As advocates for equal rights and justice for more than 45 years, we stand with those engaged in the fight against systemic racism, prejudice, and discrimination. Our work regularly brings us face-to-face with institutionalized racism, bias, and discrimination directed to older adults of color and its impact. Many have lived through a lifetime of deeply embedded structural discrimination in housing, employment, education, and lending, denied the right to own a home in a neighborhood with good schools, clean air and water, and access to healthy foods.
Data starkly highlights the impact of generations of racist policies. For example, by even the most conservative measures, older Black adults experience more than twice the rate of poverty as whites leading to a vast racial wealth gap among older adults. The median household wealth of older Black adults is just $55,000 compared to $280,900 for older white adults. To address this disparity in economic well-being, it is important that we explicitly identify the role structural racism and white misanthropy has played in creating that disparity. As we continue the work we do in behalf of some of society’s most vulnerable members, we pledge to do more to name and dismantle the institutionalized racism and white misanthropy that has brought us to this point.
We know that as we work with other nonprofit organizations to address problems of racial prejudice within the broader society, we must get our own house in order as well. We are taking deliberate steps to create an environment that fosters transparency, supports open communication, and ensures spaces and opportunities for all staff to feel safe and valued and to thrive. We will use our collective influence to instill anti-racism practices within the broader systems we engage including long-term care and healthcare systems, housing, criminal and civil justice, guardianship, transportation accessibility, and the broader aging system at the local, state and federal level. We hereby commit to bring resources, talent, and energy to the fight to end racism in all its forms and wherever it may live.