As we close out the month of November 2020, a raging pandemic has changed long-standing holiday traditions of family and friends gathering to connect with one another over shared meals and visiting in each other’s homes. Distance between people extends far beyond the 6 feet of recommended physical space as we grapple with long-standing racial inequities and what feels like an unprecedented national political divide. In the midst of this chaos and conflict, we are bolstered by caring for one another, and commemorate National Family Caregiver Month. Though caring takes different forms than in the past – particularly for older adults in our lives – we are reminded that caring for others is a fundamental act of being human. Our spotlight on the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History illustrated how an entire community cares for all of its neighbors, especially the elders who have preserved history for future generations. For MCJC, the poignance of making and saving history is that it serves as both the action and the outcome of triumph over oppression. For those of us who do not live in this world as Black, we seek to understand that experience through the narratives, the work, and the example of community represented by MCJC. This week we offer a further resource to help understand diverse communities of elders, and the ways in which caring about and for them requires that all of us listen more closely and learn more deeply.
The Diverse Elders Coalition, a national aggregate of U.S. organizations serving historically marginalized groups of elders, is offered as a resource for learning more about the lives of diverse older adults. Their stories project calls us to invite, hear, and tell stories in order to ‘open hearts and change minds’ in terms of how we understanding the experience of aging from diverse perspectives. The UNC Partnerships in Aging program salutes this work and invites you to read: https://www.diverseelders.org/what-you-can-do/explore-our-stories/ 2020 JWomack – Professor of OSOT Department of Allied Health Sciences