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Living with Age

Living with Age: The elderly in America

Is 70 the new 60, or the new 70? How are the elderly, defined by the Census Bureau as those over 65, living?

Making a law to stop bullying is not like making sausage!

Crafting a law to stop bullying

Rep. Paul Heroux and Rep. Jay Livingstone invited Michael Kane, Executive Director of Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants and me to meet with them and other legislators yesterday (13 March) at the State House to help craft a bill to stop bullying of elders and disabled in housing programs. They invited Senator Joan Lovely, my own senator who has supported our efforts from the beginning. The new bill is intended to complement, build on, and improve the original effort, S604.

Tale of bullying, eviction of disabled woman spurs stop bullying advocacy at state house hearing

INTRODUCTION

Speaking before the Joint Committee on Housing at the state house in Boston on 28 January, Margaret, a disabled woman now homeless, told of her painful experiences as the victim of bullying, eviction, and homelessness. Listeners fought back tears as they heard of the cruelty inflicted upon her, her futile attempts to receive a fair hearing, and the inability of the safety net to protect a woman living with significant disabilities, as well as the trauma of domestic abuse. Margaret's experience as a resident of privately owned, HUD-subsidized housing in Attleboro is unfortunately all too common in housing programs throughout the Commonwealth and nationally, impacting both elderly and disabled citizens.

Elderly and disabled victims of bullying demand relief

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PEABODY, MA. 24 JANUARY 2014

Elderly and disabled victims of bullying demand relief

The Stop Bullying Coalition and the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants announce that elderly and disabled residents of subsidized housing, supported by organizations representing tenants, will advocate for legislation to protect against bullying in subsidized housing, by appearing before the Joint Committee on Housing at the State House on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.

Announcing: Hearing on S604 to protect elderly and disabled citizens from bullying in subsidized housing

The Stop Bullying Coalition (SBC) announces a hearing on S604, An Act to protect residents of subsidized housing developments from bullying, including both elderly and those living with disability. The hearing will be held by the Joint Committee on Housing in Boston, MA. at the State House, Room B2 from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.

The blame game and Margaret

I am deeply concerned for the well being of "Margaret." She is frail and ill, lives with multiple disabilities, yet is being forced out of the shelter where she has been surviving since being bullied, mobbed, and evicted from subsidized housing—possibly to live on the street. But as I look around, I see no help for her, nor indeed for many persons in desperate need and no solutions for the larger social problems, no mending of the frayed social safety net. Instead of strengthening our society, we are breaking it.

The Stop Bullying Coalition mission

Bullying is harmful. We seek to enlist partners to work together to advocate for remedies, including but not limited to legislation. We have done our best to identify the issues, ideas for intervention, and have proposed the goals and vision outlined in this document. We now reach out to all individuals and organizations who have a stake in these matters, and we seek your collaboration and input. Our primary concern is for people living with age and/or disability in subsidized housing. But we recognize common challenges, concerns, and solutions that may affect other populations and we stand together with all who oppose bullying.

Trauma on the field and bullying in the locker room

Frontline has charged that the NFL has been deliberately blind to the crippling effects of concussion, and both The Blaze and The New York times report that the NFL and Miami Dolphins have accepted bullying as a common, spirit-building activity of the locker room culture. The human brain can be damaged by two kinds of trauma—a blow that causes concussion, or by bullying that causes psychological trauma, sometimes as severe as PTSD.

New: A Program to Stop Bullying

A Program to Stop Bullying is a new publication that serves as a resource for legislation, advocacy, and intervention against bullying, social bullying, and mobbing.

Advocacy groups working together to stop bullying

Several advocacy groups will join under the umbrella of the Stop Bullying Coalition. Our plan is to craft a commonly agreed set of goals, and then to write a bill to replace S604, for consideration by the legislature.

Attleboro City Council to explore how to stop bullying.

The Attleboro (MA) Human Rights Council is to be congratulated for their efforts to remedy the injustice affecting targets of bullying. The Attleboro City Council, if it passes an ordinance on bullying, would make history in the fight against bullying.

Attleboro MA moves to stop bullying

In a significant victory against bullying in Massachusetts, Attleboro is moving to prohibit bullying. When approved by the Council, the city ordinances would prohibit bullying or cyber-bullying.

A program to stop bullying and mobbing Part 3

Bullying and mobbing in schools, business, community organizations and subsidized housing are plagues that affect everyone. How can we stop, prevent, and eliminate bullying and mobbing? We need first to understand and analyze what causes bullying. One useful approach is to view the social system within which bullying takes place. Another approach might be to adopt a public health perspective. These approaches are complementary and together can be the basis to develop interventions.

Towards a program to stop bullying and mobbing Part 2

Bullying and mobbing are a plague affecting many institutions and community organizations. Certainly many elderly persons are affected, and not only in subsidized housing. Common explanations are that the bullies and or their targets have psychological problems; that people who live in subsidized housing are "losers" or they wouldn't be living there. We must seek further for explanations. There is increasing evidence that bullying of and by elders in many contexts is common; there is evidence that even people of means can engage in bullying and mobbing; and that the institutional environment is a significant factor in mobbing.

