spotlight

Ana Fights for Rights in the Bay Area and El Salvador

When ALRP Staff Attorney Ana Montano was growing up in San Francisco’s Mission District, her parents’ restaurant at 24th and Mission streets was a hub for community activists who gathered to talk about local and Central American politics. “There was so much activity at that time around issues of poverty, access to justice, housing and jobs,” Ana said.

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John Leaves No Stone Unturned for Clients

When John Fasesky, ALRP Staff Attorney, meets his clients, he’s modest but upfront about his personal story. He tells them, “I’m HIV positive, I’ve been in the system, I know where you’re coming from. And I want you to know that I understand your frustrations.” Of course, those few words can’t fully encompass John’s personal journey through the AIDS crisis, which led him from working as a word processor to becoming a lawyer.

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Advocating for Employees with Disabilities

For ALRP Panel Attorney Michelle Roberts, helping clients obtain their disability benefits is a bit like Sisyphus pushing a rock up the hill. The struggle can seem never-ending. But the appreciation she gets from her clients motivates her to take on the tangled web of ERISA disability benefits law. While growing up, Michelle didn’t envision a career helping people with their disability benefits…

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Changing Lives Every Day

ALRP board member Erin Smart knew she wanted to be an attorney when she was still a child. “I understood it would mean going to law school even then,” she said, “but I wanted to love what I did for a living, and see how the law has an impact on people’s day-to-day lives. And now that I’m an attorney, I do.”

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Walter Wins Back His Health Insurance

When ALRP client Walter C. made his regular trip to the pharmacy to pick up his medications, the pharmacist informed him that his insurance had been cancelled. It was devastating news for a self-insured person living with HIV. But it wasn’t the first time Walter had heard this. Since 2000, his insurance company had tried to cancel his policy four times for alleged nonpayment of his premiums. “I was at the end of my meds when I found out.”

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Helping Achieve Immigration Goals

Having come to the United States when he was 12 years old, Panel attorney Bernardo Merino has dedicated his law practice to helping others achieve their immigration goals. “Due to the persecution they may have been subjected to in Latin American countries, people who are HIV+ and gay may actually have a fighting chance at securing political asylum,” he says…”

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Cathy Blackstone

A Fulfilled Life through Volunteering at ALRP

In 2006, Cathy Blackstone had her hands full at work, but it wasn’t enough to keep her satisfied. She wanted to volunteer in her spare time, and she wanted to make a difference with an organization that served the LGBT community and advanced civil rights. When she went online and started looking for opportunities to serve on a nonprofit board, ALRP became the beneficiary of her boundless energy.

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Fragrance-Free Care for Client

Whenever ALRP client Stokes first enters a space—the hallways of his apartment building, a city bus, a restaurant—only one thing crosses his mind. “Is this space safe for me?” In addition to being HIV-positive, Stokes suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Exposure to perfume or cologne causes him nausea, headaches, and difficulty breathing. Ironically, safe access to medical facilities has been one of his biggest challenges.

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Defending Clients Hurt on the Job

Panel attorney Michelle Mandel always wanted to follow in the footsteps of her father, a successful personal injury lawyer. Through her father’s work, Michelle learned that not only can traumatic accidents and negligent medical treatment be painful and debilitating, but they can often result in significant healthcare costs and lost wages.

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Saving Clients’ Long-Term Disability Income

Panel attorney Cassie Springer-Sullivan knew since she was sixteen years old that she wanted to be an attorney and use her skills, knowledge, and empathy to assist people in times of crisis. Cassie started her own law firm in 2008 and is committed to serving ALRP clients with disabling HIV/AIDS who suffer the devastation of losing their long-term disability income.

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