CARA’s Accomplishments of 2021

CARA has become the leading progressive grassroots movement for seniors in California, representing over 1 million seniors through our 300+ affiliated organizations. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, CARA has been able to stay connected and engaged with our members, the legislature, and the public.

CARA’s 2021 Accomplishments Include:

  1. Recruited 100+ volunteers to write a total of 10,000 postcards urging seniors to vote against the Recall of Governor Newsom.
  2. Sponsored a “Senior and the Recall” Forum to explain the recall ballot, how to mark your ballot, what your vote means, and what is at stake in the recall election.
  3. Held twice monthly Fabulous Friday Forums on key CARA issues and campaigns, including a one-person play performed by Josh Kornbluth – with thousands participating.  
  4. Successfully advocated for SSI recipients to receive stimulus checks, increased the SSP portion of the grant for the first time in 12 years, and won California’s Golden State Stimulus payment ($600) for SSI recipients.
  5. Sponsored a statewide virtual town hall meeting on July 30th to celebrate the anniversaries of Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, USPS, and the proposal to provide $400 billion for Home and Community Based Services. Followed up this celebration with Congressional visits (virtually) with most of the 53 members of the CA Congressional Delegation.
  6. Joined with the Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) for All Coalition to promote universal LTSS at the State Level (the Dept. of Insurance LTSS Task Force) and turned out dozens of CARA members for two rallies in LA and Oakland to support the $400 billion in HCBS funding. –
  7. Collected over 400 personal stories about why Home Care is Essential and included them in a book presented to Speaker Pelosi on August 27th and sent to all 53 members of the CA Congressional Delegation.
  8. CARA’s Legislative Committee wrote letters on over 100 bills and identified 6 bills/issues as priorities. Two of these bills passed the Legislature and are awaiting the governor’s signature. The other 4 bills became two-year bills and will be heard at the beginning of 2022.
  9. Sponsored our second virtual in-district lobby day with 100 of the 120 state legislators – all on May 21st. Over 200 CARA volunteers attended one of these virtual meetings.
  10. Continued to hold our 17 monthly CARA Action Team meetings virtually – using Zoom and Teleconferences to keep our folks involved and engaged.  Our CAT callers continue to connect with all our members through phone trees to be sure that everyone is doing ok and to see if they need anything during this pandemic. Helped over 100 seniors register for vaccines online (many do not have access to technology and needed assistance).
  11. Through our work with the Master Plan on Aging and other senior and disability networks, participated in the release of the Governor’s Master Plan in early 2021 and held forums and workshops to explain what is included and how we can help support and expand the recommendations in the Plan.
  12. Held a Zoom Forum followed by our first in-person (and safe) rally and car caravan in Sacramento urging the governor to lead the way on guaranteed health care by requesting a federal waiver (which he did) and directing the Healthy CA Commission to develop a plan for a unified financing system so that CA can be the first in the nation to win guaranteed health care for all. 
  13. Continued to receive foundation support from the Mary and Stanley Smith Foundation, the Metta Fund, and the California Endowment. Increased our online fundraising efforts by 10%.
  14. Continued to produce the CARA E-Alert newsletter e-mailing it at least twice a month and sometimes weekly, to more than 8000 CARA members and activists to keep them informed and engaged.  
  15. Expanded the work of Jenni Chang, CARA’s LA county organizer to be the new CARA Communications Director to increase CARA’s online and social media presence.
  16. All CARA staff continue to work and adjust to our virtual world – and help our members do the same.  We will be advertising for a new organizer in the Central Valley starting in 2022.
  17. Organized our first ever Statewide Convention – virtually – with incredible speakers, workshops, entertainment, and fun.  Over 700 people registered at the time of printing.
  18. CARA has become the ONLY grassroots, senior advocacy organization in California, working to build a strong senior movement that works to improve the quality of life for seniors and our families, and promotes policies to help us age with dignity, independence, and love.

2021-2022 Priority Issues

 CARA 2022 Priority Issues

Protect, Improve and Expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – stop efforts to cut or privatize benefits

Support efforts to win guaranteed health care for all (state and nationally)

Support efforts to reform Prop 13 and other taxes to ensure that the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.

Advocate for funding for deeply affordable housing construction/ preservation/ rehabilitation, with services as needed and appropriate.

Expand protections for renters, homeowners and manufactured home owners, including protections against rising utility rates.

