Shawn M. Lang will posthumously receive the Citizen for the Law Award at the CBA’s annual awards celebration, Celebrate with the Stars, on Wednesday, April 20. Throughout her career, she was a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, the HIV positive and those affected by AIDS, opioid addiction sufferers, and people suffering from homelessness. She unexpectedly passed away on October 17, 2021.
Lang attended the University of Lowell in Massachusetts and while there became involved in a campus gay rights group. After graduating she began working in a shelter for domestic violence victims in Middletown. However, as the global AIDS pandemic of the 1980s grew and after seeing some of those she knew die from the disease, Lang joined the organization AIDS Connecticut. Early in her career with the organization she helped to lobby against a measure which would have collected the names of state residents living with HIV/AIDS. She also helped to secure over $1 million in state funding for AIDS housing. In 1991, Lang became AIDS Connecticut’s deputy director, a position she held until June of 2020.
Outside of her work with AIDS Connecticut, Lang actively participated in advocacy efforts for the CT Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, the National AIDS Housing Coalition, the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University, and the CT Alcohol and Drug Policy Council. She also founded the Statewide Opiate Overdose Prevention Workgroup. Lang’s lifetime of commitment to advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights as well as those suffering from AIDS, opioid Addiction, and homelessness has secured her status as a champion against injustice.
The Citizen for the Law Award is presented to a person who is not employed in the legal area but has made a significant contribution to the institution of justice and the law on a voluntary basis. These activities have been undertaken to advance the law for purely beneficial reasons, with little or no personal reward, and some personal sacrifice.
The complete list of awardees can be found here. Registration is now open and sponsorship and advertising opportunities are available.