Jason Collins to speak at AARP event

The Pennsylvania chapters of AARP and SAGE next week will host a community conversation on cultural competency and its impact on the LGBT community.

“This is our opportunity to be cross-cultural and invite everybody that wants to be part of the conversation, especially now in today’s climate,” said Angela Foreshaw-Rouse, AARP Pennsylvania manager of state operations and outreach. “We feel that it’s so important to be a bridge to different communities, to talk about our differences and see where we can all agree upon and work toward a common goal.”

The Nov. 21 event will include retired NBA player Jason Collins and Philadelphia Director of LGBT Affairs Amber Hikes as keynote speakers.

Foreshaw-Rouse said the aim of the event is to have a conversation about cross-cultural needs. Collins, the first openly gay man to play in the NBA, will talk about his journey and impact on his life.

“Having Jason Collins come to share his story as the first openly gay man in the NBA: That’s such a case for us to look at and dive into how that has changed his lens and his mission for equality,” Foreshaw-Rouse said, adding that Hikes will discuss how the local LGBT community can support efforts to expand the city’s LGBT-inclusivity.

“She’s been speaking all across the city, educating folks on what the Office [of LGBT Affairs] does and some of the cool things and events that they are going to be bringing forth to the city,” Foreshaw-Rouse said. “She’ll discuss what they’re doing to support the LGBT community, ranging from enacting policies and programs to getting an inside view of what the mayor’s initiative is for the LGBT community in Philadelphia. That’s rare that we get that kind of insight.”

“It’s truly going to be so diverse in the types of people that you’re going to be [hearing], talking a little bit about LGBT cultural competency. We are going to be talking about AARP but also hearing about a real-life individual who took a strong stance to come out and be open about his background and talk about real life — what happened after and where is he today and here, locally in Philly, what we can do to help champion some of our LGBT affairs.”

The AARP PA & SAGE Community Conversation will take place 5:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. Visit http://bit.ly/2jg8wyp or call 1-877-926-8300 to register.