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We are saddened. We are angry. We demand change.

June 16, 2016

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) offers our condolences, thoughts and prayers to the victims and families of last week’s hate crime and terrorist attack in Orlando. This was an attack that has resonated deeply within the LGBTQ community, and we join others who condemn this act of hatred. While we are saddened by this violence, we are also angry. We are angry about the...
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10 movies about HIV/AIDS recommended by AFC staff

May 13, 2016

by Ashley Slupski HIV is not an easy topic to discuss for many of us. However, misinformation about HIV and the people living with the disease continue to fuel stigma. We must talk openly about HIV to increase awareness in our communities and decrease stigma and shame often associated with HIV. AFC staff pulled together 10 movies we think will get the conversation started about HIV...
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Remembering Rosa Rufus

January 24, 2013

Rosa Rufus never said a bad word about anyone. She always had a smile on her face. Such are the memories shared as her friends and colleagues at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago reel from the loss of her presence. Rosa Lee Rufus died in the early morning of Friday, Jan. 18. For eight years, Rufus worked in the finance department for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC),...
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Remembering Fernando Blasco Lagos

January 12, 2012

Fernando Blasco Lagos stands (center with red hat) with his peers at the United States Conference on AIDS in November. (AFC Photo-Ed Negron) Fernando Blasco Lagos, a longtime HIV/AIDS advocate for the Latino community, died on Dec. 23. A celebration of his life is planned for Saturday, Jan. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the First Congregational Church, 1305 N. Hamlin Ave., Chicago...
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AFC Remembers John Davis

December 14, 2011

It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of John Davis, a great warrior in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Davis died on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, after a long battle with HIV. He worked as an emergency services associate, on the housing team, at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) in 2007 before leaving for health reasons. Davis will be remembered as a relentless and courageous...
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AIDS Community Remembers Lonnie Fulton

September 28, 2010

Community Advocate Lonnie Fulton passed away on September 9, 2010. His fellow members of the AIDS Housing Advisory Council had these words to share: Susan Armstrong – "Lonnie was a great mentor; my first effort at public speaking was with him." Fernando Blasco – "He was an honest man, a wonderful person and very valuable to the community." Patrice...
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AIDS Community Remembers Lester Ward

September 28, 2010

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s Care and Housing Teams mourn the loss of case manger and housing advocate Lester Ward. Lester was a committed and caring individual who formally began his work in the HIV community in 1999 at Asian Human Services. Lester managed to find balance between his career and personal life. He was an avid movie buff and lover of the theater. As an advocate...
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A Tribute to a Legendary Advocacy Dynamo: Hector Hernandez

September 28, 2009

By Jim Pickett, Director of Public Policy Hector fundraising on Michigan Ave. to attend the Campaign to End AIDS event in Washington, DC In the time I have been doing HIV/AIDS advocacy work, I can honestly say I have never come...
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HIV/AIDS Community Mourns Passing of Beth Wehrman

November 5, 2008

This week the HIV/AIDS community lost one of its longtime heroines, Beth Wehrman. Beth was an avid advocate for and provider of lifesaving harm reduction services for some of the most vulnerable in numerous communities in Illinois. Through her agency LifeGuard, Beth ensured that people who injected drugs in the Quad Cities and all the way down to Peoria, had the information and tools necessary...
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AFC Celebrates the Life of the Honorable Larry McKeon

June 18, 2008

Illinois’ HIV/AIDS community suffered a sudden and tragic loss today as word came of the passing of longtime advocate and former Illinois General Assembly member Larry McKeon. McKeon made history as the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly and the first openly HIV positive legislator in Illinois. On May 20, 2008, the House of Representatives held...
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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.”