National Caucus & Center on Black Aged
Prior to becoming NCBA’s chief executive officer, Karyne was Executive Director of Federal Relations with SBC Telecommunications, Inc., (now ATT) based in Washington, D.C.
- Karyne served as Legislative Aide to Congressman Andrew Young and, during his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, his Public Affairs Officer and White House Liaison. She returned to Texas to begin her own political career and became active on numerous boards, commissions and civic projects involved in issues on education, civil rights, environmental and economic development.
Karyne served for eight years in the Texas Legislature representing District 120 in San Antonio. Prior to her election to the Texas House of Representatives, she was elected twice to the school board of the East Central Independent School District.
Karyne is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Northern Illinois University with a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs. She earned a second Master’s Degree in Public Policy/Administration from Harvard University.
NCBA is one of the largest minority focused organizations in the country and is recognized as the national leader in housing, employment, health and advocacy on behalf of minority aged.
Karyne answered questions about the Age4Action Network:
Q. Why did NCBA decide to join Age4Action?
NCBA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for African American and other minority seniors. Working with other national advocates allows us to perform two important tasks: (1) Inform our community about the national discussion on Social Security, Medicare, and the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and (2) engage our stakeholders in that discussion to insure that it includes their views on how any changes will affect them.
Q. What is the latest news coming out of NCBA that Age4Action members would want to know?
Recently, NCBA embarked on an advocacy campaign to educate its membership about and re-engage members in active participation in the national platform. One of our highest priorities is working with Age4Action and other organizations that focus on major issues for seniors. Our goal also will be to inform and connect different communities to “work, serve, learn, and lead.”
Q. In what ways can Age4Action help NCBA?
Age4Action has successfully garnered support from many organizations with which NCBA has not previously had any relationship. We know from our collaborative history that many organizations intend to work with communities of color but have difficulty in actually reaching or communicating effectively with these groups. Age4Action gives us the opportunity to share the wisdom of our constituency with these different organizations, and of mutual significance, to assist these organizations in their outreach efforts.
Q. Within the civic engagement and older adult movement, what would you say is the biggest unmet need and how can Age4Action have an impact?
Effective communication to communities of color is the biggest need. Organizations must provide a welcome mat that encourages participation of African American seniors, who have much experience, talent, skill, and wisdom to share with others. This knowledge and experience can help any civic engagement movement make a large impact. The entire senior network must work to change the perception of seniors as being a burden on society and wanting entitlements for which other generations must pay. Rather, the country should focus on how much its senior communities can contribute to its prosperity.
Q. How does Age4Action’s mission apply to you in your personal and/or professional life?
I prepared for a professional career in public service through my educational pursuits and my career decisions. The mission of Age4Action—to engage, inform, connect, and mobilize people 50+ to work, serve, learn, and lead—parallels my personal goal of making a difference in the lives of the people whom I serve.