October 25, 2010
Scott Schoettes, HIV project director (national position).
Washington, D.C. -- Lambda Legal client Dr. Robert Franke, who was evicted from a Little Rock, Arkansas, assisted living facility because he has HIV, has been invited by the White House to participate this week in a conference on HIV and aging. Dr. Franke, a retired educator and former minister, will attend the meeting with his daughter, Sara Bowling, and Lambda Legal HIV Project Staff Attorney Scott Schoettes. Schoettes will speak on a panel addressing issues likely to affect seniors living with HIV.
Lambda Legal represented Franke and Bowling in a lawsuit against Fox Ridge, an assisted living facility in North Little Rock owned by Parkstone Living Center, Inc. Franke returned to Arkansas and moved into Fox Ridge to be closer to Bowling, but was evicted almost immediately due to his HIV status. The lawsuit was settled last month.
"We're excited and honored that the White House has recognized Lambda Legal's decades of work on behalf of HIV-positive Americans," said Schoettes. "And this recognition underscores the message we want to send to long-term care providers and others: Ignorance about HIV transmission does not exempt you from laws that prohibit this kind of discrimination."
The meeting takes place at the White House on Wednesday, October 27, and is part of an ongoing series of discussions on HIV organized by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. "My father and I are grateful for the opportunity to go to the White House," said Bowling. "We are also encouraged that the administration is addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS and aging and the discrimination that goes along with it. We hope that one day discrimination and prejudice against others will no longer exist."
Previous meetings have addressed HIV and women, HIV and youth, and HIV and Latinos. Schoettes, Franke and Bowling will be in Washington through Thursday.