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4 posts from December 2017

December 22, 2017

SAGE Harlem: New Year, New Space

 

SAGE Harlem has moved! As of Wednesday, January 10, 2018, SAGE Harlem will be located at 220 West 143rd Street (entrance mid-block on 142nd St. between Frederick Douglass Blvd. and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd). See the map below (click to enlarge).

Sage harlem map

 

Download the January event highlights and meal calendar. The full events calendar is below (click to enlarge):

Harlem calendar

 

Participants can also visit our four other SAGE Centers in the city: 

Edie Windsor SAGE Center (formerly SAGE Center Midtown)
305 Seventh Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 646-576-8669

SAGE Center Bronx
Union Community Health Center
260 East 188th Street
Bronx, NY 10458
Phone: 718-960-3354

SAGE-Pride Center of Staten Island
25 Victory Boulevard, 3rd Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301
Phone: 718-808-1365

SAGE-GRIOT
GRIOT Circle, Inc.
25 Flatbush Avenue, 5th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: 718-246-2775

Or visit other nearby senior centers:

ABSW NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
221 WEST 107TH STREET

AP RANDOLPH SENIOR CENTER 
120 WEST 140TH STREET

ARC CENTRAL HARLEM SENIOR CENTER
120 WEST 140TH STREET

BEATRICE LEWIS
34 WEST 134TH STREET

BETHUNE SENIOR CENTER
2005 AMSTERDAM AVENUE

CANAAN NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
10 LENOX AVENUE

CARTER BURDEN ISC
312 EAST 109 STREET

CARVER NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER 
55 EAST 102ND STREET

CENTRAL HARLEM KENNEDY SENIOR CENTER
34 WEST 134TH STREET

CORSI HOUSE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
307 EAST 116TH STREET

COTHOA LUNCHEON CLUB NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
2005 AMSTERDAM AVENUE

EAST HARLEM NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
150 EAST 121ST STREET

GAYLORD WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
2029 SECOND AVENUE

GODDARD RIVERSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
593 COLUMBUS AVENUE

HAMILTON GRANGE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
420 WEST 145TH STREET

JACKIE ROBINSON NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
1301 AMSTERDAM AVENUE

JEFFERSON HOUSES NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
2205 FIRST AVENUE

LEHMAN SOCIAL CLUB
1641 MADISON AVENUE

MANHATTANVILLE RIVERSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
3333E BROADWAY

PHILIP RANDOLPH NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
108 WEST 146TH STREET

PSS HARLEM NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
18 MT. MORRIS PARK WEST

UBA BEATRICE LEWIS NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
2322 THIRD AVENUE

UBA MARY BETHUNE NEIGHBORHOOD SENIOR CENTER
1970 AMSTERDAM AVENUE

December 19, 2017

Pat Baldwin: Advocating for LGBTQ Elders in Michigan

Pat_BaldwinFive years ago, Pat Baldwin walked into the office of the executive director at the Hannan Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the dignity of elders in the state of Michigan, and took a seat. Pat, who is the director of the Hannan Center for Lifelong Learning, wanted to speak with the foundation’s director about an issue close to her heart—an issue for which she knew Hannan was uniquely suited to make a difference.

Having worked with older adults and the aging population at Hannan for the past 17 years, Pat recalls that she had seen an increase in troubling situations where LGBTQ people faced rampant discrimination or, more often, experienced almost complete invisibility.

"In the Detroit area, I knew that in senior centers and places where seniors go for programming, there wasn't really any mention at all of LGBTQ elders," Pat says. "I wanted to change that. I wanted to concentrate on being inclusive to the elders in the LGBTQ community.”

The Hannan Foundation, which has a long history as an innovative, trailblazing leader committed to the needs of LGBTQ older adults, saw the gap in the Detroit area and set to work on filling it.

"At the board level, we started with something as simple as changing the language in our publications to be as inclusive as possible to LGBTQ people," Pat explains. "We started including language that we were 'open and affirming,' and we took the time to tell our participants what this all means. We changed HR information, made sure we as an organization took a proactive stance for LGBTQ people in our non-discrimination policy, provided diversity and inclusion training, and worked to be sure LGBTQ elders were comfortable."

