Organization formed in 1970
social activist Maggie Kuhn
and five of her friends under the name "Consultation of Older and Younger Adults for Social Change." The group was nicknamed "the gray panthers" (after the Black Panthers
) by a talk show producer, and the label stuck.
The Panthers focused on issues facing America's elderly
and retired, though they also worked with other activist groups to oppose racism
and their country's involvement in Vietnam
-- one of their major goals was (and is) to dispel the notion of a clash of generations and bring old and young together to fight the power
Membership grew dramatically in 1972 after Kuhn spoke at the 181st General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church. Originally based in Philadelphia, they responded to their sudden growth by reorganizing into a nationwide coalition of Networks, with each Network led by a Convenor. In 1990 most of the group's functions were centralized in its public policy office in Washington, D.C.
Though Maggie Kuhn passed away in 1995, the Gray Panthers remains active in the arena of social justice.