From the President: Join our distinguished panel for a discussion of elder financial abuse

Written by Dory Rand on April 18, 2014 - 2:55pm

As part of Woodstock Institute’s Community Investment Awards event on May 9 in Chicago, we will screen the short documentary film “Fleeced: Speaking Out Against Senior Financial Abuse” and host a panel and audience discussion after the screening.

Producer Kim Jacobs will join the panel to discuss her film, which reveals what can happen to older adults when they are targeted for scams and abusive financial products. The film also reveals how they are fighting back, and becoming powerful advocates for themselves and others to help change the current landscape of economic security for older Americans. We met Kim when “Fleeced” was shown at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) conference in Washington, DC, in March. We are delighted she offered to drive in from Indianapolis to join us for the event.

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Jesse Van Tol, director of membership of organizing at NCRC, which produced the film with WFYI, will discuss efforts to promote age-friendly banking and NCRC’s National Neighbors Silver (NNS) program. NNS is a multi-year campaign to empower, organize, and support economically vulnerable older adults and offers a platform for policy and program solutions to build economic security and preserve wealth for aging America.

Rev. Elaine Bellis, of Gamaliel of Metro Chicago (GMC) and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, will share information on challenges our elders face and local efforts to engage and help older Americans. GMC bridges relationships between African American, White, and Latino communities and leads campaigns on issues such as civil rights of immigrants, universal health care, equitable funding of public education, employment, inclusionary housing, recreation, revenue sharing, urban sprawl, public safety and economic development. I haven’t had the opportunity to hear Rev. Bellis speak before but, as an advocate in the Saul Alinsky tradition of community organizing, I’m sure she’ll be inspiring.

Ernie Lukasik will describe his journey and transformation from victim of foreclosure to community advocate with North West Side Housing Center. Ernie and I have participated in meetings with bank regulators together a few times. His personal story and his knowledge of what is going on at the community level are always enlightening.

Following the panel, moderated by yours truly, we will invite attendees to ask questions and participate in the discussion. We will also share information on opportunities to engage in future events and programs to protect older Americans from financial abuse.

Please join us! Purchase tickets at woodstockinst.org/awards. I look forward to seeing you there.

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