Who is behind Rainbow Seniors?

Community Supporters

 (as of 10/1/15)

Representative Gail Cariddi (1st Berkshire District)

Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier (3rd Berkshire District)

Representative Paul Mark (2nd Berkshire District)

Representative Smitty Pignatelli (4th Berkshire District)

Senator Benjamin Downing (Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, Hampden)

Mayor Daniel Bianchi (Pittsfield)

Mayor Richard Alcombright (North Adams)

Elder Services of Berkshire County

Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging

Northern Berkshire Community Coalition

Home Instead Senior Care

Brian O’Grady (Director, Williamstown COA)

Erica Girgenti (Director, Adams COA)

Sandra Lamb (Director, North Adams COA)

Kelly Pizzi (Director, Dalton COA)

Vincent Marinaro (Director, Pittsfield COA)

Polly Mann (Director, Great Barrington COA)

Lorna Gayle (Director, Lanesborough Senior Center)

 

Organizer: Ed Sedarbaum

Personal: Like some of today’s LGBT seniors, Ed lived a deeply closeted life until 1979, when at the age of 33 he was able to leave the closet behind. His experience left him with a sensitivity to the fears and difficulties of LGBT people who have internalized the homophobia and transphobia with which everyone was raised until recent times.

Professional: In 1995 Ed founded the SAGE/Queens Clubhouse, the first senior citizens program in Queens with a special outreach to LGBT elderly. Before that, Ed had organized a community response to the 1990 anti-gay murder in his neighborhood of Jackson Heights, New York – followed by a job running the New York State Hate Crimes Bill Coalition and building a neighborhood LGBT group in Queens. In 1995, Ed approached the Queens Borough President for funds to start what became the SAGE/Queens Clubhouse. This was, in a sense, a traditional senior center but with a special outreach to LGBT seniors. He developed locally appropriate strategies to find the members and to keep them feeling they were in a safe environment. Of course, Berkshire County has a different set of organizing challenges from New York’s, and probably different needs and different solutions. But you don’t know what they are until you do a needs assessment, and that means finding and learning from the members of this often self-hidden population.

Twenty years later SAGE/Queens is still alive and thriving — because a clear need for the service was established and a sustainability plan was in place from the outset.

The amazing increase in social acceptance we have seen recently holds out the hope that twenty years from today such senior programs won’t be needed. But for now, they are.

We ask for your support in making this happen.

For more information contact Ed Sedarbaum /413-441-6006/ rainbowseniorsbc@gmail.com

Ed Sedarbaum’s Full Resume

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