In the late 1970s the word “AIDS” would have had folks scratching their heads. But in the early 1980s the deadly flood of the disease swept the world condemning men and women to a tragic path. It was an ugly time when all-too-often people shunned even hugging friends for fear of contracting the deadly disease. Those diagnosed with AIDS lost jobs and housing and were abandoned by families and friends.
At that time it was “routine for insurance companies to avoid coverage to person living in certain ZIP codes.” In other words, the routine was “there was no ‘right to accommodations’ for individuals with disabilities, and people summarily lost their places of employment or where they lived simply because of the perception that they might be carrying HIV.”
In 1988, a conference co-sponsored by the SMU Schools of Law and Theology, the University of Texas – Southwestern Medical School and the Dallas Bar Association and Dallas County Medical Society focused on the reality of the disease’s ramifications.
As a result of the conference and the efforts of the Dallas Bar Association and SMU School of Law, the Dallas Legal Hospice of Texas was officially created in September 1989, eventually becoming Legal Hospice of Texas.
Over the years the organization has expanded its services (estate planning, insurance, employment, housing, credit and public benefits) to include low-income individuals with terminal illnesses like cancer.
To support its free services, Casino Night In White Party will be chaired by Kimberly Gonzalez on Saturday, September 8, at Candle Room.
Tickets are available here. And don’t forget to wear white!
* Graphic provided by Legal Hospice of Texas