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    Proud Old Lesbians To Gather in Oakland

    proudBy Susan Chacin and Elana Dykewomon

    Proud to be old? Yes! Old Lesbians Organizing for Change started in the Bay Area 25 years ago—Old Lesbians and proud of it! OLOC is now a national force, with 17 regional chapters across the US. This July 23-27, 2014, OLOC’s national gathering, “Lesbian Activism Changing the World,” celebrates its 25th anniversary at the Marriott in Oakland.

    Women are coming from as far as Australia to soak up the pride. OLOC invites Lesbians 59 and older—and their partners and/or caregivers of any age—to confront the social bias that renders us invisible, the internalized ageism that diminishes us, and the intersections of multiple oppressions that we can dismantle together. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Chrystos, Cherríe Moraga and Dorothy Allison—inspiring activists in anti-racist, feminist and economic justice movements (as well as dynamite writers) for the last thirty-five years.

    Women of all ages are invited to some Gathering events: an Intergenerational Panel chaired by Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project Managing Director, T. Kebo Drew, Thursday afternoon, July 24. Younger women are also invited to evening events including a stellar Writers’ Night on Thursday, which will include a Tribute to Pat Parker with Vicki Randle, Linda Tillery, Anita Lofton, Arisa White and Indira Allegra, as well as ten legendary writer-activists. And the legends keep coming with a Saturday night dance featuring the Bay Area Lesbian Legends Boogie Band in a one-time only appearance. You won’t want to miss any of these historic events!

    proud3On Saturday morning, July 26, a plenary panel of Lesbians of Color will speak of their experiences. A Lesbian of Color space will also be available throughout the gathering. Other plenaries will deal with class, discuss gathering oral herstories of Old Lesbians, and honor OLOC’s founders.

    Some 50 workshops on a variety of topics are listed at www.oloc.org. Our generation coined: “We Are Everywhere!” We rallied against homophobia, defended Lesbian mothers, demanded reproductive rights, marched for safety from assault, and created a women’s culture. We are at it again. We are giving increasing priority to keeping ourselves healthy, and finding mutual support for aging in a hostile, racist, capitalist environment. We stand in defense of Social Security, voting rights and peace. On Thursday, July 24, gathering participants will be demonstrating against banking crimes at the nearby Bank of America on Broadway.

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    A third of those at the gathering are receiving financial support. While the deadline for financial assistance has passed, registration is available for program segments for those unable to attend the entire gathering. Disability access is also a priority: some 30 scooters and wheelchairs will be rolling around and we are urging all participants not to wear scents. All plenary sessions will be open-captioned and assistive hearing devices are available. Donations are urgently needed to cover expenses, and in-kind items for live and silent auctions are also very welcome. Don’t miss the live auction with Alix Dobkin at the Saturday night dance!

    Find all the details at www.oloc.org

    Spread the word, and join us!

    Susan Chacin and Elana Dykewomon are both noted lesbian activists, authors, and teachers. For more information about Dykewomon’s work, please visit http://www.dykewomon.org/