Reflecting on 30 Years of Service (Spring 2013)

ALRP-30thAdvocateCouncil_horzAs ALRP celebrates its 30th anniversary, there is much to be proud of. ALRP services continue to play a critical role in supporting people living with HIV in the Bay Area through some of their greatest challenges. When we save someone’s housing, when we secure political asylum for someone facing persecution in their country of origin, and when we protect someone’s disability insurance, we know that our clients’ health is measurably improved. Our clients are at the heart of what we do. It is not just the baked goods that they bring to our office (though that is much appreciated and encouraged), or the notes that they send expressing their thanks, or the countless hours that they volunteer with us. It is the daily experience of knowing that we have done our best to help someone, that we have secured qualified legal help for a client with a complicated legal matter, and that we have listened to someone who had nowhere else to turn.

I attended an ACT UP meeting in San Francisco the other night. A group of young (and some not so young) activists were voicing their dissatisfaction with what they see as the status quo. Hearing this perspective made me feel a bit old and conservative but it also inspired some thoughtful reflection on my part. I recall the early days of ACT UP and the early years of the epidemic not with nostalgia, but with a sense of history. I know that the story of AIDS is still being written. Despite our years of improved health outcomes, we do not yet have a system that ensures that everyone with HIV has access to affordable health care, housing, and supportive services. As we acknowledge our rich history of service, we need to reflect and rededicate ourselves to the ongoing struggle that AIDS has thrust into our lives and the lives of our clients.

This is the first director’s message to appear in our new e-newsletter. Our hope is to improve our communication with our constituents and to save some money and trees in the process. We hope to share more features, photos, and legal resources. Please let us know what you think.

Bill Hirsh, Esq.
ALRP Executive Director