Whatever my expectations were when we launched Aging While Black (awB) in February, they have been far exceeded by what has transpired. The enthusiastic response, unsolicited expressions of interest and the deep levels of engagement have been positively overwhelming.
I believe the palpable excitement surrounding Aging While Black is a testament to the importance and relevance of this movement.
While the excitement surrounding Aging While Black is undeniably thrilling, it’s important to remember that this effort has been, and will remain, rooted in movement building. The aim is to create real change, to challenge the status quo, and to elevate the voices, experiences and perspectives of Black elders.
To that end, a significant milestone for Aging While Black is the partnership with the American Society on Aging (ASA) for their national conference, On Aging 2024. ASA has recognized the significance of addressing the unique experiences and needs of Black elders by including an Aging While Black track at their conference, coinciding with their 70th anniversary. This prominent feature at a major national event, attracting thousands of aging experts from across the country, signifies the emerging impact and relevance of our movement.
Moreover, our virtual community has grown to nearly 500 active members who share information with one another, discover shared experiences, and explore partnerships. We host a bi-weekly Aging While Black LIVE! Facebook discussion with aging thought leaders, innovators, and those who speak from lived experiences. Every guest is surprised by the level of engagement they receive after the call. We currently have a list of future guests that will take us to close to the end of the year.
Beyond this, the excitement extends to our focus on building collective action within local communities, fostering networks, and supporting those actively involved in advocating for Black aging. Shout out to Atlanta for being on the cutting edge of this evolution. Adrianne D. Jones hosted me as a guest on her weekly radio show Gero Juice. In addition, she connected Aging While Black with a virtual who’s-who in Black aging in the ATL. One connection, Dr. Fayron Epps established a partnership with awB to expand the reach and impact of her initiative focused on increasing the capacity of congregations to serve families dealing with dementia.
Looking ahead, the remainder of 2023 holds tremendous promise and potential for Aging While Black. The movement is gaining momentum, and its influence is spreading far and wide. The commitment to building a better future for Black elders is unwavering. As we embark on this journey, we are reminded of the profound significance of our work and the transformative power it holds.
Aging While Black is not just a concept; it is a calling that demands our shared attention and collective action.
For me, this goes beyond a professional endeavor. It is personal. The existence I have today has been shaped indelibly by the hands and voices of the elders. I am committed to leaving my fingerprints on a better world for all, especially Black elders. I invite you to join us on this passionate journey, to embrace the movement, and to invite others to be a part of this transformative experience.
Whether you are already a member of the Aging While Black community or are new to this movement, your presence and participation are invaluable. Visit agingwhileblack.co and join us as we explore the important intersection of aging and race. Engage with us on social media (found below and linked on our homepage).
Together, we can build a future where the experiences of Black elders are valued, celebrated, and honored. Let’s make a difference.