President’s Corner – June 2017
Ah summertime (ugh). The best description I’ve seen of our recent spate of hot and humid weather was “Houstonesque.” Now we pay the price for those warm winter months when we weren’t shoveling snow.
Those of you who missed the Anniversary Dinner missed a real treat. The food was good, the entertainment enjoyable and the company fantastic as always. I couldn’t help but notice the downpour outside as we sat inside the cozy restaurant and breathed a sigh of relief that we were not on a boat in the middle of Lake Austin. A big round of applause to our VP Tim Newton who pulled all that together.
No Meeting in June
Our regular monthly meeting in June would normally fall on Sunday, June 11. We found out last month that there are equality protest marches scheduled in cities across the country that day including a march in Washington, D.C.
The Board made the decision to cancel the June meeting which would have been in conflict with the Austin march. In doing so we tried to look at both the positives and negatives of cancelling our meeting. We talked about the negative impact of altering our schedule two months in a row. The May meeting has traditionally been moved from the second Sunday because of the conflict with Mother’s Day and this year it was then replaced by the Anniversary Dinner. We are all creatures of habit and coming to the general meeting on the second Sunday of the month is a good habit to have. When you interfere with those habits by changing the schedule it’s somewhat like interrupting the flow of traffic—bad things are likely to happen, like traffic accidents. We recognized that we were running the risk of cutting attendance at meetings for a while until members got back in the habit of coming on the second Sunday.
On the other hand, it appeared that there would be some number of Prime Timers who would want to attend the Austin march. As a result there would be low turnout for the general meeting if we had it on the eleventh. In addition those members who attended the march would miss the program that we had been working for some time to arrange—a presentation by AARP on the services that organization offers to seniors.
It also seemed to us inappropriate to schedule an event in conflict with the march. It is chilling to remember that one year before the day of the march the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history took place in an Orlando gay nightclub. With all of challenges the LGBT community is currently facing—not only in our own country but around the world— we believed that it is important that we stand together. This event is being planned primarily by a much younger segment of our community and some might say “that’s them, not us”. I will share with you that when I attended the open forum that Councilmember Flannigan sponsored on the creation of an LGBTQ Quality of Life Advisory Commission for the City of Austin it was that same segment of the community that spoke up for representation of LGBT seniors. I am not naïve enough to think that ageism in our community will be changed by one march, in one year, by one community. By I am also not pessimistic enough to accept that it can’t happen. It’s a little bit like breaking down the barriers between gay and straight: it’s easier when you know someone on the other side of that fence. Ageism will never change if we sit in our shells.
Now, for all you guys who are bemoaning the lack of an opportunity to get together on the eleventh, we have scheduled a happy hour and dining out for 4 pm that afternoon at Rebel Pizza on Anderson and Shoal Creek (see your calendar for more information). And for those of you who want to attend the march you should also be able to join the happy hour afterward.
I am also delighted to say that we have been able to reschedule the AARP presentation for our September program.
HIV and Aging Conference
Our general meeting on July 10 will feature a program from Care Communities presented by Roger Temme. Roger is also involved with putting together the HIV and Aging Conference, which this year will be on Friday, August 25. This Conference was created to bring community leaders together to improve the lives of older adults living with HIV. The full lineup of program speakers is not yet complete but Dr. David Wright, who is always interesting to hear from, is already confirmed. I’m including this information now because early registration at $35 is available until June 30; regular registration is $50. The event is held at St. David’s downtown and registration includes breakfast and lunch as well as parking. More information is available at www.HIVandAgingConference.com.
Summertime also means that there are lots more events coming up to fill your dance card – our annual pool party and PRIDE are but two examples. So stay tuned, watch for your monthly calendar in every edition of Momentum, read your weekly Prime Timer emails and enjoy another long, hot Austin summer!
~ Charles Curry