The Concept

We are forming JUST ELDERS - EAST BAY as a social, political, economic, and cultural action initiative made up of people over 50 years old.

Some Issues

Older Americans have a crucial stake in combating the continuing attempts to eliminate and Affordable Care Act, to cut Medicare and Medicaid, and to reduce or eliminate Social Security.

The Context

In 2016, approximately 110 million people in the U.S. were over 50 years old (AARP). That’s 32% of the U.S. population and 43% of the voting age population. (U.S. Census)

A Strategy

In American culture the all-to-frequent assumption is that after people reach retirement age, they have finished their productive life. We are basing JUST ELDERS - EAST BAY on the opposite premise.

Elevator Pitch

JUST ELDERS – EAST BAY is a social action organization for people over 50, affiliated with the JUST ELDERS national network.

Many of us have long histories of successful political, social, and economic activism. All of us are looking for ways to become much more effective in opposing the current direction in Washington and in building strong examples of an alternative progressive agenda.

We are elders building an honest, just, equitable, and sustainable society for everyone now and for the future.

If you are over 50, we hope you will join with us.

Just Elders - East Bay

The Concept

We are forming JUST ELDERS – EAST BAY as a social, political, economic, and cultural action organization made up of people over 50 years old.

National Affiliation: We are affiliated with the national JUST ELDERS network that is working to build a multi-racial, multi-cultural, value-based movement of seniors throughout the United States .

We want to be in community with each other while resisting dangerous political realities and working for a more just society.

 

Vision: For JUST ELDERS – EAST BAY, we are embracing the vision that we are elders building an honest, just, equitable, and sustainable society for everyone now and in the future.

Mission Statement: As our mission, we are seeking to:

  • Acquire an understanding of what makes for an elder-friendly city and encourage Oakland and other East Bay Cities to become optimally elder-friendly communities.
  • Become well-informed about policies, legislation and candidates addressing issues of concern to elders and develop ways to organize and mobilize support for them.
  • Identify groups with visions and missions compatible with ours and pursue forming coalitions with them to work together in relation to issues of mutual concern.

Local Action: We hope to create an organization of many hundreds of older Americans who are organized and can mobilize to take action and have a significant influence in the East Bay and beyond.

The Context

Older Americans: In 2016, approximately 110 million people in the U.S. were over 50 years old (AARP). That’s 32% of the U.S. population and 43% of the voting age population. (U.S. Census)

Unlike many places in the world, the U.S. does not have a culture that respects and values its older members and that recognizes the experience and wisdom that often accompany age. Elders often face ageism, age discrimination, isolation, and even elder abuse.

However, a very large proportion of older Americans lived through the 1960s/1970s, the last era of large-scale social activism in the U.S.

In this generation of Baby Boomers/Pre- Boomers/Near-Boomers, there is a deep reservoir of leadership experience acquired through participation in social movements, socially responsible businesses, unions, and political campaigns.

Engaging Seniors: Some older Americans are fully engaged. But many more of us are looking for more effective ways to make our voices heard and our actions felt.

We are forming JUST ELDERS – EAST BAY as a vehicle to help enable this large constituency to help catalyze a powerful Elders’ Rights Movement and enable this large constituency to weigh in more effectively in the East Bay and elsewhere on the issues of particular concern to us and on the issues that affect everyone.

We want to build a society that works for us and for our children and our grandchildren.

SOME OF THE ISSUES

Combating the Current Washington Agenda: Older Americans have a crucial stake in resisting the continuing attempts to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, to cut Medicare and Medicaid, and to reduce or eliminate Social Security.  However, we also have a powerful interest in joining with other constituencies to fight against the actions affecting everyone  that are being taken to:

  • Wipe out environmental protections and abandon the fight against climate change.
  • Gut consumer protections and initiate significant financial deregulation.
  • Eliminate a woman’s right to choose.
  • Prevent adoption of reasonable gun control.
  • Initiate large-scale deportation of undocumented immigrants.
  • Institute massive tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

Building a Positive Response in California: At the same time, we believe that it is not enough just to fight against what we oppose. It is equally important to provide vigorous support for the type of government, economy, and society that takes us in the opposite direction.

California can lead the nation by offering a forward-looking vision, a powerful strategy, and a substantial record of accomplishments on climate change, health care, immigration, and other issues.

However, the state can go much further and older Californians can play a crucial role in relation to these and many other issues.

Acting Locally: In the Bay Area, there are many issues that particularly affect those of us who are older and there are many other important issues that we can impact, such as:

  • The need for much more affordable housing in general and for senior housing in particular.
  • The fight against indiscriminate mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, many of whom are elder caregivers.
  • The necessity for businesses, particularly tech businesses, to employ a diverse, inclusive workforce not characterized by race, gender, or age discrimination and to produce a positive impact on the communities where they are located.

A STRATEGY

In American culture, the all-too-frequent assumption is that after people reach retirement age, they have finished their productive life. It’s time for them to be put out to pasture.

