Janet Weinberg, 63, Dies; Advocate for Gay Causes and the Disabled

Janet Weinberg, 63, Dies; Advocate for Gay Causes and the Disabled

Janet Weinberg, an advocate for individuals with disabilities who discovered her calling as a prime govt and fund-raiser at social service organizations just like the Homosexual Males’s Well being Disaster, died on Sept. 1 within the Bronx. She was 63.
Her partner, Rosalyn H. Richter, an affiliate justice of the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Courtroom, mentioned the trigger was a persistent coronary heart situation.
Ms. Weinberg had been an occupational therapist for a decade when she accepted a suggestion to hitch the board of the Lesbian & Homosexual Group Companies Middle in Manhattan within the mid-1990s. It was a profession transition she had been making ready for after constructing a fame as a politically savvy activist for individuals with disabilities and hoping at some point to assist a inhabitants nonetheless affected by the AIDS epidemic.
She had by no means forgotten an incident in 1985, when she was working as an occupational therapist at a nursing house in Rockaway Seaside, Queens, and the group erupted in protest in opposition to a metropolis proposal to switch dying AIDS sufferers there from hospitals.

“They have been by no means allowed to enter the nursing house,” she mentioned in a video assertion posted by the Homosexual Males’s Well being Disaster in 2010, recalling how town backed right down to native stress. “The group blocked it. It was all about homophobia and hatred.”
Because the lesbian and homosexual middle’s co-chairwoman after which its director of growth, Ms. Weinberg helped lead the $14 million fund-raising effort that renovated its 19th-century headquarters in Greenwich Village. Extra essential, having been disabled within the 1980s by an sickness that required her to make use of a wheelchair, Ms. Weinberg introduced a brand new and impassioned voice.
“She may discuss to quite a lot of totally different sorts of elected officers, even those that didn’t agree with us,” Richard Burns, a longtime former govt director of the middle, mentioned in a phone interview. “And he or she knew the right way to use her wheelchair with them — she would body-block them till they heard her message about coverage, L.G.B.T. points, incapacity entry or drug reform.”
In 2005, she was recruited to the Homosexual Males’s Well being Disaster, the place her work in fund-raising — together with organizing an AIDS stroll in 2008 that drew 45,000 individuals and raised $7.four million — led to her being named chief working officer 4 years later.
Ms. Weinberg was adept at elevating cash on the G.M.H.C. even after the urgency of the AIDS epidemic had handed. She labored on creating packages to assist shoppers acquire their highschool equivalency diplomas and handle monetary planning and immigration points.

“She knew what it took for individuals to forestall being contaminated, but in addition what it took for them to stay more healthy, extra fulfilling lives,” Ana Oliveira, who, because the group’s govt director, recruited Ms. Weinberg, mentioned in a phone interview.

Nonetheless, by 2013 the middle was working a deficit, and its chief govt, Dr. Marjorie Hill, had resigned after seven years. Some mentioned the G.M.H.C. and different long-established teams had grown timid and have been now not viewing AIDS with sufficient alarm.
Ms. Weinberg, who was named the interim chief govt, instructed The New York Instances that the company remained centered on “high-impact prevention” practices.
She left the middle the subsequent yr.
Janet Inez Weinberg was born in Manhattan on April three, 1955, and grew up in Highland Park, N.J. Her father, Herbert, was a stockbroker, and her mom, Esther (Hariton) Weinberg, was a homemaker who died when Janet was three. Her stepmother, Might, later entered her life.
After attending Hofstra College in Hempstead, N.Y., Ms. Weinberg graduated with a level in occupational remedy from York School in Queens. As a therapist working for VTA Administration Companies, a rehabilitation firm, she dealt largely with youngsters who had studying disabilities, traumatic accidents and neuromuscular illnesses.
She turned a senior vice chairman of VTA’s mum or dad firm in 1998, working there whereas serving on the board of the lesbian and homosexual middle (which was renamed the Lesbian, Homosexual, Bisexual & Transgender Group Middle in 2001).

Ms. Weinberg had meant to retire after her time on the G.M.H.C., however she took a consulting job with Instructional Alliance, whose group facilities serve 50,000 residents of the Decrease East Facet and the East Village, and shortly turned its govt vice chairman of packages and operations. One in every of her duties was to start out the long-delayed building of a constructing dedicated to habit providers and restoration.
“We had that gap within the floor for 10 years, and one thing needed to change,” Alan van Cappelle, the alliance’s president, mentioned in a phone interview. “So I mentioned to her, ‘Fill the outlet and construct the middle.’ She lived it and breathed it.” It opened in 2016.
Along with Justice Richter — whom she wed in 2011, two months after same-sex marriage was legalized in New York State — Ms. Weinberg is survived by a brother, Dr. Kenneth Weinberg.
In the previous few years, Ms. Weinberg was a part of two initiatives that commemorated essential components of L.G.B.T. historical past.
She helped to foyer for the designation of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, the place riots in 1969 helped ignite the homosexual rights motion, as a nationwide monument. (The designation was granted in 2016.) And he or she served on the board of the New York Metropolis AIDS Memorial, an 18-foot-high metal cover made from three triangles that was erected at 12th Avenue and Greenwich Avenue in 2016 to honor the 100,000 New Yorkers who’ve died of AIDS.
Mr. Burns recalled Ms. Weinberg’s sturdy voice at contentious group board conferences in the course of the memorial’s approval course of.
“She spoke as somebody who had lived via the AIDS epidemic,” he mentioned, “as somebody who had misplaced associates.”

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