This attention can help a person recognize their own self-worth and feel a sense of belonging to a community, Pat explains. And while many LGBTQ young people have been embraced and supported by friends and family members, LGBTQ elders grew up in a different generation where they may have lacked a support system, experienced financial disparities, or feared reprisal if they came out as LGBTQ.

"I've had LGBTQ people tell me that they feel very comfortable here, and that makes me feel good," Pat says. "I want to be sure everyone is cared for."

Pushing for Non-Discrimination Protections at the Local Level 

Even though advocates like Pat have been stepping up for their communities across the nation, the reality is that in Michigan, just like in 31 other states, LGBTQ people are not fully and explicitly protected from discrimination.

"I was appalled to know that here in Michigan, the Elliott-Larsen Act did not cover the civil rights of people in the LGBTQ community," Pat says. As a lifelong resident of Detroit, Pat says it’s important to her that this situation change. She's proud of her city and her state, and she wants to ensure that no one fears discrimination in their local community.

Pat Baldwin Kara Sprague

Pat credits an attorney friend with introducing her to some of the challenges LGBTQ elders endure because of the scarcity of non-discrimination laws. "She was the spark that lit my fire," Pat says about her friend, recalling an anecdote about a transgender person whose guardianship was granted to someone who did not support their gender identity and subsequently saw their hormones withheld and gender-affirming medical care held hostage.

"Some of these stories made me think about how that would feel—how personnel and staff treat people sometimes, and how we could do better," she says. "Then I started being more cognizant, aware, and intentional about wanting to be a better advocate."

Pat has been an advocate for LGBTQ people in Michigan for many years, most prominently as a board member of SAGE Metro-Detroit. SAGE is the nation’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT elders, and Pat says she is thrilled to help it make a positive impact.

"I'm very proud and very humbled to be a part of SAGE," Pat says. "This is very important work, and I'm so happy to be a part of it."

Today, part of that work is focused on securing inclusive protections for the LGBTQ community in Michigan, whether it’s creating an equitable workplace, finding welcoming housing, or seeking business services.

"It would be monumental if the Elliott-Larsen Act were amended to prohibit discrimination based on LGBTQ identity," Pat says, although she adds that enforcing the law involves its own set of challenges. Increasing public support and educating more Michiganders about LGBTQ people and the discrimination they face is a central need. "But if we passed the law, it would show that we're a very forward-thinking state and that we have recognized that this is the right thing to do. It should have been done a long time ago."

Shaped by Family & Faith

Pat is an ally of the LGBTQ community who identifies as straight, is married to a man, and has four children and five grandchildren. What’s more, she recognizes the importance of non-LGBTQ people standing up and speaking out in favor of equal treatment.

She recalls one story that illustrates the importance of treating everyone equally. When Pat was younger, her cousin began transitioning from male to female, and at one point, they sat Pat and her mother down to announce the news.

"My mom was very nonchalant about it all, and after my cousin talked and said what she needed, my mom said, 'I love you. I want you to be happy, whatever that is.' I really appreciated that," Pat says. “For her to say that was good at the time, of course, but it was also important for me to hear that. It was nice to see that my mom was happy that my cousin was happy to be the person that they're meant to be. That set a good example for me." 

Pat also says she finds strength in her faith. "I know that the Jesus I serve is one who loves everyone for who they are," she says. Pat recognizes that the official policies of some religious officials contradict that view, but she sees a change in the future. "The bottom line is that people from the LGBTQ community should be able to be their authentic selves," she says. "You have to just stay true to what you know." —Adam Polaski, Freedom for All Americans

December 5, 2017

Equality Is Not a Cakewalk for LGBT Elders

SAGE’s Director of Advocacy, Aaron Tax, and Dr. Imani Woody—LGBTQ activist and founder of Mary’s House, the first LGTBQ senior housing development in Washington, D.C.—spoke at the ACLU’s rally on the Supreme Court steps before opening arguments for the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado on December 5, 2017. Below are their remarks.


IMG_20171205_091436832_HDR

Equality Is Not a Cakewalk for LGBT Elders

Good morning! I’m Aaron Tax, the Director of Advocacy at SAGE. We are the nation’s largest and oldest advocacy and services organization for LGBT older adults.

