We know that we are only here because of the trailblazing work of our elders. Our lesbian and trans feminist forebears have led the way in so many social justice movements, from responding to the AIDS crisis to fighting to end incarceration, insisting on radical inclusion and lifting up the voices of those who are too often left behind. “I would not be the person I am today were it not for the labor of feminist innovators like Audre Lorde, Marsha P. Johnson, June Jordan, and Sylvia Rivera. Our ongoing struggles are informed by their legacies,” said J. Bob Alotta, Astraea’s Executive Director. “Through the Acey Award, Astraea is able to honor the legacies of the extraordinary lesbian, queer, and trans women who are still with us and from whom we have much to learn.”
This month, Astraea is proud to announce the new Acey Social Justice Feminist Award and to celebrate our inaugural honorees: Reverend Gale Jones, Angela Bowen, Ali Marrero-Calderon, and Eleanor Palacios. The Acey Award honors lesbian and trans women of color over the age of 62 who have made significant but under-recognized contributions to our movements and often have unmet financial needs as they age. Named after and created in honor of Astraea’s Executive Director Emerita Katherine Acey, who led Astraea for 23 years and who is now leading conversations about aging and activism as well as about building multigenerational relationships within and across movements, the Award calls attention to the need for greatly increased community support for our LGBTQ elders.
LGBTQ elders often encounter lifelong barriers to financial resources due to the many discriminations they face throughout their lifetimes. These prevent access to a living wage, retirement funds, and housing. SAGE reports that LGBTQ elders disproportionately live in poverty and have reduced economic security, compared to their heterosexual peers. LGBTQ elders also face significant physical and metal health disparities. These issues must be addressed.
It means the world to me that Astraea continues to grow but also stays committed to their core values. – Katherine Acey
Read more about the inaugural Acey Award awardee, Reverend Gale Jones, and our other Acey Award honorees, including Black lesbian feminist and prima ballerina Angela Bowen, San Francisco Pride mastermind Ali Marrero-Calderon, and Latinx activist Eleanor Palacios below.
The Acey Award Nominating Committee consisted of Mandy Carter, Miles Goff, Jewelle Gomez, Vega Subramaniam, Olga Talamante, and Katherine Acey; read more about the Committee here.
At 65 years, Reverend Gale Jones has been working for decades on behalf of LGBT people of color in the New York area, particularly working to combat the AIDS crisis and to support homeless LGBTQ youth.