Blog Archives

No one in NY or NJ should go hungry this holiday season

Do you know where you’ll be eating your Thanksgiving dinner? Chances are, there’s a senior in New York or New Jersey who doesn’t know if they’ll be eating dinner at all on Thanksgiving – or the days that follow.

There are nearly 9 million older Americans who wake up in the morning and don’t know if they’ll get enough to eat. You can change that.

This Thanksgiving, make twice the difference to help a senior in BROOKLYN who’s struggling to find their next meal. Every penny you give will go directly to hunger relief organizations in New York and New Jersey.

Make your tax-deductible donation by November 22 and your gift will be MATCHED – up to $100,000!

With your support, we can reach older Americans who won’t get the nutrients they need without a helping hand.

Through our targeted, community-based programs, AARP Foundation will use 100% of your donation to help with local food assistance programs. Senior hunger is a threat close to home and your gift today will make a difference for real people struggling just around the corner from you.

Right now, hungry seniors in New York and New Jersey need your help. Will you step up to lend them a hand? Every donation you give today will be matched by Met Life Foundation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000!

Give older Americans facing hunger a reason to be hopeful this Thanksgiving by making your urgent tax-deductible donation to AARP Foundation.

Thank you for helping seniors facing hunger, and standing with us as we help seniors facing other challenges, such as housing, income and isolation.

Sincerely,
Jo Ann Jenkins
President, AARP Foundation

GRATITUDE TO SUPPORTERS OF FIRST NATIONAL POC LGBT CONVENING

Dear Convening Attendees and Supporters,

It is with heartfelt gratitude I express THANKS to everyone for your presence, for your participation both during and after, for the beginning of a national movement/network, however you choose to define it, that will address issues pertaining to POC LGBT aging.  The First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging was a phenomenal gathering, please applaud yourselves for a job well done!!

Glen-Michael Francis, Exec. Dir., GRIOT Circle.

To all the staff of GRIOT Circle…Bonnie Harrison, Anthony McPhatter, Victor Pond and Daniella Noel who went beyond the call of duty and put their brightest foot forward to create an outstanding Convening.

To Brian de Vries for always being informative and supportive, a man of truth and clarity.  To Kyaien O. Conner for your brilliance and impressive level of research that opened so many people’s eyes to the disparate needs of LGBT POC aging.  Your presentation was amazing!  Thank you.

Chezia Carraway, my Elder Mentor Sister Friend, lots of love!  Thanks!  And to Helena Bushong for being the voice of our Trans-elder community that is far too often invisible at these important gatherings.  You rock!

Aisha Young for continuing to be the leader that you are!  Laurens Van Sluytman for always being in GRIOT’s–and my–corner, a guy you can count on!  Much Love!  Jay Blackwell you know how I feel about you and your support!  Louis Colbert for your kind words, as you know, we got work to do!!!! 

Carmelita Tursi for always being so very understanding and supportive, and for being available and open to the new kids on the block! Talk soon!?   Hutson Inniss for coming in and doing the work necessary, thanks man!  Jewelle Gomez for being a great elder and movement leader.  Nancy Bereano, your mentorship and love is felt!   Brendalynn Goodall, my SISTA friend, for always having my back and just being a great supporter friend!

To Michelle Alcedo, my SFAM, for your continued energy and support!  Hope Barrett great seeing you as always, thanks for your words of encouragement.  Rev. Jaynce Jackson thanks for your words and for keeping everyone focused on why we were there.  To Sharon Day for bringing our native brothers’ and sisters’ voices to the table!  Don’t forget to say hi to Jackie for me!

Pauline Park thank you, it’s always good to have your voice in the room!  Tony Sarmiento what can I say, let’s make some noise, your brother in the struggle!  Mr. Bryan Epps from the moment I reached out to you, you were on board and have remained consistent in the process.  Thank you.  Let’s have lunch soon!

