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2023 DEI Progress

By Katie Brandon
Posted: 02/27/2023
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Pasadena Village is the only nonprofit organization in the area dedicated to helping older adults age-in-place in their own homes. We know that some of our fellow adults may face additional barriers as they age - in particular those who are LGBTQIA+ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual) and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). Since we were founded over 10 years ago, we have been committed to being welcoming, and this spirit of inclusivity is a critical part of our Values Statements and our Strategic Plan. 

On February 22, we were asked by Village Movement California, our state-wide network, to share our successes and challenges in reaching more local LGBTQ and African American older adults. Our village was the first to present as part of their monthly Workshop Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging series. Our work is only just beginning but it was rewarding to reflect on the positive steps we have made as a village in our outreach and inclusive goals.

Village leaders - both members and community volunteers - shared their personal experiences and outreach efforts that have built on the welcoming environment we strive to offer. Village member Karen Bagnard was instrumental in forging relationships with San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center and local pride festivals as an ally. She listened to fellow elders, participated in planning committees, and asked how our village could be part of what was going on in the broader our community. She shared the four things that bring people together:

1. Art

2. Music

3. Food

4. Laughter

and described how she worked with Pasadena Village’s Inclusivity Committee as a member and the chair for the past 2 years, to incorporate those into gatherings.

Member Bruce Christensen spoke about finding community, a way to give back, what attracted him to join Pasadena Village as a member. Member Dick Myers, who is a Board member and Vice President - Communications, coordinates our 1619 Discussion Group which welcomes frank discussions of race relations, experiences of racism, and guest speakers twice a month. He shared about our relationship with Friendship Church, one of Pasadena’s oldest African American churches, and the success of the Soul Food Train event in Fall 2022.

One of the benefits of being involved in local networking events and meeting new people is the opportunity to find amazing volunteers and leaders. Thermon ‘Rick’ Holliday, a community board member for Pasadena Village and Medicare broker, spoke about historic divides that exist in all communities and how he found Pasadena Village as an organization that is more than a resource - it is an open-minded group of people where friendships form. Rick spoke about what brought him to be involved in Pasadena Village and the village movement.

Sandra Moffett is a Village member who participated in Village Movement California’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Training Institute over the past several months. She shared about her experience meeting people through Pasadena Village in her older years, continuing to stay involved and engaged during the pandemic through Zoom, and the welcoming environment she has helped to create. 

We have seen significant growth in membership over the past several months. Of our 141 members, more than 13% are Black/African American/African, which is an increase from 4% a year ago, and more than 5% identify as LGBTQIA+. As we continue to grow, we look to better reflect our community. Partnerships with the Altadena Pride, NAACP Pasadena, Friendship Church, the Clergy Community Coalition, Community Women Vital Voices who organize the SoCal Women's Health Conference, and other community organizations have directly led to increased programming, more diverse audiences, and new members.

Pasadena Village is an organization that thrives in building relationships, and we hope you will join us in continuing to build our welcoming community through partnerships, volunteerism, and outreach. 

-Katie Brandon

Executive Director

 

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