Today, August 3, 2018, the New York Times celebrates the birth of Maggie Kuhn, founder of Gray Panthers. Appropriately so. The passion, effectiveness and advocacy of Maggie Kuhn’s life is needed today. Gray Panthers confronts ageism and confronts the wrong-headed developments in the world. Today, we face the onslaught of hatred, lack of compassion, and the destruction of all that is good in the USA. Gray Panthers fights back. And, we should follow the example of Maggie Kuhn –
“Power should not be concentrated in the hands of so few, and powerlessness in the hands of so many.” Maggie Kuhn
NY Times Back Story
Scott Stewart/Associated Press
If anyone could prove that age is nothing but a number, it was Maggie Kuhn.
The activist and founder of the Gray Panthers, an American advocacy organization for the elderly, was born on this day in Buffalo in 1905.
In 1970, after working for the Presbyterian Church in New York for a quarter of a century, Miss Kuhn retired, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 65.
As a result, she worked with fellow retirees to start a group that would be called the Gray Panthers (a reference to the Black Panthers), which worked to bridge the gap between the young and the old and addressed other social issues.
Miss Kuhn remained involved with the organization until her death at age 89 in 1995.
“I’m an old woman,” she told The Times in 1972. “I have gray hair, many wrinkles and arthritis in both hands. And I celebrate my freedom from bureaucratic restraints that once held me.”
She embraced her age and was unapologetic about it.
On her 85th birthday, she told a group of seniors in Vermont in 1991: “I made a sacred vow that I would do something outrageous, at least once a week.”
Claire Moses wrote today’s Back Story.
Ageism creeps up in so many arenas. The current threats to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid represent ageist responses to challenges. It's essential that Gray Panthers stand up to these backward-thinking initiatives. Please RSVP below so that we can be assured that Gray Panthers is represented. Looking forward to your voice being raised in support of Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.
On July 30 we mark the 53rd anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, and on Aug. 14 the 83rdanniversary of Social Security. Taken together, these three programs form the bedrock of our nation’s historic social contract and safety net, and of our health care system. For decades, millions of New Yorkers have benefited with better health and longevity, and our families protected from financial ruin.
Yet these programs are now facing very serious threats, if not outright attacks, from President Trump and his congressional allies. They want to cut and privatize Medicare. They want to cut, block grant, and “re-welfare-ize” Medicaid. And we know they have long wanted to privatize Social Security and cut benefits, but are too afraid to say so out loud (...yet.)
Why? To pay for their new tax cut law, and to give the super-rich EVEN MORE tax cuts.
This fall, New Yorkers can vote to protect and improve Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other health care and social programs. It’s our job to register voters, help them understand what’s at stake in this fall’s elections, and get them to the polls.
Join us on Thursday afternoon August 9th at 2:30 p.m. at the United Federation of Teachers to celebrate these cherished programs, and to recommit ourselves to fighting to protect them for the decades to come. We’ve all paid into these programs with every paycheck and income tax bill.
Come hear some inspiring speakers, share your own story, and enjoy some cake and refreshments!
Here’s where to find all the details:
What you can do to make our celebration a success:
· Plan to attend – RSVPs are essential so that we can plan for food!
· Spread the word!
· Let us know ASAP if you’d like your own group or union listed as a co-sponsor.
Looking forward to seeing everyone then!
Gray Panthers – making a big impact on the global stage. At the UN just more than a week ago (July 13, 2018), Sylvia Beales, representing Gray Panthers, had been selected as the “Lead Discussant” in an important session on the importance of “Leaving No One Behind” in global development. Attached are the remarks she delivered to all countries at the UN. As one of the globe’s most effective advocates on the rights of older persons, we are so proud to have Sylvia working with us. She always makes sense and convinces others to better address the rights and concerns of older persons. Thank you to Sylvia.
Gray Panthers vigorously represents the concerns of older persons and all who are aging. This year, at the UN's High Level Political Forum, we made inroads. We represent the people who need assistance. In this video clip, Jack Kupferman is asking a direct and pointed question to the country of Andorra. The world is listening. And, you can, too.
There will be a series of notices describing our constant efforts to confront ageism at the global, national and local level. Listen for yourself.
Gray Panthers is opposed to efforts of this presidential administration to dismantle and destroy the Social Security programs and other essential aspects of America’s safety net programs. Today’s evil doing is the Executive Order seeking to make administrative law judges political appointees as opposed to being based on merit based experience. Because these Administrative Law Judges review cases of older persons and the disabled, this change represents just another effort at creating ageist policies targeting older persons. ALJs review cases of Social Security Disability and other aspects of the Social Security Act. Attached is the Gray Panthers letter to the US House of Representatives Rules Committee members opposing this terrible Executive Order.
Death Cafes Growing in Popularity!
