85 East Holly Street, Pasadena, CA 91103 • Tel: 626.795.4331 • www.pasadenaseniorcenter.org
NEWS RELEASE - For immediate release
AFRICAN AMERICAN PASADENA SENIOR CENTER MEMBER SHARES MEMORIES, PHILOSOPHIES ABOUT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT
Michael Coxson, 66, a member of the Pasadena Senior Center, shared insights yesterday about the Black Lives Matter movement that has seen a resurgence since the May 25 death in Minneapolis of George Floyd as a result of police brutality.
“I think the whole thing is remarkable,” Coxson said. “I’m happy to see the collaboration of people – multiracial and multigenerational – coming together on issues that are very dear to my heart.”
Throughout his life, and the lives of generations before him, he said he has always stood for what is right, and he wishes there were even more organized groups involved in bringing attention to the issue and working on a solution.
He has seen his personal share of racial discrimination, even as an older adult in the recent past.
“I put money down on a home, and the realtor saw to it that the sale was never completed and that I never received the deed.”
He has words of advice for other older adults who face discrimination of any kind.
“Take a deep breath. History does not have to repeat itself. Look for the group with the track record for addressing the issue you want to solve,” he said. “It’s your heart, not age, that keeps everything going.”
He said he will never just give up.
“I have a lot of faith in what I see happening currently. I want my grandchildren to learn from this and see that their grandfather has goals and is moving forward, despite obstacles.”
Coxson, who also is a volunteer at the Pasadena Senior Center, has a long history as an advocate for change not only for America’s black population, but for all people who historically have been disenfranchised. As a college student involved in the debating team and student government at the University of Pennsylvania, he fought for the rights of all people, not just one group.
“Michael Coxson is an example of an older adult who has created a living legacy and continues to advocate for social justice,” said Akila Gibbs, executive director of the Pasadena Senior Center.
Through his own experiences, Coxson believes a higher power can affect change when humans cannot.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘God is able to give you the power to endure that which cannot be changed, so why be anxious? Come what may, God is able.’”
Even during the COVID-19 crisis, the Pasadena Senior Center continues to be a resource for frank discussions about every topic under the sun, from current events to staying active to cooking, music and more.
While older adults are in isolation at home, many of them lonesome and depressed, Gibbs reminds everyone that even though they can’t gather at the center’s coffee bar and other areas for daily frank discussions and camaraderie, a virtual, online social hour every Tuesday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. provides an opportunity for people to share ideas and opinions.
“The online social hour has become a natural place for older adults to share what’s on their minds,” said Gibbs. “We are happy to provide this forum as an avenue for meaningful dialog.”
For more information or to join the free social hour on Zoom, visit www.pasadenaseniorcenter.org/social-hour or call 626-685-6702.
For more information about Pasadena Senior Center programs and services, including online options for classes, events and activities during the COVID-19 crisis, visit www.pasadenaseniorcenter.org or call 626-795-4331.
The center, at 85 E. Holly St., an independent, donor-supported nonprofit organization, has been deemed an essential service provider for older adults by the city of Pasadena, so its doors remain open six days a week for social services and other assistance to older adults in need. Hours during this period are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.