Arlington, VA (June 18, 2020) – The following is a statement from Jim Knickman, Interim President and CEO of the National Council on Aging (NCOA).
“For seven decades, NCOA has worked toward a just and caring society in which each of us, as we age, lives with dignity, purpose, and security.
Recent events across our nation have highlighted—yet again—that systemic racism and persistent inequities make this vision impossible to realize, especially for our African American, LGBTQ+, and minority and marginalized friends, neighbors, and loved ones.
This week, we rejoiced to see the Supreme Court of the United States uphold by a 6-3 ruling the law that provides equal protection from workplace discrimination for anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Unfortunately, we were dismayed to see the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services move to deny the LGBTQ+ community protections against discrimination in health care and health services, a move that severely impacts transgender older Americans’ ability to age well.
NCOA agrees with the overwhelming majority of LGBTQ+ and civil rights organizations that stripping LGBTQ+ Americans from the discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act would create a chilling effect on transgender patients seeking medical care because of the historic stigma they have faced. It also opens the door for individuals to discriminate against transgender Americans with impunity.
This discriminatory move comes on the heels of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, which have left millions of Americans deeply sad, frustrated, and angry.
We know from serving millions of older adults each year that older African Americans carry the cumulative, negative impacts of systemic racism into retirement, leaving them ever more vulnerable to chronic health conditions and income disparities that make aging well even more challenging.
African American communities must have access to the full array of resources they need to thrive—across their lifetimes. That is the only way to achieve our nation’s promise of equality for all.
NCOA believes every person deserves to age well, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. Our work seeks to remove inequities and keep all older adults healthy and safe.
Each of us has a role to play in making America the nation we expect and want it to be. NCOA stands with every person fighting for justice and equality for all.”
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.