By Kathy Chouteau
Myrtle Braxton—a 95-year-old Richmond resident since the WWII era—parked her car alongside the Richmond Civic Center, fresh off of the California Alliance for Retired Americans’ (CARA) celebration of Social Security’s birthday Mon., Aug. 14. It was 88 years from the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law.
Appreciating the importance of marking birthdays as well as how vital social security is to older Americans, Braxton, a longtime member of the CARA, organized 15 peers in a caravan of cars to visit Richmond’s U.S. Social Security Administration building yesterday to wish them a happy birthday.
Braxton, her friend, Jacquetta Alexander, from Easter Hill United Methodist Church and others were also celebrating legislation that CARA had cosponsored that had progressed to Governor Newsom. This included AB 751, which implements the Senior Disability and Justice Act of 2019 and stipulates the Elder Abuse policies and trainings for law enforcement, and also the AJR 4 Medicare Protection Act of 2023.
The elder activist Braxton said, “A group of people are gonna go to Sacramento and lobby the governor to sign those bills.”
As for Social Security’s birthday celebration, Braxton said that the group met up, drove in a caravan down to Richmond’s U.S. Social Security Administration building yesterday, and presented them with a cake. She said they met with a small group of employees outside the building and sang ‘Happy Birthday.’
Braxton, who worked for Social Security in Richmond, Berkeley and San Francisco many years ago, emphasized it was important to mark the birthday because it’s so vital to older Americans—and because “The government keeps borrowing the money and they never pay it back.”
The longtime Richmond resident, who remains active in a variety of groups, said that if we want the city and our communities thrive, you can’t let somebody else do it. “You have to get out there and help do it.”