Gray Panthers of the Berkeley-East Bay Area
independent member-led organization of activists seeking immediate and long-term social change. We are part of a national Gray Panthers movement founded by just such a long-time activist Maggie Kuhn in 1972 to confront agist and sexist attitudes and policies that tried to block her voice and relevance
MEETINGS AND EVENTS
Check the calendar for regular meetings and public events that we track.
Join our monthly Speaker Meetings from 1:30 to 3:30PM on the fourth Wednesday each month. These are resource rich, with time for questions and discussion built in!
Most other Wednesdays, a smaller group also gathers by Zoom and phone at 1:30. These are more informal, although sometimes the board has formal business. Members share progress, victories, concerns, and make plans. Newcomers are welcome to introduce themselves.
Sign up to get the link to our Wednesday gatherings and other occasional email Action Alerts. Be sure to tell us something about yourself! Let us know if you need a phone call.
Covid-safe political actions, some offer direct in-person mutual aid for isolated seniors and people living on the streets.
Follow us on Facebook, call us at 510-842-6224, or email us at [email protected]
Our members and supporters are people of many ages and abilities, and we support dignity and inclusion for all. We are workers, students, entrepreneurs, artists, professionals, renters, and homeowners, housed, and unhoused.
Gray Panthers speak out for justice, dignity, equity, participatory democracy, inclusion, and peace, while focusing on specific issues and campaigns, in support of long-term solutions, policies, and systems change toward a more just, inclusive, and sustainable world. We have perennial support for and defend Social Security, Medicare, and the American with Disabilities Act, support low-income subsidized housing, renter rights, and Housing and Health Care for All. We work with
See our PARTNERS pages for links and info on the allied groups that make us look good! We are stronger together, and we bring a valued perspective and unique voice to the groups we work with.
Gray Panthers-Berkeley East Bay were white allies in solidarity with Bay Area Black Panther Party members in the 1970s. Some of them are Gray Panthers now. Today we are active members of our local NAACP-Berkeley chapter and seek out Black-led racial and neighborhood justice organizers.
We join multi-racial and cross-class campaign and coalitions, such as the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, the Poor People's Campaign and California Alliance of Retired Americans, and, locally, Friends of Adeline, in South Berkeley. We have a Transit Justice Coalition with the East Bay Center for the Blind, and follow the Senior Disability Justice, and national disability leaders advocating. Gray Panther leaders from the Alameda Seniors and Disabled Renters Committee of the Alameda Renters Coalition.
Rights of the Homeless and Transition to community-based CommunityThe Berkeley chapter co-founded the Bay Area Landless Peoples Alliance in 2017, and signed on to its Declaration of the Rights of Landless People. In addition to decriminalizing homelessness, ending police harassment and taking of their belongings, displaced people have the right to organize camps for mutual care and safety, supported by basic city services. Their collective and individual voices, capacities, and agency should be a substantial part of publicly funded budgets, for services, jobs, and contracts carried out in their created in their name.
HOUSING FOR ALL - EXPAND LOW-INCOME HOUSING, AND PROTECT RIGHTS AND EVICTION DEFENSE FOR ALL TENANTS.
longtime members of the National Alliance of HUD Tenants with members who live in six of the cities senior and disabled low-income housing buildings.
- work with the Berkeley Tenants Union, serve on the coalition screening committee for the Berkeley Tenants Convention to endorse a pro-tenant solidarity slate of candidates for the Rent Board every two years. Members also track and support tenant organizing and eviction defense in Oakland (Moms4Housing, ACCE, TANC)
PROTECT PATIENT CARE AND WORKER RIGHTS IN NURSING HOMES SYSTEMS OF LONG TERM CARE
We call for accountability and transformation in this essential industry. In 2020, Gray Panthers East Bay endorsed efforts by national coalitions of disability rights advocates, challenging ablist and agist responses to COVID-19, and the forced institutionalization of people with disabilities and older adults needing care. This led us into a new campaign by the National Council of Gray Panther Networks to (once again) expose the rampant corruption of the nursing home and long-term care industry, resulting in tens of thousands of needless deaths under COVID-19.
Medical researchers and independent evaluation teams report a vicious cycle of poor care, rooted in widespread self-dealing business practices by corporate owners and managers, financed by government contracts with very weak oversight - a situation the industry has lobbied hard for through campaign contributions and back room deals. Many of these nursing homes and long-term care facilities are essentially real estate investments. Underpaid, understaffed workers are blamed, but their employers have rigged their facilities for failure and then received pandemic relief funds to shore up profits. Gray Panthers join disability rights advocates, healthcare workers, and unions in calling for full investigation of state and federal levels
We support transition to a public system, with full public investment into community-based systems of care, including housing for the unhoused, and fair wages, benefits, and a voice in the workplace for home health aids and other domestic caregivers, so that older adults and persons with disabilities can freely choose to live and age in their home communities, close to family and friends.
RESOURCES: For more on the history, people, and achievements of Gray Panthers in the East Bay, Berkeley, and around the country.1. Roger Sanjek, Gray Panthers, 2008 (available on Amazon, Kindle, and Apple Store). Story of the founder, Maggie Kuhn from Philadephia, and in-depth history of the Berkeley chapter through the early 2000's.3. ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ysa5OWNocY
We want to hear from you. Please drop us a line using this form.
Please note that we are entirely a volunteer-run organization, so may not be able to get back to you right away.
You can write to us, send checks, etc. to P.O. Box 1126, Berkeley, CA 94701.