(C.Zawadi.Morris@patch.com)

On the eve of same-sex marriage equality in New York State, nearly five-decades of love has endured for one Brooklyn couple.

“It’s about time!” Jean Rowe and Thelma Simmons of East Flatbush say simultaneously. Often finishing each other’s sentences, it’s clear these women have known each other a very long time—49 years and eight months, to be exact. But who’s counting?

Jean is in her 70s and Thelma is 82. They are both African-American women. They have a gentle nature but possess subtle personality differences that clearly complement each other.

Their love took root while they were in their late 20s and early 30s, and together, over the past fifty years, they have seen the world change: They’ve watched economies bottom out and rise again and wars start and stop.

So many social and political revolutions have happened as they went about their lives during a time when it was unheard of for gay couples to be out about their relationship, much less consider same-sex marriage.

Click this link to read full article:

For Half of a Century, Love Endures – Bed-Stuy, NY Patch.

NATIONAL CONVENING TO ADDRESS DISPARITIES

FIRST NATIONAL CONVENING OF AGING PROFESSIONALS

Addresses disparities in services to LGBT POC older adults

[New York, NY]  On October 12-13, 2011 GRIOT Circle, in collaboration with the POC Committee of the LAIN/American Society of Aging, and with generous support from AARP and funding from Atlantic Philanthropic, will bring together national leaders on aging for the first National Convening of its kind to address the needs/concerns of this traditionally under-served population.

Hosted by AARP at the Brickfield Center at 601 East St. NW, Washington, DC on October 12-13, 2011.  The National Convening of Aging Professionals will provide insight into economic and health disparities that are services/care-based to the LGBT POC (People of Color) elder communities, a population that continues to heavily bear the brunt of stigmatization and social isolation.

Areas to be covered include: Social Security, housing, supportive services, HIV/STD prevention, culturally competent research and training, health literacy disparities, ethno-geriatrics, and other challenges for LGBT POC seniors, policy reform (LGBT POC specific), and the creation of a National Professional Network around POC LGBT Aging.

Confirmed participants/attendees include: Kathy Greenlee, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging, Administration on Aging (AoA), Jay Blackwell, Director, Office of Minority Health-Resource Center (OMH-RC), Christopher Bates, E.D., Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), Tony Sarmiento, E.D., Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI), Mandy Carter, Co-founder of National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Senator Benjamin J.F. Cruz, Vice Speaker, 31st Guam Legislature, Mario Tapia, CEO, Latino Center on Aging (LCA), and Aisha C. Young, CEO, African Americans in Gerontology (AAIG).

“I am delighted you are doing this historic convening” –Renowned social justice activist and former Arcus Foundation Executive Director, Urvashi Vaid.

GRIOT Circle, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1995.  It addresses the needs and concerns of LGBT elders of color in New York City.  Fifteen years later, GRIOT Circle continues to be the only LGBT organization in the nation that exclusively serves the LGBT POC elders 50 and older.  GRIOT is proud to be one of the leading voices on this historic occasion marking a decided shift in the health care paradigm for LGBT POC elders.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Glen-Michael Francis, 718-246-2775 | Glen@griotcircle.org

Queers for Economic Justice supports Convening, read Letter from QEJ.

The Audre Lorde Project supports Convening, read Letter from ALP.

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