Support a Universal Long Term Supports and Services (LTSS) benefit for all Californians.

  Continue to advocate to increase SSI/SSP base grants, reinstate full COLA. 

  Require transparency of drug pricing; lower drug costs, negotiate for prices.

  Protect pensions and retirement benefits (state and nationally), including fighting legislative and electoral efforts to eliminate or reduce benefits.

Educate and engage seniors on climate change and other environmental issues.

Improve conditions at nursing homes and advocate for better transparency, accountability, better staffing standards and pay for workers, infection control, etc.

Support efforts to implement Campaign Finance Reform at state/national levels.

LTSS Talking Points for Healthy California Now Commission Meeting

Talking Points on LTSS at Healthy CA Commission Meeting

December 9th at 10:00am
Register for the Healthy California for All commission meeting HERE.

  • Introduce self: name, where you live, your organization (CARA/ LTSS for All Grassroots/ other organization) and 1 sentence as to how you relate to Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS)
  • I believe California must ensure that every Californian can afford and access the LTSS they need to be able to live and age in their home and communities.
  • I support the creation of a universal LTSS program or benefit, inclusive of people with disabilities of all ages, those with chronic illnesses, undocumented immigrants, family-caregivers and other care providers, as well as current older adults and retirees.
  • I believe that the best, most efficient, cost effective way to provide an LTSS is as part of a statewide single payer, unified financing system.  
  • LTSS must be part of a comprehensive benefit program, as LTSS is a lifespan issue, and benefits must be available from cradle to grave.
  • Currently only 4.2% of Californians have private long-term care insurance, which is far from comprehensive, and less than 1% have access to publicly-funded LTSS benefits. Most people needing LTSS cannot afford to pay for the services for the length of time they need them, and either run out of money, depend on family members to provide care without compensation, or spend down their resources to become eligible for public programs or placed into institutions.
  • As we learned at the last Healthy CA Commission meeting, based on the presentation by Ken Jacobs from the U,C. Berkeley Labor Center, LTSS could be included in the financing of a single payer system.
  • The program benefits should be flexible enough to support the needs of caregiving family and friends since ⅔ of all people getting LTSS are supported completely by unpaid caregivers.
  • To care for a family member who needs dedicated care, the toll on families can be significant. LTSS is as much about the freedom, mental and economic stability of the individual directly in need as it is for the family, caregivers, and larger society.
  • Caregivers, tremendously valuable yet generally undervalued by society, have long suffered substandard working conditions, essentially experiencing wage theft based on low pay and unpaid hours. The health of our caregivers impacts our recipients of care and their families, and it is critical that we create a healthier ecosystem of care so that it is sustainable and beneficial to our communities in need. 
  • Thanks for listening.

LYRICS for Dec 11th, CARA’s Holiday Sing-Along

Lyrics for Holiday Sing-along on Dec. 11th
For Printable Version Click HERE

SOLAR CAROL (To the tune of “Gloria In Excelsis Deo)

See the sun how bright it shines, on the nations of the earth

All who share this thing called life celebrate each day’s rebirth

(cho) So-o-o-o-lar power, inexpensive energy (2x)

Sister wind we’ve heard on high sweetly singing o’er the plain And the windmills in reply echoing their glad refrain

How we love complexity when the answer’s rather plain Join the sun in jubilee, sing with us this joyous strain

RUDOLPH THE UNION REINDEER

Rudolph the Union Reindeer Pulled the sleigh for old St. Nick He signed a union contract He knew polar politics

All of the other reindeer Worked long hours around the clock They paid no heed to Rudolph Thought the boss would fill their sock

Then one year on Christmas Eve They all came to say.
“We will do what you advise Rudolph, help us organize!”

Then how the reindeer loved him

As they lined up with their sleigh Now when they work on Christmas They’re all getting premium pay.

To the Tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic

We are people organizing for respect and dignity. We need health care that’s affordable and high in quality.

We need Medicare and MediCAID For everyone in need
And Social Security

People organized together

United, we can stand forever We’re people organized for action Together we will win.

To the Tune of I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

I’m dreaming of Covid relief Where those who have pay their fair share Where our earned benefits
Will stay intact
So we get our needed health care.

