Jeff Bangsberg and Anita Boucher: 2024 Jane Ochrymowycz Award for Advocacy Recipients

On June 13, 2024 the Minnesota Elder Justice Center awarded the 12th Jane O Award for Advocacy at our Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) conference. It was an honor to present the award to Anita Boucher and Jeff Bangsberg.

Jane Ochrymowycz was a legendary elder justice advocate.  Her legislative advocacy and biography reflect major milestones in vulnerable adult act reform and she was an incomparable advocate for older and vulnerable adults. Her legacy provides an opportunity to elevate examples of inspiring advocacy happening in Minnesota.

Anita and Jeff represent the ideals of Jane’s legacy. As noted in her introduction of the award, Iris Freeman stated “their decades of work bear a clear connection to Jane’s early work challenging conventions and public officials to guarantee universal access to public buildings.” She noted that their success “is the result of advocacy embodied in Jane’s history and the continuing life’s work of Jeff and Anita.”

The nomination of Jeff and Anita accurately describe them as a “power couple” in disability and aging advocacy that “highlights a couple whose decades of service emulate the passion, commitment, achievements, and respect that we celebrate in memory of Jane Ochrymowyz.” Read the full nomination here.

In her speech introducing Anita and Jeff, Dawn Simonson said, “Jeff constantly reminds us that we all have multiple identities. He encourages us to view our decision making through an intersectional lens, which strengthens our advocacy efforts as well as all of our work to support older adults and caregivers. He and Anita are exceptional individuals, community leaders and volunteers, and role models.”

We congratulate Jeff Bangsberg and Anita Boucher. We are grateful for their work and incredibly pleased to include them among the advocates so deserving of the Jane Ochrymowycz Award for Advocacy.