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Legal Council marks season with May Ball
by Vern Hester

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The Legal Council for Health Justice ( LCHJ ) held its annual May Ball on May 5 at the home of Dr. Nabeela Rasheed and Fawria Mirza—complete with a Derby Day theme. The event, titled "Race to the Finish Line," featured a silent auction, raffle, DJ and Southern cuisine, and was aimed at launching the 30th anniversary of the organization.

In a press release for the event, LCHJ Director of Development Kevin Mork, for the Council stated, ( The Legal Council for Health aims to ) "use the power of the law to secure dignity, opportunity, and well-being to people facing illness and disability. Our evidence based medical legal partnership programs work uniquely with health, hospital, and social service systems to train and support the care provider network, provide direct representation to referred patients, and conduct systematic advocacy to promote health equity among populations facing chronic, disabling, and stigmatizing health and social conditions."

In the same press release, Board President Mike Sullivan said, "As [the] Legal Council enters its third decade of service to the community, we are proud to never stop serving vulnerable clients with dignity and care regardless of today's challenging climate.

As guests enjoyed the cocktail selection and dined on smoked turkey sliders DJ Nevin provided a low key soundtrack for the evening. An added attraction came with guests who wore ornate Derby Day hats and outfits. Though there was much frivolity, there was still a feeling of seriousness to the event.

During a short presentation near the close of the evening after comments from the first Board President, Kimble Anderson, host Dr. Rasheed said "We are trying to provide services that people need to live their fullest lives." Her partner, Mirza said, "More now then ever we need an organization like this... With this current [presidential] administration we've seen attacks on access to healthcare, attacks on trans rights, attacks on women's rights and attacks on immigration. With more people involved. it's more essential. ... If we don't take care of our community, no one will take care of it for us."

After thanking honorary chair Phillip Tortorich, Legal Council Executive Director Tom Yates urged guests to "have a conversation with some of the attorneys involved in the Council. You will be amazed at the impact that they have with their clients."

Attorney Myron Grant spoke about how coming to work for the Council from the South gave him a sobering experience. He said, "Working with our clients each day reminds me that we are not so different. I was raised by a single mother. We lived in public housing and growing up as a gay black man in South Georgia, things weren't always easy. Oftentimes, when I am meeting with a client, I think about how it could be me on the other side of that desk."

Sponsors for the event included Kirkland and Ellis LLP, Sidley and Austin LLP, The Illinois Hospital and Health Association, Jenner and Block LLP, Winston and Strawn LLP and MB Financial Bank, among others. J and L Catering provided food, with Sidetrack supplying cocktails.

Tickets for the 30th-anniversary gala are on sale, with the date set for Saturday, Oct. 13, at Venue West, 221 N. Paulina St.

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