Mario Tapia we have got to do some more work together, let’s present our own initiative to the City Council and get it funded.  Call me!  Carmen Vazquez thanks.  That’s all I can say, thank you!!   Dion Wong  you brought a new clarity to the meaning of working in POC communities, I am humbled.

Dr. Rawha Haile, who was scheduled to be at the convening, was unable to attend because her father passed away.  I want to take this time to send out special thoughts of comfort, and a blessing to you and your family in celebration of your father’s amazing life!

Cheryl Reese thank you for being that voice in the room!  We got your information.  Imam Daayiee Abdullah thanks for lending your expertise to  this conversation!  Tracy Cooper you hit this one out the ballpark!  I knew you would!  To Edwin L. Walker, Senator Benjamin Cruz, the ASA/LAIN and all the participants I met … WE THANK YOU ALL.

GRIOT Circle is committed to working within and with the systems/committees to develop structure and support for the network.  We are also here to help with whatever else we can to move this project forward.  As I said during the closing plenary, it was not designed for GRIOT to be in charge of the network, that power is yours, it has to be organic and coming from the members, much like how we run GRIOT Circle.  We were the vehicle to bring us all together, now let us all build a network we can all be proud of.

With warm regards,

Glen-Michael Francis

Executive Director

GRIOT Circle, Inc.

NATIONAL POC LGBT CONVENING: DAY TWO OVERVIEW

On the final day of the First National Convening on POC/LGBT Aging, hosted by GRIOT Circle in collaboration with AARP at the Brickfield Conference Center, participants tackled the challenges of forming the first national professional network and shaping the mission and vision of the network; Laurens Van Sluytman, PhD facilitated this process.

The Panel: Senator Benjamin Cruz, Brian de Vries, PhD, Mario E. Tapia, Helena Bushong and Kyaien O. Conner, PhD, LSW, MPH.

Laurens Van Sluytman, PhD.

The morning began with a facilitated discussion about Positive Aging, with a panel led by Bonnie Harrison, MSHC.  Panelist Dr. Kyaien O. Conner, from the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, delivered an excerpt of a highly impressive and comprehensive report that contained startling health disparity statistics on the POC/LGBT communities. Her research findings are a wake-up call to the national policy makers to address these critical and frightening statistics as the nation becomes more elderly.

Dr. Kyaien O. Conner (center) presents an excerpt from her research on disparities faced by POC LGBT elders.

Panel facilitator Bonnie Harrison, MSHC (foreground).

The Honorable US Senator Benjamin Cruz of Guam, hit home the need for the federal government to recognize marriage and create equality for the LGBT community, specifically for seniors.  None of the 1400 benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples are provided to LGBT couples, which in turn has dire implications on LGBT seniors who have lost their partners and are left with income losses, sometimes as much as 70%.

Senator Benjamin Cruz and Brian de Vries, PhD.

Trans-elder activist Helena Bushong contributed to the dialogue on health and economic disparities within the Transgender community, and the complications of living with comorbidities, as the lack of research in Transgender communities can prove to be fatal in some cases.

Brian de Vries, PhD, Mario E. Tapia, Helena Bushong and Dr. Kyaien O. Conner.

Nancy K. Bereano, retired publisher, gave the keynote address about the value of community and support as we age.  She referenced a dear friend, who at 62, was diagnosed with cancer and built a network of friends to support her with the quality of her end of life process.  GRIOT Circle has taken those recommendations to heart and will incorporate them into our Buddy-2-Buddy program going forward.  This area was the missing link in the codification of this particular program.

Nancy K. Bereano.

This session sparked thought-provoking questions around organizational self-identity, as well as capacity levels available to support the future development of the network.  Some of the questions participants presented and attempted to address include: Who will develop a mission and policy statement?  Are we going to be volunteer-driven, how is that going to look and how exactly will the committees be formed?

Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Dir. LGBT Services, Muslims for Progressive Values.

