THE ORIGINS OF THE
GRATERFORD GRAY PANTHERS
In late August of 1970, a concerned senior citizen by the name of Maggie Kuhn convened a meeting in Philadelphia with a group of five friends to talk about issues relative to older people. From that group came the foundation of today's Gray Panthers Organization Nationally. It was made up of local community organizers and demonstrates for social changes, particularly against stereotypes of the elderly promoting their right to exist, be gainfully employed, and improved quality of life issues in general and active just as any other citizen. Maggie says: "aging is the flowering of life, a triumph of the spirit, not a disease."
Ten years later Maggie visited Graterford prison at the request of a group of older citizens incarcerated there. A Graterford Chapter of Gray Panthers was established and received their charter, from the inspiration and dedication of Maggie Kuhn. That inspiration and dedication still exists today, 35 years later. Aging continues to be the "flowering of Life and triumph of spirit" for social change promoting those same rights to exist and be active. That has become the soul and pride of Gray Panthers Graterford Chapter as a local grass roots approach for change.
Today its membership is represented by quality leadership that carries on the same dedication, spirit, pride and vision. Today's leadership ensures compassion, wisdom and tenacity are reflected throughout its actions and goals. That leadership continues to inspire elderly citizens to transcend to new and greater heights never before thought of to be possible. That is what current president Kevin Butler instills, fosters and attributes to its chapters success today. Kevin sets the tone and promotes leadership in a smart and progressive style, which ensures investment and tenacity, and continues as a model of success. Gray Panthers Organization has a genuine concern and stellar reputation for being relentless advocates "for health and safety of all elderly citizens as well as our youth." Gray Panthers believe every human being has a purpose in life with the potential to live to its full potential, whatever that may be. Further believing that, with age, comes growth and experience which blossoms into wisdom and tolerance. That further transcends to greater appreciation for respect and compassion for all humanity. Unifying qualities we all need to be reminded of.
For in the words of Maggie Kuhn: "we are risk takers, we are the innovators, we are the developers of new models, and we are trying on the future like no other - That is our role."
WHO WE ARE
The Graterford Chapter of Gray Panthers boasts its 900 member-strong roster with each man committed to its philosophy, mission and goals. We are more than an organization of elderly citizens incarcerated, we are grandfathers, fathers, stepfathers, brothers, nephews and cousins, who also have sons and daughters. We have a great deal of spirit to mentoring our younger generation, who are in many ways walking the same pathway we once traveled. It is for that reason (that vital reason) that our wisdom and compassion gets passed on.
Every donation goes towards bringing resources for those in the process of re-entry, as well as advocate programs to help with pushing legislation for an Aging Out of Crime release system for elderly prisoners. Please donate today to help those within the system find a better life.