Gray Panthers fight for senior citizens’ rights

The Gray Panthers of Sacramento are senior citizens who meet monthly to discuss concerns about Social Security, health care and the community. They campaign for change by writing letters to elected officials, attending City Council meetings, hosting marches and protesting unjust budget cuts by the government.

“Our representatives need to know how we feel,” said Margie Metzler, head of the Gray Panthers. “If enough of us speak out, they’ll pay attention.”

The Gray Panthers were founded in 1970 by Maggie Kuhn and has since expanded across the country.

“I was forced to retire when I was 65,” Metzler said. “But I thought it was wrong because I still had lots of energy. I wanted to change the mandatory retirement age.”

She moved to Sacramento in 2004 to be a part of John Kerry’s presidential campaign and, through networking, became involved with the Gray Panthers. Metzler became an advocate for Medicare and Social Security.

“I wanted to educate people on these complicated, complex issues,” she said. “Politicians like to say Social Security is in crisis or broken, but that’s not true. It needs tweaking, and it will always need tweaking, but it’s not broken.”

Metzler is opposed to privatizing Social Security. “It’s not meant to be an investment,” she said, adding that Social Security is incorrectly accused of being part of the nation’s budget deficit. She believes in pointing out both sides of an issue because “if only one voice gets heard, they win.”

For the past month, Metzler said she and other Gray Panthers have been writing letters to elected officials urging them against privatization.

In 2006, after Joan Lee, the founder of Sacramento’s Grey Panthers, passed away, Metzler took the top position. She has since been tirelessly campaigning for senior citizens’ rights. One of the group’s more recent successes was convincing the City Council to keep from cutting the Hart Senior Center’s operating hours in half, resulting in a six-hour cut instead, which was a compromise more than a victory, however, she said.

“It’s been a horrendous, terrible couple of years,” Metzler said about the state of senior living and economic turmoil. “We reach out to the baby boomers. They have no clue what they’re in for.”

“Forty percent of budget cuts have affected seniors,” she said.

There are about 30 Gray Panthers in Sacramento. When they’re not challenging changes to Social Security, they coordinate with other community organizations to campaign against furloughs, raising college tuition and much more.

“It’s not just about us. It’s about future generations,” Metzler said.

They meet every second Tuesday at the Hart Senior Center at 915 27th Street. Metzler said attendance ranges from 10 to 30 and that all ages are invited. Once or twice a year, the Sacramento chapter meets with Gray Panthers from Berkeley and San Francisco so they can assist each other in the quest for better health care and to protect Social Security.

“The fight is worth fighting,” Metzler said.


Photos courtesy of the Gray Panthers website, used with permission.

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November 22, 2010 | 11:53 PM

A serious hit on the senior citizens, in the United States. Back in 1970, Gray Panthers an organization was founded to discuss and help assist senior citizens to discuss issues like health care and social security. Maggie Khunn the founder in 1970 and know is represented by Margie Meztler is an organization educating the elderly on their rights and what should be expected after retirement. I agree with the Gray Panthers organization because we must make sure our senior citizens be completely taking care of. It is the duty of every person to watch and to protect are wisdom of those who were before us. In a nut shell i deeply honor and respect what this Organiztion is doing and what they are accomplishing as a group.

June 13, 2011 | 9:47 AM

Howdy – we need for form a group here in OCeanside CA. CA. I also live in PIne Grove, CA. As a senior, I have fought for granddaughter guardianship, won and lost 5 years later (birth-5) by a judge who doesn’t believe grandparents can do a good job. She was just taken away – no good
bys, clothes, toys, her entire lifeand now in SoCal, she is emotionally traumitized and I had to temp. move here to see her. I have assisted Seniors in obtaining their rights as
grandparents; how to file in court free; help them stop the union from taking dues out of their checksreceived for home health care; obtain visitation for grandchild; etc. etc. I also tried a petition
to file “indecent exposure” charges against these teenagers who have their pants half way down
their knees and underwear/butt showing and same for girls. I am trying to make courts realize having a baby doesn’t make you a parent. 35% of grandparents in Amador County have their
grandchildren and don’t know how to receive monetary assistance through Sates even if parents
can’t pay child support. So much, so ittle time. Our grandchildren generation is going to “pot” and hell. Laws are made to make everyting illegal INSTEAD OF just turning off the tv; forbid or turn of f computer; do homework with kids, read with themon-line activity alone; parents do time for childs
misdeeds in school etc; as retired seniors,we paid our taxes and dues – so – why aren’t jparents responsible for any costs with their under 18 year old pregnant daughter? WHy aren’t those on welfare mandated to WORK and, pay the government back like child support? Why do our taxes have to pay for idiot girls who get pregnant – even though BIRTH CONTROL IS FREE????? How about just so NO. Drugs – do you know where your kids are 24/7? I did. Cell phones – END NORMAL COMMUNICATION. I REFUSE to have one – leave a message on my rotatry telephone voicemail. No on that important unless it is GOD and I’m sure that will be IN PERSON. I can go on – but now I”m tired (smile). Gray Panthers name as been around as long as bikers have been
around. Just forgotten. My granddaughter was raised “old school” – manners, please, thank you,
yes NOT yea, exceptional vocabulary, can keep a conversation going at 5 – however, moving here
to SoCal – it is actually 24/7 WORK to keep that going. Son & mother (unmarried) don’t give a
hoot about potty words. Hitting, yelling (all kids are dear you know) and emotional abuse is up 75%
from physical abuse and verbal abuse started in100% of ALL physical abuse. What don’t parents
and courts get? Sticks and Stone May Break My Bones by NAMES REALLY HURT!

Parents need less stuff and more hugs/kisses for their kids. I really need to stop I have a large voice, very opinionted and strong in my belief in our grandchildren who won’t even be given a chance. I spend 75% of my SSDI check on this apartment and feeding my granddaughter.

Regards, Deborah Durden,,,
760-966-7420 or 209-296-1206.

I’m not responsible for ANY of my statements, info, unsolicited advice, rude remarks, typo’s, words or sentences that don’t make sense etc. Outspoken, crazy retired senior grandma, God fearing=flag flying AMERICAN with abnormalities, ADHD, Senior Moments, high on Paxil, smiling, sitting in my rocking chair on my porch with my shotgun…………….. Life is good

LET’S GET DR. PHIL AS A SPOKESPERSON – He is such a child advocate & grandpa & senior.
I think one city at a time would be great – Oceanside (San Diego) has a lot of retirees and need something to do and believe in. We have to fight now before we and our knowledge and experience become a think of the past line dinosaures.

say it forget it – write it regret it

The End.

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