How do we provide funding, technical and organizational support to each other on a national level (i.e. AARP/ ASA relationships)?  What would those relationships look like?   How do we handle the issue of members’ intellectual property sharing, as well as, broader issues of information sharing, including research findings, programs and services to promote the strength of organizations in the network?

Taike S. Brundige and Curtis Lipscomb applaud Dr. Conner's impressive research work.

Rev. Jaynce Jackson, Mandy Carter, Jewelle Gomez and Chezia Carraway, LCSW, PHE.

Please revisit our blog for additional reports, outcomes, updates and first-person offerings from participants at the First National POC LGBT National Convening.

AARP ADDRESSES POC LGBT CONVENING

Successful aging requires access to approximate housing, quality health care, and supportive services – needs that will challenge and transform the system entrusted with providing these services for a rapidly expanding aging population.   At the same time, the growing numbers of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) seniors and their increasing degree of openness and demands for fair and equal treatment are further challenging the elder care system to meet the needs of all seniors. This shift signals the urgent need to radically transform and redesign gerontological and geriatric health care paradigms.

Workshops on day one at the First National Convening of LGBT Aging Professionals.

Older Americans are also growing more radically and ethnically diverse.  In 2000, an estimated 84 percent of persons aging 65 and older were non-Hispanic white, 8 percent were Hispanic, 2 percent were Asian/Pacific Islanders, and less than 1 percent was Native American/Alaska Native.

Brendalynn Goodall, MSW and Carmen Vazquez, Coordinator, AIDS Institute.

By 2050, estimates indicate that approximately 64 percent of persons age 65 or older will be non-Hispanic white, 16 percent will be Hispanic, 12 percent will be non-Hispanic black, and 7 percent will be Asian/Pacific Islanders.  Service providers must take this growing diversity into account as they strive to provide quality services that genuinely meet seniors needs.

Curtis Lipscomb, Executive Dir., KICK--The Agency for LGBT African Americans.

All elders contend with many of the same aging-related issues, however, LGBT seniors and people of color (POC) LGBT in particular face many unique challenges. These seniors are “thrice-Hidden” due to social discrimination on levels: ageism, racism, homophobia and heteroism.

Benjamin J. F. Cruz, Chairman Committee on Youth, Cultural Affairs, Procurement, General Governmental Operations, and Public Broadcasting.

LGBT seniors often face anti-gay to gender discrimination by mainstream elders care providers that renders them “invisible” and impedes their access to vital services.  At the same time, LGBT elders frequently confront ageism within the LGBT community and the organizations created to serve the community’s needs.

Jewelle Gomez and Christopher Bates, CEO, PACHA.

This First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging is a collective declaration of the urgent need to reframe and transform the conventional “aging” health care landscape as it directly impacts POC LGBT elders.  We must move beyond problem solving in isolation to forging sustainable and innovative collaboration among aging, health and LGBT network.

Nancy K. Bereano (center).

It is essential to collectively advocate for the integration of both ethno-geriatrics and adult transformational learning into all aspects of health care delivery for POC LGBT elders.  This is a crucial time for advocates to communicate, hold each other accountable and present a untied front, especially during this period of national debate over the future of federal programs critical to the well-being of seniors.

Elita Rosillo-Christiansen

VP, Talent Management, Diversity & Inclusion

Chief Diversity Officer, HR Group

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

FIRST NATIONAL POC LGBT CONVENING BEGINS

Oct. 11, 2011, Washington, D.C. — Professionals on aging in the people of color LGBT community arrived in the nation’s capital today for the First National POC LGBT Convening on Aging.  The two-day convening intends to build a network that strengthens alliances and fosters ongoing collaborations and broader discourse on issues, challenges and policies that effect the elder POC LGBT community.  The conference is a collaboration of the American Society on Aging‘s LGBT Aging Issues Network (LAIN) and GRIOT Circle, and is hosted at Brickfield Center with generous support from AARP and funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

The networking and opening reception allowed colleagues to meet and greet, some for the first time, and break bread together, before tackling the itinerary of workshops, small group sessions and facilitated panel dialogues on Wednesday and Thursday.  The evening closed with attendees screening three short film projects that document the trials and triumphs of some members of the elder POC LGBT community.  Michelle Alcedo of Openhouse in San Francisco showed her work-in-progress, GRIOT Circle shared the first installment of its Elders Speak series, and Hope Barrett of Center on Halsted in Chicago showed a portion of their documentary on LGBT elders living with HIV.

