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Aging care at the crossroad

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Published in the St. Louis American, December 24, 2015

AgeofDignity_Cover

I’ve been learning to grow old gracefully from my mother. She has embraced aging with elegance but also with a determination to be healthy and independent. It sounds like a realistic plan.

Before I reached that bewitching age of 65 this year, I read “The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America” by Ai-Jen Poo. Ai-Jen heads up the powerful National Domestic Workers Alliance made up of millions of nannies, housekeepers and caregivers. She was supposed to be the featured speaker at the Workers’ Rights Board annual meeting but her flight grounded her in Chicago. Her book was on sale at the event so I bought it.

In this country, anything old has little value and is discarded. If you’re black and female, your prospects become quite dim. So, you may have it in your head to grow old with dignity, but the rest of society is hell-bent on treating seniors like they’re all hard of hearing and with no intelligence. That’s why some youngsters talk to them in loud, slow sentences.

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The Congress of African People

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Printed by BlackCommentator on December 17, 2015

 

The Congress of African People
Understanding its importance from a personal narrative

 

…a new generation will always emerge to define the issues, the causes, and the challenges of their times. For those of us coming of age in the Congress of African People, we hope our experiences and history will help make the change they seek.”

-Michael Simanga

 

Simanga
Michael Simanga

My plan was simple, my intent genuine. I was going to obtain a copy of Amiri Baraka and the Congress of African People by Michael Simanga and write up an objective book review. It’s not going to happen.

With each turn of a page in Simanga’s book, a floodgate of memories was opened. I realized I am too close to the story to maintain true objectivity. My introduction to the Congress of African People (CAP) closely mirrored Simanga’s. A group of us were building the St. Louis CAP chapter around the same time as the Detroit chapter was emerging. We both made treks to the national CAP headquarters in –as Baraka would call it – NewArk, NJ.

There’s other subjective factors that come into play in responding to the book. My personal and political relationship with the author spans over four decades. My deference to Amiri and Amina Baraka as the most critical influences of my ideological and political development are unshakable.  Yes, it was going to be difficult to pen a traditional book review but I must do my part to ensure that the historical place of CAP in the continuum of the Black Liberation Movement (BLM) and radical black traditions are firmly established. Read more