HomeMedia BriefingsAre We Taking Care of Immigrant Elders?

Are We Taking Care of Immigrant Elders?

Was Live Friday, Feb 3, 2023

Guest Speakers

  • Helen Zia, Asian American author, journalist and activist
  • Rita Medina, Deputy Director of State Policy and Advocacy at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles (CHRLA)
  • Laura Som, FMAYE Center for healing of survivors of trauma, systemic racism, oppression, inequity, Long Beach
  • Dr. Brett Sevilla, Medical Director of the Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Centers, Los Angeles
  • Linda Yoon, Co-founder of the Yellow Chair Collective, culturally responsive Asian American therapy

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Event Overview

What lessons can we learn about the lives of immigrant elders from the tragic mass-shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay? Uncharacteristically, the hand that clutched the weapon in two recent mass shootings in California was that of an elderly man. Most mass shooters are young men. The real reasons behind the shootings still elude authorities, but society is still reeling from the tragedy.

This is a demographic of our population that is largely invisible — not just AAPI elders but many immigrant elders from all backgrounds — who keep their stories to themselves. Invisibility reinforces their sense of isolation and with the isolation comes fear. More often than we realize, elders are the targets of violent crime.

According to the National Council on Aging, suicide rates are high among this group: they comprise 12% of the population, but make up approximately 18% of suicides. Although many find ways to break through the isolation on their own, like the people killed in the Monterey Park ballroom, there’s no quick fix — not mental health care nor gun control nor ballroom dancing salons. This is about us, our society. America is no country for old men. There’s a call to action to serve our elders better.

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