At the beginning of Spring quarter A&L made available 200 free copies of Ashton
Applewhite’s book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism to interested readers.
Books were available at UCSB and at the Santa Barbara Central Library.
Thematic Learning Initiative activities were as follows: a Friday morning invitation-only
working group session with Ashton titled, A Sense of Purpose, that involved 20 people
from local organizations that work directly and indirectly with older populations. The
meeting was held at the Santa Barbara Foundation board room. Participants spanned
the spectrum of ages and experiences: from a young nursing practitioner specializing in
acute geriatrics to highly active seniors working and volunteering in the community,
including the moderator Joe Wheatley. A few days before the session, participants
received recommended readings, links to Ashton’s work and on the topic of aging, and
conversation talking points.
Representatives from the following government and non-profit organizations
participated in the discussion: a Santa Barbara City Councilperson, Independent Living
Resource Center, Center for Successful Aging, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s Office, SB
County Adult & Aging Network, Friendship Center, Hospice SB, Unity Shoppe,
Community Action Commission, Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, Ventura County
Community Foundation, Santa Barbara Foundation Caregiver Initiative, Easy Lift
Transportation and several others.
The engaging discussion between Ashton and the attendees touched on ageism issues
they experienced personally and in their professional lives. In addition, Ashton provided
useful replacement words for discriminatory language. One grateful participant wrote:
Thank YOU! It was such a pleasure and privilege to attend with my colleagues Ashton’s
words of wisdom. It’s very beneficial when we stop and ask ourselves “Why do what we
do and Say what we say, when it comes to aging those with “many years” under their
belt. Very Much Appreciated!
In the afternoon A&L TLI and the Santa Barbara Public Library produced Aging While
Female. This event for adult learners found an appreciative, standing room-only,
audience focused on the double impact of both ageism and sexism. Ashton’s illustrated
lecture transitioned into an authentic and vibrant audience exchange touching on many
cultural and historical facets of thinking and behaving. The event attracted a high number of registrants as well as walk-ups which resulted in a fully packed Faulkner
Gallery with live-stream overflow in a library room, amounting to over 200 attendees.
The following day on Saturday, May 19, radio host and personality, Catherine Remak,
moderated a Town Hall entitled Aging: The Lifelong Process that Unites Us All at UCSB’s
Campbell Hall. Ashton’s TLI-themed Creating A Meaningful Life presentation dismantled
standard “isms” and championed living a life to its potential at any age while recognizing
and pushing against fighting against ageism. Audience members experiences and
comments were woven into the exchange between Remak and Applewhite. A book
signing allowed individuals to personally validate and express themselves directly with