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News: Case management

Soaring into stability with people who care

August 3, 2017

by Raven Feagins Millions of people across the country are unable to work most jobs and earn an income due to disability or other challenges. For these folks, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are available to help supplement, but the application process is known for being nearly impossible to navigate. This inspired the creation of the...
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Anton X: Finding community through advocacy

April 12, 2017

Unexpected life challenges can propel us to become more involved with our communities. For Anton X, re-connecting with his father and getting tested for HIV were the pivotal moments that led him to become the HIV advocate he is today. Now at 23 years old, he is changing the face of leadership in the health equity movement. Originally from Maywood, a village just outside of Chicago, X currently...
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Pregnant, Homeless and HIV-positive

March 10, 2017

By LeSherri James LeSherri is an HIV advocate living in Chicago and a Mobile Engagement Team Member for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. In 2003, I was pregnant, homeless, and HIV-positive. But worst of all, I felt completely helpless and had nowhere to turn for help. I received my diagnosis after my senior year of high school. In college, I thought I might be pregnant. I...
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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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A vital link to HIV care and so much more

December 21, 2016

Darren is 56 years old. He walks with the assistance of a walker – the toll that physical labor and illness has had on his wiry frame is obvious, but it does not dampen his energy. Behind his smile are years of hardships. Born and raised in the Chicago area, Darren was one of ten children. His parents divorced when he was three, after his sister was kidnapped walking home from school. As...
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HIV and mass incarceration: How Black lives are impacted

November 3, 2016

by Raven Feagins and Cotrell Loftin The Black Lives Matter Series: Race, Politics and Restorative Justice Conference on Oct. 6 explored the relationship between mass incarceration, racial equity and social justice in the criminal justice system. Raven Feagins and Cotrell Loftin attended this conference to investigate the challenges and opportunities of transitioning from incarceration to...
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The metamorphosis of recovery

September 12, 2016

By Jennifer Moreno, CADC To honor National Recovery Month, we asked AFC’s Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) to reflect on the difficult road to recovery. Since July 2015, Moreno has conducted health assessments for 42 of AFC’s housing clients who are regular or recovering users of drugs and alcohol, and she has developed treatment plans with 23 clients...
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AFC joins human and social service agencies in lawsuit against Gov. Rauner and state agencies

May 4, 2016

Updated on May 31, 2016: The Pay Now Illinois coalition has grown to 82 human and social service agencies and companies suing Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger and seven state agency department heads for breach of contract. On May 25, they filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction for emergency relief that would require the state to begin immediate...
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AFC announces 2016 Ryan White award recipients

November 23, 2015

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is pleased to announce  the  30 organizations   s elected   to receive an estimated   $7 million  in Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grants   to  serve  the HIV community throughout  the  Chicago  metropolitan area .   Funding through   the ...
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Stigma in the situation

August 13, 2015

Stigma: In and Out  is a monthly series profiling the clients, providers and leaders of AFC's Corrections Case Management program, which helps HIV-positive people emerging from prison or jail get the support they need upon reentry. Cook County Jail is home to 8-11,000 people each day; they share a space of 4,197,925 square feet on Chicago’s West Side. It’s the...
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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.”