I have this privilege because I had a strong union while I was teaching which negotiated a well-defined benefit pension so I don’t need to seek work in my retirement. I grew up in a working class family where both of my parents were loyal union members. Coming of age in the ‘60s, I became an activist, focusing mostly on labor and anti-war activities. At the state college where I worked, I was chapter president of my union for seven years. With a strong interest in education, particularly public education, I continue to pursue my teaching now by being a volunteer tutor at a neighborhood school.
I have learned how underfunded the public schools are and could see directly the consequences of the corporate and political attack on public school education and teachers. This has led me to attend marches and rallies for school funding and a day of canvassing in a local neighborhood with a couple of teachers.
I decided to go to the 50th Anniversary March on Washington this past month. One of the reasons I wanted to go was because fifty years ago I was not able to attend because I had a summer job to help with my college expenses.
In thinking about all that I’ve been involved in since moving to Philly, I think of another privilege that I enjoy, and that’s good health. That certainly makes it easier to be an elder, and maybe an added incentive to continue being an activist.