NEW YORK, NY – On August 25, 2022, New York Senators Anthony Palumbo and George Borrello hosted a Guardianship Roundtable in Manhattan at the Office of the Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt at 250 Broadway. Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, founder of Elder Dignity, testified about the abduction of her aunt, Dr. Lillie Sykes White, and offered policy proposals for next year’s Legislative Session. The event was streamed on Facebook Live. Watch the full event: https://fb.watch/fa473Rw2J3/
Others who shared their personal stories and guardianship reform recommendations included: Libra Max, daughter of artist Peter Max; Philip C. Marshall, grandson of philanthropist Brooke Astor; Marian Kornicki, creator of #RestoreTheirRights; Christine Montanti, daughter of Karilyn Montanti and advocate for Karilyn’s Law; Julia Lichtblau, author and elder advocate; Sherry Moses; Nadia Antrobus; Larry Gile; Cynthia Mifsud; and Ellen Oxman.
The intention of the public hearing was to gather information from a variety of families for an omibus bill on guardianship reform. The event started at 1:00pm and was supposed to end at 3:00pm, but the senators stayed for an additional hour to hear the victim stories and suggestions. Even though the specific details of each story were different, the various testimonies revealed a common pattern and practice of predatory guardianships: Isolate, Medicate, Intimidate, Steal The Estate. Each case underscored violations of due process by the presiding judge and the weaponization of the law for financial gain. Recommendations by the victim-advocates included increasing transparency, accountability and speed of intervention, with many requesting to abolish adult guardianships altogether.
On September 12, 2022, Dr. Kennedy’s submitted longer written testimony. Download it: WrittenTestimony_TeresaKennedy_NYSenateGuardianshipRoundtable_ 091222F
Kennedy has spoken widely on the issue of guardianship reform, such as at World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in D.C., the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee, the Florida Guardianship Improvement Taskforce, the Progressive Forum and the Coalition of 100 Black Women. She has served as moderator for the Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG) Summit, the #FreeBritney Symposium, and has been an advisor for the #FreePeterMax campaign. She has shared views on guardianships for ABC Action News (FL), WCTV (FL), Sky News, TS Radio Network, and Real Clear Investigations. In addition, she wrote “Is Elder Guardianship a New Form of Human Trafficking?” for The Huffington Post (2016), and produced the social impact video, The Deception of Protection (2019).
For more on involuntary guardianships, watch The Deception of Protection.
Contributed by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Founder of Elder Dignity and Power Living.