ALRP Meets AARP (Winter 2011)

Steve Collier, Cindy Diamond Brightly, Amy Eskin, Bill Hirsh, Mitchell Shapson at the 2011 ALRP Annual Reception.

It is true what they say about AARP sending their membership applications right on schedule; they don’t miss a beat. Mine arrived in October, just two weeks before I turned 50 years old. AIDS has been here for 30 of those years. While I am deeply aware and appreciative of the many blessings in my life, I can’t help but reflect on the loss of friends and colleagues who were dear to me. I think back on those who died too young and how different the world would be if all those bright lights had continued to shine.

Both an opportunity for reflection and celebration, ALRP’s 28th Annual Reception in October reminded me of the folks who have been involved with ALRP for so many years. I saw old friends like David Hopmann, Fred Hertz, Barry Graynor, Marti Simon, and Carl Wolf, who seem to never miss an opportunity to come out for ALRP. I was also humbled by the presence of so many dear friends from law school: Michael Ginther, Cindy Diamond Brightly, Amy Eskin, Mitchell Shapson, Steve Collier, and Pat Dunn. Their commitment to social justice has inspired me for many years.

As the director of ALRP, it has been a privilege to work with some extraordinarily committed people. I would like to recognize Tom Nolan, who is leaving Project Open Hand after 17 years as its director. Tom’s leadership has transformed many lives and served as a model for the best in public service. We wish him well in his next endeavor and thank him for leaving his agency strong and sound.

ALRP is proud to partner with Project Open Hand and other community-based agencies that continue to meet the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. We know that our clients need access to a range of supportive services, including legal services, in order to remain healthy. The demand for ALRP’s services continues to grow—by over 45% in just the last seven years. With 1 in 36 San Franciscans and 1 in 3 gay men living with HIV, many of these folks are living past 50. Maybe receiving that AARP card isn’t so bad, after all.

Bill Hirsh, Esq.
ALRP Executive Director