Gray Panthers

From Academic Kids

Gray Panthers is an American organization promoting senior citizens' rights, founded by Maggie Kuhn in 1970, in response to her forced retirement at age 65.

In August of 1970, Maggie Kuhn convened a group of five friends, all of whom were retiring from national religious and social work organizations. This first Network of friends gathered to look at the common problems faced by retirees loss of income, loss of contact with associates and loss of one of our society's most distinguishing social roles, one's job. They also discovered a new kind of freedom in their retirement the freedom to speak personally and passionately about what they believed in, such as their collective opposition to the Vietnam War.

Gathering with college students opposed to the Vietnam War, this new group, self-named the Consultation of Older and Younger Adults for Social Change, met to discuss their common beliefs and values in Philadelphia. One year later more than 100 people joined their Consultation. The original name survives in the Gray Panthers slogan, "Age and Youth in Action".

This new group began meeting and acting. Early on, a New York TV talk show producer nicknamed the group the Gray Panthers for the groups' lively, quick witted, controversial and action-oriented manner. The name stuck and was quickly adopted by the media, especially after Maggie's 'unscheduled' speech in 1972. Maggie was asked to fill in at the last minute for someone unable to speak during the 181st General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church in Denver. From that one speech, the Gray Panthers became a national organization. Calls came flooding in from around the nation to the fledgling organization's Philadelphia based headquarters.

In 1985, the Gray Panthers opened their first public policy office in Washington DC, and in 1990 centralized most functions there.

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