Advocacy isn’t just for students and young adults. The proof? Meet Silver Panther Huddle, a group of Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads (GHBC) residents. For their exceptional work on topics including health care, the environment, redistricting, immigration and refugees, LGBTQ+ issues and stopping gun violence, the Silver Panther Huddle has been named this year’s winner of LeadingAge Virginia’s 2020 Advocacy Awards.
“Advocacy is all about storytelling,” Melissa Andrews, president & CEO of LeadingAge Virginia said in a press release. “And who better to tell the story of positive aging in Virginia than the Silver Panthers Huddle Group? Their voices lift up our mission and shine a light on the challenges and opportunities facing our field. We owe this group a debt of gratitude for their advocacy!”
Members of the Silver Panther Huddle first met on Feb. 22, 2017. The group began as an outgrowth of GHBC residents who had attended the Women’s March on Washington the month before. It’s a serious group with a charter and governance model. And it’s not just for members of one political persuasion. Silver Panther Huddle welcomes all types of thinkers.
“Their stated purpose is “to study government policies and programs at the national, state and local levels and to advocate for those policies that uphold the well-being of our democratic institutions, our neighbors and our environment; ethical government through transparency and corporate and individual responsibility; and economic fairness in budgets and taxation.”
“We retired from busy careers and busy volunteering, yet we remain advocates for our communities,” said Georgia Fuller, GHBC resident and one of the lead organizing members of the Silver Panther Huddle, in the press release.
What have the Panthers accomplished? Here are just some of the things they’ve gotten done:
• Worked to keep medical deductions in the 2017 Tax Bill, a deduction the House originally eliminated.
• Supported expansion of Virginia Medicaid subsequent to ACA implementation.
• Investigated proposed Medicare changes, opposing ones that had a negative impact on seniors.
• Monitored the attempted rollback of national and state environmental protections in legislation and policies.
• Attended rallies for science, Earth Day and climate actions.
• Collected signatures on a petition in favor of redistricting.
• Supported DACA legislation and scholarships for Dreamers. Monitored other immigration legislation.
• Established a tax-deductible fund within the Goodwin House Foundation to help immigrant Goodwin House staff finance their citizenship application process.
• Supported the March for Our Lives 2018 and the June 2019 rallies in Arlington and Alexandria by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
• Sent messages of condolence and solidarity to the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after the anti-Semitic mass shooting.
• Opposed attempts to undermine family life education in Fairfax County.
• Supported legislation to ban discrimination against Virginians who identify with the LBGTQ+ community and urged businesses to say they welcome customers from the LBGTQ+ community.
• Promoted SAGE (Service and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) CARE training for Goodwin House staff.
These active seniors truly prove that political activity can continue through every stage of life.
For more NoVA news, subscribe to our newsletters.