LeadingAge Virginia has selected the Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads Silver Panther Huddle as the winners of the 2020 Advocacy Award.
This annual award recognizes individuals – or in this case, a group – “for exceptional achievement in advocacy initiatives that have advanced the nonprofit mission, expanded the possibilities for aging, and/or improved the legal, public and/or regulatory environment influencing the provision of aging services” or which “champions resident life enrichment and exceptional care delivery.”
Nearly 100 Goodwin House residents are involved in the Huddle.
The broader group organizes smaller “huddles” that each individually focus on specific topics such as health care, the environment, redistricting, immigration and refugees, LGBTQ+ issues and stopping gun violence.
Residents choose their level of involvement. Group members (known as “Huddlers”) write postcards or letters, call officials and sponsor informational events open to all residents. Many Huddlers are also active in non-partisan activities — they staff polling places, encourage voter registration and help other residents who may want to vote early or absentee.
The Silver Panther Huddle also responds to LeadingAge Virginia requests to contact local officials about issues relevant to residents of Life Plan Communities.
Some of what the Silver Panther Huddle has accomplished, and why they were selected for this honor:
Worked to keep medical deductions in the 2017 Tax Bill, a deduction the House originally eliminated; investigated proposed Medicare changes, opposing ones that had a negative impact on seniors; monitored the attempted roll-back of national and state environmental protections in legislation and policies; collected signatures on a petition in favor of redistricting; supported DACA legislation and scholarships for Dreamers while monitoring other immigration legislation and supported legislation to ban discrimination against Virginians who identify with the LBGTQ+ community and urged businesses to say they welcome customers from the LBGTQ+ community while promoting SAGE (Service and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) CARE training for Goodwin House staff.
Even during the pandemic, the Huddlers have continued their important work. When Covid-19 kept residents from engaging in local events about justice and equality, Huddlers organized a vigil on the GHBC campus in memory of George Floyd. Residents and staff were able to safely attend, allowing them to participate in the wider movement toward equality.