• Susan Friedman

PANTHER SPOTLIGHT: Brendan Birth, Gray Panthers NYC Board Member

Brendan Birth (he/him) is the Secretary of the Gray Panthers NYC Board. He first came to Gray Panthers as an intern in Summer 2015. He interned with Gray Panthers again in summer 2016, and subsequently served two stints on the Steering Committee/Board of Gray Panthers NYC, sandwiched by a stint as Development Consultant.

Outside of Gray Panthers, he has years of experience in government and runs his own blog focusing on social justice issues. Building upon this experience, Brendan has accepted the role of our Gray Matters blog master.

He currently serves as Assistant District Manager at Manhattan Community Board 6.

Can you tell us about your two internships? Let me first say that I was introduced to Gray Panthers when I was looking for a summer internship in spring of my junior year of college. I was looking for an internship in general, but in particular I wanted something in advocacy. When I saw a posting for the Gray Panthers, it looked like it was up my alley! The first summer I was with Gray Panthers, I found myself learning so much about ageism (something not really in my consciousness before I started interning for Gray Panthers) and areas where we need more rights for older persons, while at the same time taking so much of what I learned and applying it to things where I was advocating for the rights of older persons, both locally and internationally. Yes, I was working with Gray Panthers on international issues too, as we are deeply involved with work in the United Nations pushing for more rights for older persons! By the end of my first summer internship with Gray Panthers, I went from knowing very little about ageism to seeing ageism in all sorts of places! In my second summer with Gray Panthers, which was soon after my senior year of college, I came in with a much greater understanding of ageism and a much greater appreciation of the Gray Panthers, so I felt that I was able to use those things to my advantage in working on a variety of things I don't think I would've been able to do the previous summer, such as working on projects to help better preserve the organization's history and statements responding to issues affecting older persons and the world at-large. I will also add that during both summers, I learned a lot about the nonprofit advocacy world, through my work with Gray Panthers as well as with other partner organizations. Both internships were educational, and yet at the same time I felt like I was making a positive difference! Where can one find your social justice blog? One can find it here: https://blindinjusticeblog.com/ Now, I will say that I haven't published anything in a few weeks because I'm figuring out how (and if) I can balance my blog with the Gray Panthers blog we now have, my job, my family, my friends, etc., but I've published posts on there for several years on multiple topics...including ageism!

Anything beyond what's on the website bio that you'd like to share with our subscribers?

One of the really cool things about being a younger person who's passionate about issues of ageism is that I often find myself educating even some of my own friends (many of whom are close to my age) about the issue. It's really cool when my Gray Panthers work reaches far beyond anything we do officially as an organization!