On July 5, 2018, Gray Panthers NYC co-hosted a well-attended Death Café with Coming of Age NYC & Circle of Care. A lively group discussed death and surrounding topics in a comfortable space with food and drink, with no set agenda for the conversations that took place. This kind of café was founded by Jon Underwood based on the work of Bernard Crettaz, with Lizzy Miles as the first person to offer the Death Café in the US.
For more information on Death Cafés, please visit http://deathcafe.com.
July 9, 2018
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the world’s blueprint for social, economic and environmental development up to year 2030. Gray Panthers has been an active and effective advocate in the global push for the rights of older persons in this comprehensive agenda.
The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) is an annual review of the progress of these goals. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf/2018
Held for two weeks at United Nations headquarters in NYC, hundreds of NGOs from around the world seek to participate at each HLPF. Gray Panthers is one of the few NGOs speaking specifically for older persons, along with AARP, HelpAge International, International Longevity Center, and others.
We confront ageism by bringing the voices of older persons to this important global convocation. Below are some of the concrete ways that Gray Panthers strives to achieve this goal:
- Frances Zainoeddin, Gray Panthers Steering Committee member, has worked tirelessly with the Stakeholder Group on Ageing ensuring that all reporting deadlines are met; that the constituency of older persons gets significant attention in the process, and as many speaking opportunities as possible.
- Frances is an active and respected member of the planning groups for the HLPF so that the voices of NGOs remain powerful at that level. Her influence is notable.
- Organizing an important panel discussion, Gray Panthers is collaborating with 2 organizations (Global Coalition against Poverty and Action for Sustainable Development) to educate representatives on the issue of: Removing the barriers for all women – including girls and older women and women with disabilities – to water, sanitation and hygiene, with a focus on their safety and security.
- As an active member of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing, Gray Panthers has helped plan the event of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing: “Building inclusive and resilient cities in an ageing world.” This is particularly relevant to HLPF’s focus this year on Sustainable and Resilient Cities.
- Gray Panthers led the writing and finalizing of the position paper of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing https://www.stakeholdergrouponageing.org/File%20Library/Position%20Papers/Final-SGA-paper-for-HLPF--2-.pdf . This paper focuses on the importance of identifying solutions for older persons in the urban environment.
- On July 13, 2018, Sylvia Beales, global ageing leader, and Gray Panthers consultant, will be the Lead Discussant during one of the most important Thematic Reviews attended by all Member States. She will address “Leaving No One Behind” in this ambitious global agenda, using the situation of older persons as an example of those constituencies which have experienced marginalization. She is speaking as a representative of Gray Panthers. This is big!
- Gray Panthers is coordinating with other NGOs to establish carefully-crafted questions to be asked of Member States with regard to their progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Gray Panthers interns will be working hard to support all efforts to assure that the voice of older persons is loud and proud at this year’s HLPF.
- Gray Panthers is so proud to be a member of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing. We support every effort of the SGA and work ceaselessly to maintain the focus on the concerns of older persons. https://www.stakeholdergrouponageing.org
- Gray Panthers is an active member of Action for Sustainable Development. https://action4sd.org and has a seat in the Facilitation Group of A4SD (similar to a Board of Directors and very active at the HLPF.) Gray Panthers is supporting their efforts by helping organize various educational seminars, helping to consolidate notes and disseminate notes, and promoting the concerns of older persons to advocates who might not otherwise consider these important issues.
Gray Panthers with Coming of Age NYC & Circle of Care - Death Cafe on Thursday, July 5, 2018 from 3:00 - 5:00 PM
June 26, 2018
Gray Panthers is honored to participate in the first official meeting of a new global commission on “Ageing and Age-Disaggregated Data” held on June 26, 2018 in Chichester, England. Reliable data on older persons is often too hard to find. Around the world, information on older persons is not event collected.
This is, perhaps, one of the most important methods to confront ageism. At its core, ageism is the invisibility of older persons. Without reliable data, there cannot be effective policies and programs for older persons.
Enthusiasm is high. Many countries and NGOs are eager to participate. 38 countries are represented at this first meeting. Data collection is complex and may be boring to many, yet the accompanying standard of expertise here is very high and always careful.
Gray Panthers will be among the NGO’s working toward improving the quality of data and information regarding older persons. What an honor for us.
One of the most important innovations in the Sustainable Development Goals had been the requirement that several dimensions, including by age, should separate data.
Gray Panthers had been intimately involved in the advocacy to assure that the concerns of older persons would be explicitly included in the Sustainable Development Goals. We can now draw a line from the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals to this new global commission.
Would you like to help us make the world a less ageist one?
Looking forward to seeing you at our next Gray Panthers Steering Committee Meeting: Thursday, July 5, 2018 - 6:00 - 7:30 PM 271 Madison Ave Ste 1408, New York, NY 10016 (Between 39th & 40th Streets).
For full details, kindly RSVP:
Tel: (917) 535 0457; email: firstname.lastname@example.org