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News: AFC news

How much can your public health knowledge expand in 5 days?

September 7, 2017

Although most universities and schools were closed in August, 11 public health professionals didn’t let that stop them from cultivating their skills and building networks. They attended the ninth annual Public Health Boot Camp, an intensive one-week educational program provided by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and the Institute of Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM), the nexus for...
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Ending gun violence means recognizing it as a public health threat

June 12, 2017

One year ago today, the Pulse nightclub shooting brought immense grief to our nation and reminded us about the havoc guns can reap on America’s most vulnerable communities. The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) was deeply saddened by the death of 49 members of the broader LGBTQ and Latinx community. We were also deeply moved to  end  gun violence in Chicago and across...
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Quest Diagnostics employees experience a day-to-day connection to the HIV epidemic

June 6, 2017

by Ashley Brown Each year, corporate teams and sponsors band together for AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to raise awareness and funds for HIV services across Chicagoland and Illinois. One of these generous partners is Quest Diagnostics , which provides clinical laboratory services across the country. We spoke to Regional Marketing Director Joe Huber on how their involvement with...
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Harmony Health Plan teams with AFC to support community-based services

May 11, 2017

After launching a successful pilot program in 2016, Harmony Health Plan, Inc., a WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) company, will continue to support the Knowledge and Collaboration Center for Capacity Building at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). Launched last year with a $5,000 grant from Harmony, the Center works directly with community-based organizations to create and tailor...
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Four new voices for change added to AFC board

May 9, 2017

by Ashley Slupski and Raven Feagins Please join us in welcoming four new members to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) Board of Directors, congratulating our new Board chair, Anna Laubach, and honoring our past Board chair, Ben Stringfellow. The 30-member Board helps AFC achieve health equity and justice for people living with HIV by setting strategic direction and raising funds for the...
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Gallery: AFC shames Illinois House Republicans and their votes for the AHCA

May 5, 2017

Please distribute the graphics below calling out Illinois House Republicans and their votes for the AHCA, which will restrict health care access for millions in the U.S.
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SHAME: AFC denounces House Republicans' eleventh-hour push to repeal the ACA

May 5, 2017

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) strongly condemns House Republicans’ repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has provided access to comprehensive healthcare coverage to nearly 24 million Americans and over 1.2 million Illinoisans. The ACA dramatically increased health insurance coverage for people living with HIV in Illinois.  If enacted by the Senate and signed into...
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Ava's Change4Youth collects votes to raise visual awareness of youth homelessness

April 19, 2017

Young activist Ava Santos-Volpe, age 12, is a girl on a mission. While working on a class leadership project two years ago, Ava asked a youth homelessness advocate to visit her school to discuss Chicago’s youth housing crisis. After learning more, Ava decided she needed to help — but didn't know how. That summer, while on a family trip to Florida, she spotted a parking meter collecting...
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LGBTQ aging summit to address advocacy and service needs in Chicago

April 18, 2017

Pride Action Tank, AARP and Affinity Community Services will host OUTAging: Summit on Our Possibilities , including an opening reception, on May 23-25. The summit will bring together LGBTQ older adults, service providers, clinicians and advocates from across the nation to talk about the needs of LGBTQ older adults (55+ years of age) in the Chicago region. OUTAging will begin with...
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AFC's case management trainings equip case managers for a unique, one-on-one client experience

March 8, 2017

Despite the uncertainty of the ACA's future and fear about the new administration’s discriminatory policies, AFC’s case managers stay committed to providing the quality care clients need. By Cotrell Loftin Matthew Williamson is standing outside the conference room, warmly greeting people as they enter. “Good morning and welcome to the training. Don’t...
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By Ashley Brown 

 

Lillian Weir is a natural activist, whose strong beliefs and voice rise up to fight for what is right. For years she has marched in the Chicago Pride 

Parade, right in the thick of the crowd, waiving a flag and dancing in support of the rights of marginalized communities nationwide. She’s also loaned her innate activism to the C

hicago Teacher’s Union, the Women’s March in Chicago, marriage equality and for acceptance of all gender identities and sexualities. And she’s accomplished all of this by the young age of 13.  

So, when an opportunity to fundraise for AIDS Run & Walk Chicago presented itself, Lillian jumped at the chance. Lillian and her mother Cynthia both walk and fundraise for the Season of Concern team, a Chicago-based non-profit that provides care and support for those in the entertainment industry experiencing health-related emergencies and medical issues, including HIV and AIDS.

For Lillian’s first walk in 2016, even the rain couldn’t dampen her enthusiasm. Both Lillian and her mother were impressed by the energy, excitement and camaraderie of the teams and the sense of unity and acceptance that permeated the air. Lillian was particularly impacted by the diversity of identities represented.

“I believe people should be represented, so that was a really good experience for me,” she recalls. 

In particular, Cynthia remembers her daughter’s infectious enthusiasm.  

“She didn’t walk the 5k walk, she ran it,” recounts Cynthia with a laugh. “She would run ahead and we wouldn’t see her and then she’d run all the way back because she was so excited and having such a great time. Lillian jumped up at the end of the event and said ‘Let’s do this again every year; this is our tradition!’” 

Lillian agrees, and particularly remembers the excitement of creating a tangible impact for those living with and vulnerable to HIV to allow them to live with dignity and purpose. 

“The general experience of being there was enlightening,” Lillian remembers. “I thought it was incredible to be a part of that.” 

Lillian is excited to continue her involvement into 2017 and beyond, and hopes to continue to raise more funds and get more people involved in the fight to end new HIV infections and health inequity. While Cynthia helps her run her fundraising page, Lillian sets the goals and creates unique incentives to get people excited to give, including a home-cooked meal for people who give more than $100, as well as an original artwork by Lillian for the top contributor. She also spreads the word to family and friends and excitedly monitors her fundraising progress before the big day. To date, Lillian has already surpassed her fundraising goal. 

But despite her passion and dedication, Lillian is modest about her involvement and believes that everyone should stand up for what they believe in, regardless of age. 

“I don’t think age matters,” she says. “If you believe in something, you should protect it and defend it. Stand up for what you believe in.”