Report from SAGE-RI
by Cathy Gorman
On October 20, SAGE-RI held its annual meeting at the Brooklyn Coffee and Tea House in Providence. In a welcoming setting, members conversed with friends and new acquaintances while enjoying delicious refreshments. We reviewed SAGE-RI’s successful 2018 reorganization and reported on 2019’s accomplishments. The pace of this organization's development and activities are guided by its overall mission to improve the lives of LGBT older adults as determined by the interests, concerns, and talents of its volunteers. This is measured by SAGE-RI’s engagement in activities consistent with its goals of offering service, education, and training, and advocacy.
This has been a challenging and successful year. The SAGE-RI LGBT Café is in its fourth year of operation based on strong partnerships with Meals on Wheels of RI, the RI Office of Healthy Aging, the Church of the Transfiguration, and the RI Chapter of AARP. Our History Club, held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, was launched to learn about our community’s past and gain perspective on current issues. SAGE/Table events held throughout the year reached an intergenerational audience, with co-sponsors including RI Pride, the Renaissance City Softball League, and Thundermist Health Center. Other events included movie showings, opportunities to join in RI Pride’s community-wide celebrations, and the Imperial Court Coronation. A recent collaboration with Thundermist greatly expanded the range of social activities available to LGBT older adults.
SAGE-RI strengthened ties with the LGBT community through participating in discussions with RI Pride, the APRI Consumer Conference and Walk for Life, the 2019 Transgender Health Conference, and Renaissance City Softball League events. SAGE-RI volunteers worked with RI LGBTQ Action to urge legislators to restore state benefits to LGBTQ veterans and to revise Rhode Island’s parentage laws.
SAGE-RI also connected with the larger senior advocacy community through the Senior Agenda Coalition of RI’s legislative forum and annual conference, the RIC Annual Gerontology Conference, and meetings of the Lt. Governor’s Long Term Care Coordinating Council. We also supported the inclusion of LGBT elders as a “population of greater social need” in the RI Office of Healthy Aging State Plan, a document governing Older American Act funds for the next four years.
Most excitingly, SAGE-RI received a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation’s Equity Action Fund to conduct a series of workshops in the fall of 2019 and spring of 2020 aimed at building LGBT cultural competence among nurses, social workers, and facility administrators working in hospitals, long term care, assisted living, and community-based services. These workshops feature our SAGECare curriculum, which was developed with federal funds and resources through the National Resource Center on LGBT aging.
SAGE-RI will engage the community in 2020, with outreach meetings across to RI to identify priorities and critical needs. In response to feedback, we will offer programming to ensure LGBT older adults equitable access to community-based services. (Write to email@example.com to volunteer.) Our next SAGE/Table event is tentatively scheduled for January 31.
The SAGE-RI Steering Committee wishes to express its gratitude for all the support it received this year from individuals and organizations within the LGBT community and from allies and partners throughout Rhode Island.
SAGE-RI (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders) addresses issues of concern to LGBT elders and is an organization of diverse people of all ages. For information on programs or to join SAGE-RI, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org; find us on Facebook as SAGE-Rhode Island; or send correspondence to SAGE-RI c/o the Church of the Transfiguration, 1665 Broad Street, Cranston, RI 02905.