Network members have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement with powerful words and a commitment to action. Read statements from the Dayton Foundation,, Encore Boston Network, JVC Northwest, and the Oasis Institute.  

Dayton Foundation, Michael M. Parks, President
I believe that there’s nothing more important we can do right now than launch an initiative we have been collaborating on behind the scenes for some time – the Institute for Livable and Equitable Communities. This partnership with the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, Del Mar Healthcare Fund of The Dayton Foundation, AARP/WHO and Learn to Earn Dayton, as well as local business, healthcare, nonprofit and higher education institutions, will build a coalition of key allies and participants throughout the region to create an equitable, age-friendly and livable community for all.

The Institute is a bright light of hope to provide a persistent, collective and systemic way in which, together, we can work over the coming months and years to:

  • provide a permanent, sustainable and deliberate way in which our entire region can come together to work on the most stubborn and complicated issues around equity, ageism and racism;
  • bring together in a collaborative way key stakeholders and the community to identify strategies and action steps; and
  • institutionalize racial equity and age-friendly best practices.

Read the full statement here

Encore Boston Network Doug Dickson, chair, Mary Gunn, director
Many of us were raised during the Civil Rights era and it can be discouraging to feel that not much has changed for people of color in the last 50 years. EBN helps people over 50 find purpose and meaning in their lives through volunteer or paid work for social good. In doing this work, we connect with diverse communities throughout Greater Boston and we are outraged by the unrelenting impact of inequality in the Black community.    

One way to honor the memory of Black lives lost is to help support and engage in the movement for change. Change is needed in every sector of our society, not just law enforcement and criminal justice, but in healthcare, education, the labor market, housing, and all the other places where inequality persists. We must hold all institutions with racial disparities and that benefit from White privilege accountable when we talk about Black Lives Matter, including our own.

This will not be easy — it will take a lot of work. But we believe that opening up the conversation and taking action now to make a difference is crucial. And we believe it falls to all of us, young and old, to join forces and fight for change.

EBN hosted a Conversation on Racial Equality and Equity on Thursday, June 18, and plans to host future conversations. It encourages participants to learn about the issues and identify actions each of us can take to support racial equality and equity, noting, “we don’t need to be experts to respond and take action. We can learn from each other. Conversation is a place to start.”

Read the full statement here. Marc Freedman, founder and CEO
Across the country, young people continue to march against racial injustice and police violence, embodying what historian and sociologist Orlando Patterson calls “the noble rage of young Americans against…historic evil.”

And thousands of older people are joining them, even in the face of the pandemic….We are determined to join with younger generations to fight not just for a better future but for a fundamentally different present. And to do it in ways that deeply appreciate, and fully support, the leadership of young people.  

Older people can and must contribute their unique assets to this work for change. But we must also recognize that “a new generation is rising,” as Courtney Martin writes. “They possess the wholeheartedness and rage and moral clarity necessary to harness this moment and make something of it.”

We are inspired by their leadership and action, and are committed to joining with them…. 

At, we commit to:

  • Doing all we can to bring the assets of experience to the racial justice movement.
  • Diversifying our own encore community.
  • Focusing on the intersections between age and racism in all aspects of our work. 
  • Using our resources, privilege and power to support leaders and communities of color. 
  • Building our cultural competence, diversity, equity and inclusion — and adding more younger people and people of color to our staff and board.

Throughout, we are inspired by the words of Congressman John Lewis, who describes being moved this week watching older people come forward “to march with their children and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and to walk with them.”

We pledge to do the same. To walk with younger generations on this journey for everlasting change, and to do so with humility and determination, every step of the way.

Read the full statement here

JVC Northwest, Greg Carpinello, executive director

This past week, we have been called to listen, to learn, and engage in action to find what our next steps must be. We remain steadfastly committed to recognizing and dismantling the pervasive racism all around us and in us, and the racism we have unintentionally perpetuated at times. We call on you to continue your reflections, to listen to the voices of those most impacted by these oppressive systems without asking more of them, and to determine your next steps too, wherever you are, and whatever your context may be. We have found this piece by Deepa Iyer to be helpful in times like these, as it guides reflection on our individual and organizational roles in social-change ecosystems.   

Oasis Institute, Paul Weiss, president 

We are the vaccine against racism in America. Herd immunity to racism is achieved when the majority speak up, act up, and lift up.

Two years ago, The Oasis Institute in St. Louis partnered with North County communities, a part of greater St. Louis that experience disproportionate variances in investment for education, infant mortality rates, lifespan…chronic disease, and all measures of resources and infrastructure. and faith-based organizations to expand our reach into North County and North St. Louis. My colleagues and I formed new relationships with over 1,200 new North County [citizens] for lifelong learning, health and exercise programs, and over 400 older adults volunteering in North County schools for the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program.

We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants in predominantly Black communities emphasizing the difference Oasis programs have made in their lives.

Read the full statement here

Published: June 26, 2020