Washington, DC, Oakland, CA, & Los Angeles, CA—Justice in Aging is excited to announce a new strategic initiative to advance equity. This initiative will deploy deliberate strategies and tools and include dedicated staffing to pursue systemic change in laws and policies that will improve the lives of low-income older adults who experience inequities rooted in historical, persistent, and structural racism, ageism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and xenophobia, with a special focus on advancing racial equity.
For generations, systemic inequities and racism in health care, housing, education, employment, 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. These challenges persist throughout a person’s lifetime and compound for those living at the intersection of multiple identities. As people grow older, the challenges become even greater as they experience ageism.
Denny Chan, an attorney at Justice in Aging for the past seven years, has been promoted and will lead this effort as the Directing Attorney for Equity Advocacy. He will manage a cross-issue, cross-organizational team charged with implementing the initiative, and all Justice in Aging staff will contribute to this work.
The events of the past year, including the inequities revealed by the COVID-19 crisis, and the national reckoning with anti-Black racism following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, have made it clear that it is past time to specifically address the structural inequities in our laws and policies that are fueled by racism and bias. Even now as we launch this initiative, we are grappling with a string of violent attacks on Asian American older adults, including the recent shootings in Atlanta and beyond.
“I joined Justice in Aging because of our longstanding commitment to fighting the poverty and discrimination that low-income older adults face,” said Chan. “I’m thrilled that our new initiative to advance equity will allow us to center equity in all of our advocacy, with a specific focus on race equity for older adults of color. It is truly a turning point for us at Justice in Aging.”
“Going forward, we will prioritize issues, projects, and cases that either significantly impact or uniquely benefit older adults of color, older women, LGBTQ older adults, older adults with disabilities, and older adults who are immigrants or have limited English proficiency. We will seek policy solutions that are tailored to these communities and go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach that can exacerbate or mask existing disparities,” said Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director at Justice in Aging.
The organization will approach all of its work with equity at the center by using tools, evaluation strategies, and data to closely examine the policy solutions it advances, the issues it trains advocates on, and the legal cases it brings. Chan will also be charged with forging new partnerships, working with the communications team on new communications strategies, and more.