Picture this scenario: All of the staff from nursing homes and retirement homes in Seattle go on strike. Seattle Parks & Recreation notifies all children and teens that facilities will be unavailable to them for the duration of the strike as space and staff are needed for senior citizens.
Sound fair? Here is the reality: Seattle teachers are on strike. Clients of Lifelong Recreation, a city program that offers arts, fitness and social opportunities for people age 50 and older, have been told that their programs at many community centers throughout the city will be suspended for the duration of the strike as room is needed to accommodate child care.
Age discrimination? This is not the first time Seattle Parks has displaced seniors in order to offer programs for children. It has been a long-standing practice, especially prevalent each summer. Exercise and social engagement, cornerstones for healthy aging, are obviously low on the priority list for Seattle Parks. This decision was not made by Lifelong Recreation, which was left to scramble to find space as it could to provide services already paid for by senior citizens.
The Parks motto “Healthy Parks, Healthy You” is a mockery. Perhaps they should consider “The Baby-sitters Club” instead.
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Linnea Mattson, Seattle