#BTS: The Elders Project

You can’t train the old people; let the old people train you.
— Raymond Gamble
 Raymond Gamble

Raymond Gamble

 Jean Johnson

Jean Johnson

Two weeks ago SideXSide Studios launched The Elders Project.

We created The Elders Project to fill what we see as void of perspective on social media platforms. Many of us live in silos based on age. At times it can be difficult for a person in her 20s to connect with a person in her 70s, and vice versa.

“You really want to hear this?” 81-year-old Jean Johnson kept asking during her interview. Yes. Absolutely.

Older generations have experienced trials and triumphs that parallel those our younger generations are experiencing now. Their voices lend an invaluable level of understanding to conversations about current affairs, politics, adversity, love, and history that can brings some context to a world that needs it.

This week, we featured Russell Campbell, who protested alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. Almost a half century later, he attended the inauguration of President Obama. When we called him to ask if he’d like to participate in the project, his answer was, “I tell people when you get the chance to tell your story, tell it. Or else our stories are going to die with us.”

The idea for The Elders Project came after we interviewed veterans for the USO’s 75th anniversary. We couldn’t stop talking about how interesting and underrepresented these types of stories are in media. We remember asking grandparents for their stories as kids, but as those relationships come to an end, many of us lose touch with older generations. Our short Instagram and Facebook posts cover love stories, politics and everything in between. We hope these posts will not only spur understanding, but conversation.

Moving forward, we plan to expand the project to include an ever more diverse group of older adults from a larger geographical area. The scope of this project is essentially limitless.

If you have a story or know someone we should reach out to, please write to elders@sidexsi.d

Gabe Silverman