Roberta Kaplan Honored at Gay Men’s Health Crisis Fall Gala; GMHC Launches Roberta Kaplan Legal Center

By: 
Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP
Published on:
October 7th, 2019

NEW YORK, NY, October 7, 2019 – Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP Founding Partner Roberta Kaplan was honored last week at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) Fall Gala, which marked the 37th anniversary of GMHC, the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy.

At the event, Ms. Kaplan was named the 2019 recipient of GMHC’s Joan H. Tisch Award for Community Service and Philanthropy. As part of its recognition, GMHC announced the establishment of the Roberta Kaplan Legal Center to provide free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS.

GMHC’s Roberta Kaplan Legal Center will provide free direct legal advocacy and representation to clients, assisting with matters of immigration, eviction prevention, family law, employment discrimination, wills, health care proxies, and other vital legal services.

In her remarks, Ms. Kaplan commented: “I am so honored to know that GMHC will now be able to enhance our free legal services to those living with HIV/AIDS. The fact that GMHC will be doing so in my name is deeply meaningful to me, and I can think of no greater honor or legacy. Representing those in need of a good lawyer, after all, is my life’s work – it is personal for me, as it is for many of us. But there is still so much work left to be done.”

“[Robbie] has been one of GMHC’s toughest advocates, strongest supporters, and best allies. Her commitment to our staff and clients is unparalleled. Do you know what it’s like to have Robbie in your corner? It gives you the confidence that you can overcome almost any challenge and accomplish almost anything. And over the past 7 years, GMHC has had SO much to be proud of— we could not have done ANY of it without Robbie,” said Kelsey Louie, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC, at the event. 

“We couldn’t be more proud of this well-earned recognition of Robbie. Her longstanding dedication to and leadership in advancing LGBTQ rights continues to make an incredible, positive difference in the world,” said Sean Hecker, Partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP. “This new center ensures greater access to the essential resources people need.”

Ms. Kaplan had the privilege of introducing Governor Cuomo, who was honored with the Larry Kramer Activism Award. His remarks included praise of Ms. Kaplan, stating: “To Robbie Kaplan, who is my hero – she has fought these fights for many years, and she wins!”

Joy-Ann Reid received the Judith Peabody Humanitarian Award at the event. The evening also featured an appearance from the House of Xtravaganza, made in honor of Hector Xtravaganza.

Ms. Kaplan has served on the Board of GMHC for six years, and is currently Board Chair.

To learn more about GMHC, visit their website here.