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Advocates for African American Elders (AAAE) was founded in 2012 in response to the persistent and growing needs of African American seniors in Los Angeles. As a resident of Los Angeles for only 5 years, I noticed a lack of a visible, organized body that highlighted issues most relevant to African American seniors. Our seniors were not the focus of local conversations, despite the fact that African Americans have had a powerful impact on the development of the City; from being part of the first settlers in 1781 to the

present day. After being contacted several times as “an expert” to speak to issues impacting African American seniors despite my recent residence, it became even more clear to me that a group like AAAE was needed. AAAE is comprised of members who have been advocates for African American seniors for decades. It is just recently, however, that we have come together to pool our efforts and resources on behalf of our seniors and their families to advocate for their well-being. How do we do this? By educating and disseminating knowledge about resources that benefit African American elders; by working with local providers to improve outreach and engagement efforts related to health and mental health treatment and services for older African American residents in Los Angeles communities; by facilitating the translation of best-practices to agencies serving African American elders and their families; by providing and enhancing training methods and personal and professional development to providers so that they can better serve our seniors. Why do we do this? Because our seniors have earned it and because they deserve it. AAAE is putting our seniors first.

- Karen D. Lincoln, Ph.D., MSW, M.A.


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