Most of us do not plant trees for the benefit of our children, but we are still rightfully concerned with what will be our legacy – for that is the work of an elder. Many of us also feel great sadness or despair as we look at our collective legacy -- the state of our world -- as there is much that needs fixing, and we are each just one amongst many.
I want to share a vision of ELDERS STANDING – people who serve as elders for our communities, speaking for future generations, for the unborn ones, in the ways that as elders have always spoken for the “seventh generation.”
To take a stand means to publically take a position, to speak for an idea or issue. It is a position of power -- not power over -- but “power with” those that are calling to us from the future to speak for them now, in this moment in time. We do this by speaking in the public square and leaving a legacy of a just and thriving world.
This network of individuals and organizations holds as our highest priority the concerns of our descendents and all life on our precious planet.
As individuals we have the life experience, the wisdom and that strong inner voice that asks, "What will your legacy be?" Some of us have more free time as our working commitments or responsibilities as parents have lessened.
As members of the “age wave,” that vast cohort of grandparents and “boomers,” we can reset our political landscape so that our decisions are based on what is good for society as a whole. Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 today, and about 10,000 more will cross that threshold every day for the next 19 years! We are a force to be reckoned with – and, just perhaps this age cohort is the “tipping point” to counter the enormous inequity that exists in our world.
What is meant by a “thriving and just world?”
We face many challenges in our contemporary world but beneath them all are several fundamental issues that will either create a world that works for everyone – or a world that continues to be fractured, unhealthy and unstable.
These foundational issues include: democracy, wealth inequality, racism and a healthy & sustainable environment.
What could ELDERS STANDING do?
As a multi-racial coalition, ELDERS STANDING will draw upon the experience of committed individuals, leaders, organizers and activists to determine the most effective actions. Initially, ELDERS STANDING will:
- Create a network of individuals and organizations that embrace our vision, so that we can mutually support each other’s major actions.
- Build a website to share our values, means for engagement and needed resources.
- Raise awareness and affirm elders as respected guardians of the wellbeing of future generations.
- Stand together in selected campaigns to address critical issues; and, encourage elders who currently sitting on the sidelines to take a stand for their vision and legacy. Examples are:
- RAGING GRANNIES, in Seattle, sitting in their rocking chairs, with other activists, on the train tracks to oppose the flow of fossil fuels to the refineries. (May 14, 2016)
- ELDERS STANDING FOR DEMOCRACY, Spring, April 12th, 2016;85 people, elders and younger folk, were arrested to reclaim our democracy, get money out of politics and restore voting rights.
- GRANDPARENTS’ CLIMATE ACTION DAY, Sept 9th & 10th, 2015; 135 elders gathered for a one-day conference and training, followed by a day of lobbying and two “flash mobs,” one at Union Station_ and the other in the Longworth Office Building Cafeteria.
What’s Next? How Can You Be Involved?
ELDERS STANDING is a concept, a vision that is in its initial stage of formation. As a network it’s growth and success will depend upon the support, the wisdom, the resources of many individuals and organizations.
Your thoughts, energy and experience can help shape the direction of this work.
- Does this vision inspire you? Does it bring you hope?
- Have you witnessed elders standing and speaking out? How can we build upon those unorganized efforts to increase our impact?
- What individuals and organizations could help to build a strong coalition?
- How can this vision of Elders Standing serve you and your organization?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Have a conversation with friends about working together on issues that concern you.
- Take the next step. Respond and comment on this vision.