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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Legal Council for Health Justice holds annual May Ball
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2017-05-10

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Dr. Nabeela Rasheed's turn-of-the-century HGTV-featured home was the setting for the 3rd annual Legal Council for Health Justice's May Ball on May 6.

Approximately 200 people attended the event to raise funds for the Legal Council's work in providing free, expert legal care for those in need.

The mission of the Legal Council for Health Justice ( formerly AIDS Legal Council of Chicago ) is, according to its website, "to use the power of the law to secure dignity, opportunity and well-being for people facing barriers due to illness or disability."

Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, champagne, cocktails and DJ Nevin's music as they perused Rasheed's extensive art collection.

Kevin Mork ( Legal Council's director of development ) provided words of welcome ahead of remarks by Rasheed ( event host ) and Tom Yates ( Legal Council's executive director ).

"This is the year where we need to come out and preach," said Rasheed. "I have been involved with [this organization] since the year 2000 ... and in those halcyon days of the Obama administration we thought this is great, we have the Affordable Care Act on which we can build, improve and count on. Never in my worst nightmare did I think I would come home from a vacation this week to find the hell that has been let loose on this beautiful country of ours, my adopted country.

"I chose to give up all of my other identities to become an American. I cannot understand how we have gotten to a place where [GOP House members] would be celebrating legislation that will kill people ... I am a four-year breast cancer survivor so I have a pre-existing condition. Where am I going to be 10 years from now?

"I am so grateful to each one of you who came here tonight to support this organization."

Yates explained that they started the organization at the height of the AIDS crisis. He noted that next year will mark its 30th anniversary.

"We have been through hard times and we are in hard times right now," said Yates. "We have three projects—working with people who have HIV and AIDS, children with complex health conditions and people with severe mental illness and/or who are homeless ... We have represented thousands of people qualify for health insurance over the years ... I am so proud of the work we do.

"There is trouble on the horizon ... We find ourselves doing two things now—continuing to represent individuals on a variety of legal matters and protect this program both in D.C. and Springfield."

A champagne toast by event chair Philip Tortorich and actor/writer/producer Fawzia Mirza ( who is also Rasheed's girlfriend ) closed the program.

Tortorich said he cherishes this event and has been honored to be the co-chair since its inception.

"Our lives, our identities and our potential are literally at risk every minute of every day right now," said Mirza. "We need money, people to show up, people to speak out and be at the forefront as well as working behind the scenes. Every role we can play in this moment matters. Know that every one of you are a part of the resistance so do not stop resisting."

This year's raffle items included two tickets for Broadway in Chicago's The King and I, a Halsted Vodka gift basket, a Hilton Chicago Bed and Breakfast package for two, two tickets to the Legal Council's summer party and a $100 gift certificate from Lettuce Entertain You.

See legalcouncil.org/ for more information .


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