Why are we here today? It’s because the opportunity for LGBT older adults to grow old with the dignity and support they need and deserve is fundamentally at risk in this case.    

When LGBT older adults get a meal at a senior center, enter long-term care, or seek funeral arrangements for a loved one, make no mistake, none of those institutions are making a statement about LGBT people.

Why? Because these institutions are open to the public. And they and their employees are simply serving the public.

We all agree businesses can make decisions about what kinds of products or services they provide—but they cannot pick and choose whom they serve. A senior center can choose to open its doors to seniors, it can offer canasta or bingo, or, let’s hope, something much more interesting. But it can’t decide to serve only people of certain religions or races, or specific sexual orientations or gender identities, but not others.   

If we allow businesses to exempt themselves from laws barring discrimination, we’d return to a time when businesses open to the public engaged in outright discrimination against people for all sorts of reasons. 

We, as a nation, decided to close that chapter of our history, which is why we have laws that ensure businesses don’t discriminate among customers based on who they are.

At SAGE, we know that LGBT older adults can’t afford to go back to a time when businesses, aging providers, and others, could display a sign in their window saying, “LGBT elders not served here.” That’s not the society we want to live in. And perhaps more importantly, our Constitution doesn’t protect that kind of discrimination. Thank you.


IMG_20171205_091538735_HDR

We Cannot Turn the Clock Back to a Time When Discrimination Was Legal

I’m Imani Woody. I’m a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and an elder lesbian of African descent.

This case is a personal one to me, because we all know that it goes beyond cake and wedding planners. My ability to go to a restaurant, catch a cab, go to the doctor, or even just go to the movies with my wife are threatened if people can use their religion as a license to discriminate.

In the ’60s, people used race to discriminate against my family and not allow my mother, who was deathly ill, to be treated at a hospital that was nearby. Because of this discrimination, my father drove us—his five children and his wife—to a hospital that accepted colored people. However, it was too late to save my mother; she died that night. I was 10.

And when my brother died of complications associated with AIDS, the funeral home refused to pick up his body from the hospital—this was after my father had pre-paid funeral arrangements.

So, I know firsthand the havoc discrimination can cause on families and individuals. No matter who you are—you and I, and everyone here today—has a right to equal treatment under the law.

Many LGBT older adults are not as lucky as I am. I am fortunate to have a wife and family. And I have a home. But many LGBT elders can’t be here today on the steps of the Supreme Court. Many of us don’t have family to rely on. Many can’t get to the grocery store, can’t get a meal, or can’t get to the doctor without the assistance of paid businesses. Unfortunately, many of the people and organizations we rely on as we get older are religiously affiliated.  

I don’t know about you, but I know I don’t want to live my life—and I know I can’t live my life—in a world where I never know if my next meal or my next visit to the doctor might be stopped in its tracks because someone wants to use their religion as a license to discriminate against me—because I’m a woman, because I’m Black, or because I’m a lesbian.

The Constitution does not give landlords, senior centers, nursing homes, or hospitals the right to put a sign outside that says “Straight people only.” That’s not my country. And I know that most of us don’t want to live in an America like that either.

By being here today, I’m giving voice to other LGBTQ/SGL elders who share their plight and can’t be here today. And I’m asking the Supreme Court to do the right thing and not turn the clock back to the time of earlier legal discrimination, where children lost their mother, a father lost consideration for a burial, and where people lose their quality of life because discrimination is again legalized. Thank you.

December 4, 2017

LGBT Home Care Workers

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Did you know that LGBT older adults make up 2.7 million of the quickly growing aging population in the United States? By 2030, that number is expected to more than double.

Now more than ever before, there is a high demand for caregiving within the LGBT community. That’s why SAGE is conducting research about home care workers – but we need your help.

Will you participate in a 15-minute phone interview with a member of SAGE’s staff about home care workers? If you’ve hired a home care worker for yourself or a loved one in the past few years, or anticipate needing to so do, please email care@sageusa.org. Thank you for your willingness to speak with us!

Yes, I'll participate in a 15-minute phone interview! >>