CUNY Law Impact: Advocating for People Affected by HIV/AIDS
“CUNY Law alumni are making a difference at every single HIV/AIDS organization in New York,” declared Jeffrey Brooks ('04), during a recent phone call with the Law School's alumni office.
It was an intriguing statement. A little investigation revealed 15—and counting—CUNY Law graduates who are advocating, working in policy, providing direct legal services, or making an impact in the HIV/AIDS community throughout New York City.
We have interviewed all of them for a daily web series that kicks off on Sunday, December 1, World AIDS Day.
A career as an AIDS advocate began nearly two decades ago for Tracy L. Welsh (’91) when she joined the legal team at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) as a staff attorney.
Ignacio Jaureguilorda (’02) went right to work in the HIV/AIDS field in his first job out of law school. He secured a staff attorney position at the AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC) in 2002.
As a staff attorney at Housing Works, an organization that battles AIDS and homelessness, Sina Choi ('08) is on the frontlines assisting people living with HIV/AIDS.
When you hear David Barr (’86) talk about his life in New York City in the 1980s, it’s like a storyline from a gripping movie. But it’s a story that Barr lived.
Wander the hallways of Bronx Housing Court, and you might just catch Jessica Reed ('07) shouting out the name of a law firm, trying to locate a landlord's opposing counsel before locking into battle, and advocating for her client.
Since graduating from CUNY Law School, Pavita Krishnaswamy ('02) has had a long-lived, 11-year tenure at the same organization: South Brooklyn Legal Services, a program of Legal Services NYC.
Protecting the rights of clients who are HIV-positive or who have AIDS is something Odella Woodson ('03) has done for about a decade, representing them in housing court or family court.
For Christa Douaihy (’08), the roots of her HIV/AIDS justice work go deep, back to the early 1990s in Scranton, PA.
For Ira Needleman (’96), HIV/AIDS work came hand-in-hand with a return to his home city of New York.
Randy Petsche ('89) had 14 years of experience in landlord-tenant law and a number of years as a volunteer tenants' organizer on the lower west side of Manhattan before joining Bronx AIDS Services (BAS).
During the oppressive July heat wave this past summer, Mark Hess ('12), a housing attorney for the HIV Law Project, helped his client comply with an agreement to deaden the sound of his allegedly heavy feet.
When Mona Moayad ('11) joined Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), she had to hit the ground running, and she hasn't stopped running ever since.
Ed Campanelli ('03) got his start working with clients living with HIV/AIDS in 2002, as a summer intern for the AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC). He also worked there as a paralegal his last year of law school.
Well before Jeffrey Brooks ('04) had a six-year stint working with HIV/AIDS clients at the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and before he earned his JD from CUNY Law School, he was a young man living in New York City in the early 1980s.