At Justice in Aging, we believe that we should all be able to access the resources, services, and programs we need to thrive as we grow older no matter our race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, language, or country of origin.
For generations, systemic inequities and racism in health care, housing, and access to wealth and resources have kept people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, those living with disabilities, immigrants, and those with limited English proficiency from meeting their basic needs. And when they age, their challenges become even greater due to the compounding effects and unique impact of ageism.
In 2021, we launched our Strategic Initiative to Advance Equity in Aging as a way to ensure that we are more intentionally pursuing systemic changes in law and policy that improve the lives of low-income older adults who experience inequities rooted in structural racism, ageism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and xenophobia. The initiative empowers us to place equity, specifically racial equity, at the very center of our work.
Since the launch, we have created and implemented tools that place equity in our advocacy. In 2022, we started a new project to address the issues facing formerly incarcerated older adults, and we launched our Equity Advisory Council, a group of thought leaders and partners who provide advice and input on our equity advocacy. By partnering with the National Center on Law and Elder Rights, we started a training and technical assistance program to help legal services providers serving older adults advance equity in their work. These developments and more allow us to more intentionally address the systemic barriers older adults face as a result of structural discrimination.
Centering equity in our work involves all staff and programs, and we have dedicated leadership and staff whose jobs are specifically designed to help us build this capacity, skillset, and expertise.
Centering equity in our work requires a thoughtful, purposeful, intentional strategy and plan for partnerships. We are implementing new approaches for working with current partners and identifying and building relationships with new partners.
We will gather and analyze data on the ways in which inequities, especially racial ones, manifest in the communities of older adults we serve.
We are adopting planning and evaluation processes and tools that enable and require us to center equity in the decisions we make about the issues and cases we work on.
We are adapting our communications strategies and tactics to support and advance other elements of this framework, and develop communications and messaging tools for discussing equity in aging.
We are enhancing our education projects and programs and targeting our litigation to ensure that they address inequities in health care, long-term services and supports, economic security, housing, legal services, and elder justice for older adults.