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AARP AARP States Illinois

AARP Illinois and Racial Justice Advocacy Groups Launch Disrupt Disparities Report

Full report can now be accessed here.

On February 8th, AARP Illinois, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago, The Chicago Urban League, and The Resurrection Project proudly launched the “Disrupt Disparities” report on how racial disparities keep people from living longer, healthier, and more productive lives.

The state of Illinois is aging.  More than 34 percent of the state population of Illinois is above the age of 50 and continues to age.  Of Illinoisans above the age of 50, more than a third are African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, or Asian American/Pacific Islander. 

Yet even with these changing demographics, there has been little study of the experiences and needs of African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian American/Pacific Islander older adults in Illinois and the public policy responses to the needs and challenges of these communities.  With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the devastating effects of the pandemic on older adults in particular, the need to focus on these older communities of color is more paramount than ever. 

Given these changing demographics and growing challenges, AARP Illinois, Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago, Chicago Urban League and The Resurrection Project, engaged Loyola University Chicago’s  Center for Urban Research & Learning to conduct a literature review and analysis of the existing research and data focused on African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian American/Pacific Islander older adults in Illinois.  The result is our report: “Disrupt Disparities: Challenges & Solutions for 50+ Illinoisans of Color.”   

The “Disrupt Disparities” report focuses on the issues of economic security, health and digital connectivity for older adults of color in communities, outlining first-step policy recommendations that should be taken at the state and local level to begin to address these challenges for older adults of color. These include expansion of the Secure Choice program to increase retirement savings opportunities, expansion of telehealth to increase healthcare access, and targeted broadband expansion to communities of color so older adults of color can access resources and services. 

This report and policy recommendations are just the beginning of a multiyear Disrupt Disparities initiative to create systemic policy changes on behalf of, and with, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian American/Pacific Islander older adults in Illinois.  The goal is to create an Illinois where older adults across communities can age with the economic stability, health care resources and digital connectivity they need to lead healthy, stable and rewarding lives.  

Join us in the fight to bring about the systemic and structural changes needed to bring equitable health and economic systems for older adults of color and their families. 

The group will host a Disrupt Disparities summit in partnership with the Illinois Department on Aging on April 26-27, hold regular community convenings across the state (calendar below) and engage lawmakers on developing policies to address the problems.

The full report can be viewed here.
Disrupt Disparities Community Convenings:

No Data, No Justice:
Description: This event will focus on the need for adequate data on the Asian American/Pacific Islander experience to effectively advocate for AA/PI older adults
Wednesday, February 24

Keeping the Faith
Description: How to address health and wealth disparities in our older African American communities 
Wednesday, March 3rd
Time TBD

The Black Wealth Gap
Description: Addressing the racial wealth gap among older African Americans 
Monday, April 12th
Time: TBD

Disrupt Disparities Summit with the Illinois Department on Aging
April 26 - 27

Convenings by Region:

Northern Illinois:

Chicago and Cook County Convening
Wednesday, March 24th
9:30 am

Central/Southern Illinois:

Chicago Urban League: Building Community Into Action
Description: How to bring organizations together to address the racial disparities of our Black elders
Thursday, March 25th
2:00 pm

About AARP Illinois
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