Dr. Josie R. Johnson

Dr. Josie R. Johnson

An area organization is working to combat elder abuse, in particular, elders of color.

Minnesota Elder Nonviolence Coalition (MENC) is a grass roots cultural community outreach initiative that said it will capture testimony from elders and shine a spotlight on elder violence at home, in nursing facilities, at senior daycare centers, on public transportation and in predatory financial exploitation. This initiative seeks to inform and educate communities with the goal of adopting elder nonviolence as a way of living in the spirit of our ancestors.

MENC is asking the elder community and their caregivers to share their stories of elder abuse that will be used to develop a community narrative, as well as to create legislation. Community partners Sabathani Community Center, Hallie Q. Brown and Ujamaa Place have joined MENC in supporting the initiative.

MENC was founded by community activists after beloved 88-year-old civil rights leader Dr. Josie Johnson was a victim of elder abuse at the hands of an Uber driver. A statement released by Johnson urged the community to get involved in this grass roots initiative to bring more resources to our elder population in the state.

“The condition of our elders can sometimes be forgotten because of the many injustices we are fighting against daily. Concern for our elders must not take a back seat. The elder community needs your support,” said Johnson. “We need your voice.”

Rep. Rena Moran (DFL-St. Paul) supports the initiative.  Moran, in a recent MENC podcast talked about the process of creating a bill and how important it is to hear the needs from elders. 

“I am eager to learn from elders about their health and safety needs. Elder testimony will help me write a bill that will champion the need to allocate more resources to address the cultural needs and abuse of elders in underserved communities throughout Minnesota,” said Moran.

“Acknowledging the role that community activism plays in bringing radical change to big problems in our community was important to the MENC initiative”, said co-founder Monique Linder. 

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