On Thursday, June 7, 2018, the New York City Council convened at City Hall in Lower Manhattan for a critical budget meeting. Senior Planet was there… and our voices were heard!
Thanks to the hard work of the Senior Planet members enrolled in the ACTivate! program (a 20-week leadership program sponsored by Google that empowers older adults to leverage technology as a tool for advocacy), close to 100 Senior Planet members came together for a day of civic engagement. The day’s events included a Senior Tech Forum and culminated in a rally on City Hall.
The Senior Tech Forum took place at the beautiful Beekman Hotel just a few blocks from City Hall. The goals of the forum were to engage Senior Planet members in advocating for older adults and technology, celebrate Senior Planet services, and garner support from city council members.
Over breakfast, the participants shared with each other their background, the Senior Planet classes that they’ve taken, the difficulties they’ve overcome with technology, as well as the most valuable skills they’ve gained. This was followed by a pledge to continue learning about, and using, technology in the year ahead.
We then heard speeches from Senior Planet members who have embraced technology and are aging with attitude. The four speakers shared their personal stories with the room, explaining how technology has changed their lives, motivated them to remain active and engaged, helped them get online and reconnect with friends and family, and even find dates!
A final speaker, from the ACTivate! team, provided a demonstration of how to find and learn about your city council member online, after which the tech forum participants went to social media to broadcast their pledges online using the campaign hashtag #mytechpledge.
Loud and Proud on City Hall
Fueled from a hearty breakfast, inspired by excellent speeches, and energized by their public pledges, the group moved to City Hall, timing their rally to coincide with the city council meeting. Together on the steps the campaigners, donning their red Senior Planet shirts, chanted and sang, held up banners, and called on council members to support technology training programs in New York City.
A number of council members stopped by to voice their support, including Council Member Peter Koo (Chair of the Technology Committee and representing District 20), Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik (District 23), Council Member Ben Kallos (District 5), Council Member Carlos Menchaca (District 38), and Council Member Paul Vallone (District 19).
The event was a major success. Our voices were heard. And while we were only at City Hall for an hour, the online campaign continues. What is your #mytechpledge? Join us on social media and share with the Senior Planet community how you will be learning about technology in the year ahead.