Slatin Group Addresses Ageism and Ableism
August 1, 2020
As people with disabilities gain strength in denouncing ableism, the rising population of older people is highlighting the persistence of ageism throughout society. The intersection of these two entrenched forms of discrimination has never been clearer or more dangerous, and the pandemic has exposed the chilling vulnerability of both olders and the disabled. Ignorance and fear, which have always been the drivers of this kind of discrimination, have magnified not just the feelings but also the realities of social exclusion and isolation as the novel corona virus spreads.
I was honored to join noted anti-ageist activist Ashton Applewhite in important conversations on this topic this summer. In June we participated with Pioneer Network CEO Penny Cook in the #ActitiviesStrong Virtual Summit hosted by Charles de Vilmorin’s LinkedSeniors organization; 1,500 people Zoomed in to hear us. We also appeared on the rant, the podcast hosted by another anti-ageist crusader, Barbara Rose Booker. And in August, Ashton and I spoke with New York State Senator Liz Krueger, who represents the hugely influential Upper East Side, at one of her Town Hall events. Each of these conversations is illuminating in its own way, but they all get right to the heart of the matter: America is facing an – I hate this word – unprecedented wave of olders – people in their sixties and above – and still views aging through the same confused, conflicted and terrified lens as disability. The physical, emotional and social challenges faced by these two groups of widely disparate people are similar, yet the ways that society seeks to exclude rather than include them are fortunately being strained by the pressures of awakening empowerment built on legal foundations. And this is just the beginning.