Engaging Elders: We are basing JUST ELDERS – EAST BAY on the opposite premise. Once people reach retirement age, they potentially have the ability, resources, experience and wisdom to address society’s problems and opportunities at least as effectively as young people who are in school and mature adults who have to spend the bulk of their time engaged with their families and their jobs.

Older Americans can be among the most valuable active constituencies of any age group because they usually have a lot of time to participate and the discipline and understanding with which to make their participation count.

Resisting Anti-Senior Actions, Building Alternatives: We hope JUST ELDERS – EAST BAY will grow organically based on the contributions and the focuses of its members, creating an engine of empowered older Californians/Americans.

We hope to focus that engine on resisting attacks on programs and policies important to seniors and on building positive political, economic, and social examples locally, regionally, and at the state and federal levels.

We plan to take action and join coalitions working for: candidates who can change the majority in the U. S. Congress; more affordable housing; Medicare for All; gun control; protection against indiscriminate deportation; removing corporate money from politics; and equal opportunities for elders and all of our diverse populations.

Older America is a sleeping giant. Empowered elders can play a profound role in resisting anti-senior actions and  building the society that we need for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. Empowered older people can change the world very much for the better.

Elders to Elders
A Political Agenda

We are elders concerned about our future and the future of our country, so we have formulated this Elders to Elders Political Agenda to present some of the key issues that are essential to us and our families.

We are reaching out to other elders proposing that we join together to work for candidates committed to advancing the needs of older Americans as presented here.

Medicare. Elders rely on Medicare for our health care. As a result of the recent tax cuts primarily benefiting corporations and the wealthy, federal deficits are ballooning, leading to renewed calls for reductions in funding for Medicare. We vigorously oppose any cuts to Medicare and we oppose candidates who will vote for such cuts. We strongly support candidates who pledge to maintain full funding for Medicare and full Medicare coverage for all seniors.

Medicaid. Up to 40% of us who are over 65 will eventually need long-term care. Medicaid (in California Medi-Cal) is the primary public financing mechanism for long-term care. There have been repeated attempts to eliminate Medicaid recently. The soon to be trillion-dollar annual budget deficit will further encourage these attempts. Failure to support and expand Medicaid will put additional financial burdens on our families. We strongly oppose any cuts to Medicaid and we support candidates committed to full funding for Medicaid and expansion of its coverage to include allowances for assisted care in our own homes.

Social Security. Most of us rely on Social Security for some or all of our retirement income. Cuts would be devastating. Privatization would put our retirement income at risk in the stock market. If this were done, another market crash like 2008/9 would cause older Americans unrecoverable financial devastation. Social Security is our self-funded savings plan. It reflects a profound commitment to our dignity as older Americans. It needs to be fully funded and needs to keep up with inflation. We support candidates who wholeheartedly reject privatization of Social Security and support reasonable cost of living increases.

Climate Change. California is burning with the worst wildfires in the state’s history, clearly caused or made worse by drought and other climate changes. At the very same time, the federal government is seeking to eliminate environmental protections and abandon the fight against global warming. And now the President is trying to eliminate the right of California and dozens of other states to establish our own auto emission rules. We support candidates who recognize the reality of climate change and who will act to fight it and to protect California’s right to lead that fight.

Affordable Housing. Elders make up an alarmingly high percentage of the homeless population. To address homelessness, we need anti-displacement policies and funding to help keep elders on fixed incomes in their homes. Along with more housing in general, we need to build the affordable housing needed to reduce the extreme housing shortage we face. We support candidates who will act to get affordable housing built and work to prevent homelessness and help homeless seniors become housed again.

Legal Immigration. The federal government is trying to limit all kinds of immigration into the U.S. However, legal immigrants are a central factor in the workforce for home health care and in senior facilities. If this workforce is reduced or eliminated, elders and their families will feel the impact acutely. We support candidates who recognize the need for legal immigration and who support treating immigrants with the dignity and respect all human beings deserve.

Election Integrity. All US intelligence sources and bipartisan Congressional leaders agree that Russia illegally interfered in the 2016 elections and Russia is trying to do so again right now. The current federal response is much too weak. The integrity of our elections must be protected. We support candidates who will take the protection of U.S. elections seriously and who will hold accountable those who act illegally to interfere in our electoral processes.

We hold our futures and the futures of our children and our grandchildren in our hands. Let us act together now to elect the representatives who will work with us to protect that future.

 

Originally formulated by JUST ELDERS EAST BAY

For more information, please contact:
Barry Shapiro: shapirobar@earthlink.net;
510-339-9861
James Hurd Nixon: jameshurdnixon@gmail.com;
510-377-7224

MEETINGS AND EVENTS

JUST ELDERS – EAST BAY meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 11:30 am at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1707 Gouldin Road, Oakland.

For More Information Please Contact: Timothy Williams; bigtwilliams@me.com; 510-207-0020

Credits: Graphics by Rini Templeton https://riniart.com/index.html

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Contact

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