Malala, one young woman seeking to change the world

If we falter in our struggle—for dignity, for respect, for education, for freedom from abuse—or we weaken in our resolve because we are so few—we can gain humility, energy, and new dedication by the example of a young woman, Malala Yousafzai. Despite being shot by the Taliban in an attempt to stop her efforts for educating girls in Pakistan, she spoke at the UN on her 16th birthday. She spoke of peace, love, non-violence, and education. The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.

Towards a program to stop bullying and mobbing Part 1

Intervention experts provide essential guidance

How can we stop bullying of elderly and/or disabled persons living in subsidized housing? I see the work of Duffy and Sperry {1} as a guide and springboard for developing solutions for a broad range of institutions, including subsidized housing for elderly and disabled. The findings and conclusions presented by Maureen Duffy and Len Sperry in their book on mobbing (an extreme form of social bullying) are essential reading for anyone seeking to understand, prevent, and remedy bullying. They analyze mobbing in schools and the workplace in a systemic way, examining the individual, the group, and the institutional context.

Yeats on age

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress... —W.B.Yeats, Sailing to Byzantium

Explaining the bill to stop bullying (S604)

Talking points to support S604, a bill to stop bullying

THE PURPOSES OF S604 are to protect elderly and/or disabled citizens living in subsidized housing from bullying; to hold landlords and management responsible and accountable for having evidence-based policies on bullying; and for the Commonwealth to support ongoing research and demonstration programs and to distribute guidelines that protect disabled and senior residents from bullying.

Help advocate for legislation to gain rights for disabled and elderly

Your voice can make a difference, work together with us

Bullying in subsidized housing affects all residents, including people living with a disability as well as people living with age. The Stop Bullying Coalition is proud and lucky to be working with The Cross Disability Advocacy Coalition and with Jonathan Gale, coordinator of the CDAC. Please join with us and advocate for change now.

We went to Beacon Hill to help save our homes

Help save our homes

As bad as bullying is, being homeless is far worse. Much of the housing stock for subsidized housing in the nation, including here in the Bay State, is now vulnerable to conversion to private, market rate use, thus threatening to displace elderly and disabled persons, and low income families. Please help advocate to save our homes, tell Beacon Hill to act now.

Memorial Day: Remembering and forgetting

It was a great day for a parade.

flags

New ideas to stop bullying

Our group, the Stop Bullying Coalition, has great people with resources and ideas. Here are the ideas and experiences reported by two women who have chosen different responses to bullying. Eileen presents an analysis of bullying across the life cycle; Marian tells how her gift of music protects her. Thank you for sharing!

Help create strategies to stop bullying

The Stop Bullying Coalition started as an effort to gather support for a new legal framework to protect people living with age and/or disability. Many people are not even aware of the terrible impact of bullying in these groups.We have few resources, we are few but not yet connected to a broad constituency, so how can we win? I am reaching out to all of you to seek your ideas and collaboration. And I have been looking for examples of how leadership, organization, and strategy have achieved success. Others have gone from weakness to strength and to victory.

A new Raw Deal for the needy

The federal sequester is a cruel weapon: a raw deal that is part of an effort to undo the heritage of the New Deal and the safety net. It is striking home and eliminating programs that are essential to the needs and rights of the elderly, the poor, children, and the disabled. Today I learned about the end of an excellent advocacy program for the disabled.

Reporter spotlights bullying in Attleboro, MA.

The front page story, by Rick Foster, is headlined: Bullying at any age: Experts say aggression by seniors against other seniors is a growing problem—and it's being felt in Attleboro Foster details specific instances of bullying in Attleboro senior housing.

Refugees from bullying enjoy their freedom

How three women escaped

Not from kidnap and rape, but from bullying which is bad enough. Bullies target differences and vulnerability. Three women living with disability in HUD-subsidized housing were bullied—Margaret, in Massachusetts; Christie, in Washington; and Jennifer in Wisconsin. Margaret got evicted and lives in a shelter, Christie managed to buy a home, and Jennifer found a well-managed residence. Their lives are transformed, they feel good again, and they experience hope and peace—even living in a shelter is better than being bullied.

Margaret leads the protest despite being bullied, evicted, and made homeless

Shocking story of injustice—elders and disabled are treated cruelly.

Bullied, evicted, and homeless---Margaret is fighting to stop bullying

Join Margaret in the fight to bring justice to subsidized housing

Can we still feel the pain and joy of caring?

As a result of advocating for the rights of people living with age or disability, I am hearing painful stories of injustice.

Justice and hope

If we create the right kind of personal identity, we can say things to the world around us that they don’t yet believe, and get them to do things that they don’t think they can do.---Bryan Stevenson, founder Equal Justice Initiative, speaking at TED

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