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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!

 

AGING IN AMERICA 2012 CONFERENCE

Aging in America, the 2012 annual conference of the American Society on Aging is the largest multidisciplinary aging conference in the country.  It is recognized as the leading platform for sharing knowledge, perspectives, best practices and replicable models that help participants enhance their skills and be more effective in their work with older adults.  There’s no better professional development opportunity for the people and organizations whose missions support quality of life and care for elders.

Who:  American Society on Aging
When:  March 28 – April 1, 2012
Where:  Washington, D.C.

For more details just click here–> www.asaging.org/aia12

NATIONAL POC LGBT CONVENING: DAY ONE HIGHLIGHT

Today was the first day of sessions for the National Convening of POC LGBT Aging Professionals, as someone said, “is a very historic day, an idea that was a dream, today was realized.”  From around 8am guests and panelists began arriving at Brickfield Convention Center, AARP’s hi-tech conference facility in the heart of the nation’s capital.  Carmelita Tursi, Senior Diversity Advisor HR Group at AARP, provided the opening greetings, while Clarence Fluker, Program Manager, Office of GLBT Affairs, District of Columbia Mayor’s Office, delivered a warm welcome to Washington, D.C.  In the absence of Cathy Greenley, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services at AOA, Edwin L. Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Programs Dept. of Health and Human Services, AOA delivered a message form the Assistant Secretary.

Carmelita Tursi, Senior Diversity Officer, AARP.

The opening panel, facilitated by Chezia Carraway, LCSW, PHE Center for Disease Control and Prevention, was comprised of Jay Blackwell, Director,  Capacity Building Division OMH-RC, Sharon M. Day, E.D., Indigenous People Task Force, Mandy Carter, Co-Founder, NBJC and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Tony Sarmiento, E.D., Senior Services America, Inc., Jewelle Gomez, Grants and Community Initiatives, Horizons Foundation and Christopher Bates, CEO, PACHA.

Sharon M. Day, Mandy Carter and Tony Sarmiento.

Jewelle Gomez (2nd from right).

This lively panel drew from the history of struggles to address core issues and philosophy including strategy for the creation of a network that truly defines and represents the POC LGBT aging community.  While Bryan Epps, Senior Policy Analyst, NYC Mayor’s Office laid out the fundamentals of policy creation and the benefits in support of issue advocacy.  Chair Elect, ASA, Louis Colbert was the Keynote Speaker who spoke on the importance of this convening on the national landscape of aging.

Bryan Epps, Senior Policy Analyst, NYC Mayor’s Office

Panelist Christopher Bates and facilitator Chezia Carraway, LCSW, PHE.

The workshop component was structured into six discussion groups that allowed for an intimate and comprehensive discourse.  Each group tackled a subject area: Elder abuse, Mental Health, Immigration, Housing, Health Care and Spirituality.  Facilitator Victor Pond, Director of Policy, Research and Community Health, GRIOT Circle, coordinated the questions and group feedback.  The first day of the Convening closed with a dialogue facilitated by Carmen Vazquez, coordinator NYS LGBT Health and Human Services Unit of the AIDS Institute, on the challenges and opportunities for the creation of a professional network.

Helena Bushong, Trans-elder Community Advocate/Activist.

Jay Blackwell, Sharon M. Day, Mandy Carter, Tony Sarmiento and Jewelle Gomez.

Glen Francis, E.D., GRIOT Circle, Brian de Vries, PhD, San Francisco State Univ., Carmelita Tursi, Senior Diversity Advisor, AARP and Clarence Fluker, Office of GLBT Affairs, D.C. Mayor's Office.

Workshops: Cheryl D. Reese and Bonnie Harrison.

 

Convening Coordinator Victor Pond is flanked by Chezia Carraway and Christopher Bates at end of first panel discussion.

 

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY: THE FIRST CONVENING

Over fifty aging professionals gathered in Washington, D.C. on October 12-13, 2011 for the First National Convening of POC LGBT Aging Professionals hosted at the AARP Brickfield Center.

The idea of organizing a National Convening targeted to POC leaders of organizations and POC elders in the community to create a cross-cultural aging Network to promote LGBT POC aging on a national platform came during the American Society on Aging (ASA) LAIN (LGBT Aging Issues Network) Retreat held 2010 in New Mexico and sponsored by the Arcus Foundation.

From the meeting emerged The POC “Hot Spot” committee of LAIN to help address the gaps and help inform an inclusive practice for future educational efforts of ASA.

This Convening is an occasion for discussion and an opportunity to develop the strategies for building a common vision among LGBT POC professionals, activists and allies committed to aging issues.  The Convening has been realized and the work of building a formidable network for aging professionals who serve the POC LGBT community has begun.  Here, we share some outtakes from the first day of facilitated discussions and group workshops.  Subsequent posts on the GRIOT Blog will record and report on this historic event, and the outcomes.

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Photography by SeanDrakes.com

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 2

In effort to provide insights, address questions and foster clarity around the function, expectations and importance of the upcoming National Convening of Aging Professionals, GRIOT Circle provides post #2 in this Q&A series.

Please use the comment tab at the bottom of this post to expand the discussion on this topic and present your questions.

HOW DOES THIS EVENT DIRECTLY EFFECT MY LIFE?

LGBT people of color elders remain on the fringes of society, marginalized, stigmatized and invisible.  This Convening is a public statement alerting the general public and health care officials of the urgency to allocate funding and resources to address the specific needs of LGBT POC elders.  This Convening also serves as a launch pad for a national network of people of color-led agencies that will more effectively advocate and rally for funding, write new policies and actively promote culturally competent practices as they relate to health care provision to the LGBT POC elder population.  This means you will have people championing for your needs.  You won’t have to wander aimlessly in search of safe, welcoming and affirming spaces.

HOW DO I ASSURE MY VOICE AND ISSUES ARE REPRESENTED AND ADDRESSED AT THE CONVENING?

Since this is not a town hall meeting, we are relying on the professionals and elders that are scheduled to attend the Convening to articulate the needs and issues of LGBT POC elders in this country.

In addition, the richness of the information that will be shared and discussed is due primarily to the ethnic, racial, gender, sexuality and diversity of both lay and professional participants.

HOW ARE THE ISSUES ADDRESSED AT THE CONVENING PRIORITIZED?

The issues addressed at the convening are directly rooted in the morbidity/mortality reality of the POC aging population.  They also directly coincide with federal health care priorities that have been identified by a cross section of public health care agencies (i.e., Office of Minority Health, Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services, American Society on Aging, etc.).

IS THIS AN INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE OR DO I HAVE TO BE IN WASHINGTON, DC TO PARTICIPATE?

The Convening is a two-day event that will be held in Washington, D.C. with the active participation of those invited to attend.

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.

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