Helena Bushong, Trans-elder Community Advocate/Activist and Jewelle Gomez, Dir., Horizons Foundation.

Glen Francis, Exec. Dir., GRIOT Circle and Nancy Bereano.

Brian de Vries, Ph.D., prof. of gerontology, San Francisco State University, Dion Wong, coordinator, Gay Asian Pacific Alliance, and Scott Haitsuka, BASW, MSW intern.

Nancy Hinds, Brendalyn R. Goodall, MSW, and Marta Ames, Deputy Dir., Senior Service America.

Glen Francis, E.D., GRIOT Circle, Pauline Park, Chair, New York Assoc. for Gender Rights Advocacy, Helena Bushong, Trans-elder Community Advocate/Activist, Michelle Alcedo, Hope Barrett, MPH, Center on Halsted, and Scott Haitsuka, BASW, MSW intern.

Curtis Lipscomb, Exec. Dir., KICK-The Ageny for LGBT African-Americans, Donald Burch and (at far right) Nancy Bereano.

Anthony McPhatter, Fiscal Manager, GRIOT Circle and Aisha C. Young, M.A. AAC, Pres. & CEO, African-Americans in Gerontology.

Mario E. Tapia, E.D., Pres. & CEO, Latino Center on Aging, Laurens Van Sluytman, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Social Work, Morgan State College and Bonnie Harrison, MSHC, LMHC, Dir. Program Services and Evaluation, GRIOT Circle.

Nancy Hinds and Don Kao, Director, Project Reach.

National Convening participants at opening reception view short films presented by the Center on Halsted in Chicago, GRIOT Circle of Brooklyn, and Michelle Alcedo of Openhouse-San Francisco.

GRIOT Gratitude

 

50 Best Companies for Workers Over 50 – AARP

1. Scripps Health

2. Cornell University

3. National Institutes of Health

4. First Horizon National Corporation

5. West Virginia University

6. The YMCA of Greater Rochester

7. Atlantic Health System

8. Mercy Health System

9. Bon Secours Richmond Health System

10. The Aerospace Corporation

 

TO SEE ENTIRE LIST, CLICK ON THIS LINK –> Best Employers Winners 2011 – AARP

AARP Survey: Soft Economy Stimulates Less Sex

AARP commissioned a survey on sexual attitudes and practices among the 45+ population in August 2009, similar to earlier surveys conducted in 1999 and 2004.

Results show that the sexual revolution continues in the older population as Boomers continue to age.  Opposition to sex among those who are not married is down by half over the past 10 years, and belief that there is too much emphasis on sex in our culture today is down since 2004.

On the other hand, this push to a social environment that is more favorable to widespread sexual activity has run head on into an economic environment that is adding to stress and financial anxiety, factors which previous research has shown to be strongly related to sexual satisfaction.  Whether because of this environment or not, both the frequency of sexual intercourse and overall sexual satisfaction are down close to ten points since 2004, while the frequency of self-stimulation and sexual thoughts and fantasies have not changed.

Men continue to think about sex more often than women, see it as more important to their quality of life, engage in sexual activities more often, are less satisfied if without a partner, and are twice as likely as women (21% versus 11%) to admit to sexual activity outside their relationship.

TO READ MORE, CLICK HERE –> AARP Sex Survey, Erectile Dysfunction, Sexual Habits of Boomers, Condom Use