I’m dreaming of a bright New Year When Corona is no more

We can tax the top 1 percent And save services for the 99 percent

To the Tune of Deck the Halls

Raise your voice for decent health care

Fa la la la la, we’re old but strong! Retirement security is just damn rare Fa la la la la, it’s been too long!

We are sick of greedy companies Who make so much but pay much less Hands off our Social Security Tax the 1 percent and end this mess

To the Tune of You Better Watch Out

You better watch out. Get ready to cry We’ve all got to shout. We’re telling you why People’s rights are coming this year.

We’ve made up our list. We’re checking it twice A tax break for wealthy is naughty, not nice

Hands off our earned benefits this year.

We need to contain Health costs. And expand access for all. Dump the tax rebate for the 1 percent. And eliminate the CAP

We’re counting the votes. We’re checking them twice. We’re going to find out who’s naughty or nice. We’re asking to save benefits this year.

To the Tune of Let it Snow

Oh the mood in D.C. is frightful. And the atmosphere is spiteful. And they say they can spend no more. So they take from the old and the poor.

There’s been tax cuts for the wealthy. And health care for the healthy.
And even defense has scored.
But they’ll take from the sick and the poor.

We would like to make one thing clear. We voters are very upset.
Social Security for all is a right. Don’t cut our social safety net

Oh it’s time to start acting human. Time for voters to start fumin. Time to end this heartless war. On the sick, on the old, on the poor.

To the Tune of Winter Wonderland

In the halls, voices shoutin’
A billion more, but who’s countin’
As they’re singing along, their deficit song Living in a budget la la land.

They’ll cut housing and welfare.
Raise co-pays on our Medicare.
From the poor they will take – To give the rich a tax break Cause they’re living in a budget la la land.

They think they can take away our benefits When we protest they say they can’t hear.

When the time comes they’ll see we mean business. And they’ll regret it when we vote next year.

Rich and fat, they’ll retire. While our bills – they get higher.

They’ll bicker and fight – Gut every program in sight. Cause they’re living in a budget la la land.

To the Tune of We Wish You A Merry Christmas

We wish you would tax the richest

We wish you would tax the richest
We wish you would tax the richest – Hands Off Medicare

The Grand Bargain plans are full of mistakes Instead of more cutting – tax the top 2 percent

The deficit plan is not hard to solve
End the tax breaks for wealthy – on this we resolve.

We wish you would tax the richest

We wish you would tax the richest
We wish you would tax the riches – Hands Off Medicare

To the Tune of Adeste Fideles, Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Oh come all you seniors. Bring along your families. We’re marching, we’re caroling for our benefits The current prescriptions – gives us all conniptions.

Social Security’s in our prayers

We need universal health care We need a plan that’s more fair Tax the rich!

To the Tune of Jingle Bells

Dashing down the way From the clinic to the store How much will I need to pay Will my health care cost me more? How can I feed my kids?
And pay my usual bills

When every month I’m forced to buy Such damn expensive pills.

MediCAID, MediCARE –Social Security We need to save these benefits
To keep our dignity
The richest folks should pay their share To close the deficit
Get our country back on track
Start next year with benefits

To the Tune of “Let it Snow”

While the minimum wage is frightful
For the wealthy, its’ delightful
Tell those millionaire CEOs
Share the dough, share the dough, share the dough

The battle around us rages
As we fight for living wages
And we want to get what we’re owed
Share the dough, share the dough, share the dough

We have families home at night Working two jobs is the norm And we know that its’ just not right This system needs some reform.

The economy’s globalizing
In the streets we’re organizing
And we’re making our movement grow Share the dough, share the dough, share the dough

To the Tune of the “Dreidel song”

OH dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I would have one today. But Mommy couldn’t buy one Cause no one raised her pay.

Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, My Mommy’s check is slim. And so she’s always tired Living wages so all can win.

To the Tune of “We Wish you a Merry Christmas”

Chorus
We wish you a Happy Holiday We wish you a Happy Holiday We wish you a Happy Holiday a And a peaceful New Year.

We thank one and all
For support that you bring Through the halls of our office Solidarity Rings. Chorus

On Kwanza or Soltice Hannukah, Ramadan too A season of justice
Is our wish to you. Chorus

To the Tune of “Winter Wonderland”

CEO’s are you listening?
On respect, we’re insisting
In each industry – our plans gonna be. Organizing workers in our land.

All you rich politicians
People want recognition
You’d better take note, we’re using our votes And organizing seniors in this land.