Love & Community: The Ties that Bind
Grandparents Day 2020 is Sunday, September 13
I consider happy memories with my grandparents as special blessings that I will always cherish. I remember my grandparents loved TV wrestling matches. As a child, I had to suffer through watching them while there for sleepovers. I can still hear my grandmother’s squeals every time a wrestler was thrown down hard by his opponent. I could not understand why they loved watching it so much, but my grandfather’s 7 Up floats made it bearable—and sometimes he even allowed us to have seconds! To this day, 7 Up floats are one of my favorite guilty pleasures and, whenever I have one, I fondly remember my grandparents.
Throughout history, grandparents—and especially grandmothers—have played significant roles in nurturing, supporting, and sustaining families. That is why Congress passed legislation in 1978, proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day—to recognize, educate, and celebrate the important contributions older adults have made throughout history.
This September 13 marks the second annual local Grandparents Day celebration in partnership with AARP, the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), the Mayor’s Council on African American Elders, and Aging and Disability Services. The 2020 theme is “Love & Community: The Ties that Bind.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration will be offered virtually (online) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will celebrate the contributions and strength of grandparents. There will also be a short program, entertainment, and intergenerational activities.
The program will feature Women United founder and CEO Alesia Cannady. Women United is a nonprofit organization that supports women involved in kinship care. Alesia and the grandmothers her organization supports are among the nearly 44,000 Washington grandparents raising their grandchildren.
During the pandemic, Alesia led a group of dedicated grandmothers—also known as the Pepper Pot Kinship Support Group—in sewing face masks for people in need in the community. Her work has been honored and recognized by the greater Seattle community. Alesia received recognition and praise for the “Love Train Play Street” community party held annually at her Angel of Hope Engagement Center in Skyway. Her list of accomplishments also includes an Unsung Hero Award from the Washington State Department of Children Youth and Families for her kinship caregiving community work. Alesia has been featured on local TV news programs and recognized in publications such as Crosscut, Seattle’s Child, Seattle Times, South Seattle Emerald, the Children’s Home Society of Washington news, and West Hill community news.
Following the program, Grandparents Day participants will enjoy entertainment from DJ Mr. Cliff and interactive online games. Everyone is welcome to participate in the event.
Contributor Karen Winston is a planner at Aging and Disability Services. She staffs the Mayor’s Council on African American Elders (MCAAE) and coordinates several annual events, including Memory Sunday (June), Grandparents Day (September) and the Legacy of Love African American Caregivers Forum (November), along with community members. For more information, e-mail Karen.Winston@seattle.gov.
This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of AgeWise King County.