Ashton Applewhite’s Manifesto Against Ageism Draws Large, Enthusiastic Crowd
Story by Charli Depner, photos by Nancy Rubin
March 15, 2019
On a sunny Friday afternoon, over 150 people turned out at UC Berkeley’s Clark Kerr Campus to dialogue with the author of This Chair Rocks, a new book that stands out as an incisive critique of the ageist stereotypes that divide the generations and lead to stigma, discrimination, and age segregation. Applewhite began the event with a sharp-witted, research-based takedown of many of the myths that play to fears of a later life plagued by incapacitation, lost autonomy, and declining social impact. “Ageism is as unacceptable as any other form of bias,” Applewhite concluded. She ignited interest in a vision of an all-age friendly world—and invited the audience to join her.
The March 15 event was co-sponsored by the UCB Retirement Center and Ashby Village, two organizations changing the experience of aging in our community. Most of the program time was dedicated to interaction with a highly engaged audience. Andy Gaines opened the event and UCB Retirement Center Director Cary Sweeney and UCB Student Anika Kumar posed questions from the audience: How does age bias interact with gender and race bias? How does shame and fear about ageing create markets? Is it time for a revival of “consciousness raising groups” that share solutions to age bias? What is the business case against ageism? Why does it make sense to have friends of all ages? What are the opportunities for the generations to join forces against ageism? Thanks go out to people from both sponsoring organizations who teamed up to plan and put on the event. They hope that this will be the springboard for a broader effort to create an Age Equity Initiative, involving people of all ages. We hope you will be interested!