She’s more than willing to speak up

“Advocacy,” said June Michel, “isn’t easy for most people. Many seniors are afraid to speak out.”

Michel isn’t one of the quiet ones.

Drawing in part on her experience as a civil rights lawyer, Michel is an outspoken advocate for fellow seniors –so much so that the member of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging and Disability was celebrated by the Seattle City Council in May during Older Americans Month.

An official council proclamation honored Michel for being a “shining example of older adults who continue to make a difference in their communities.”

Every May since 1963, the federal Administration on Aging leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. This year’s theme, “Engage at Every Age,” emphasizes the importance of being active and involved, regardless of how many candles were on one’s latest birthday cake.

In Michel’s case, she got busy on behalf of older adults after relocating to King County from California in 2016. She said moving into SHAG’s Washington Terraces senior community motivated her “because I recognized the opportunities this community could provide me to meet and interact with my neighbors. SHAG is my first experience living in a community of people all about my age, and it has opened my eyes to the many differences and requirements of so many seniors. For many, family becomes more distant and old friends pass away, so it is vitally important to find a community where new friendships and meaning can be forged. I’m a lawyer. SHAG has given me another opportunity to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.”

Through SHAG, she learned about and joined the county advisory council on aging. As head of the council’s advocacy committee, she lobbies on behalf of seniors. In April, after winning an essay contest that paid for the trip, she attended the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging conference in Washington, D.C. While there, discussed senior issues with U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

In the rest of her spare time, Michel volunteers with 5th Avenue Theatre and the American Cancer Society.

June Michel (left), a member of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging and Disability Services, met with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray to discuss older adult-related issues.