TASC honored Illinois’ Lieutenant Governor, four state lawmakers, and a U.S. State
Department official at the agency’s annual Leadership Awards Luncheon on Tuesday.
TASC presented its 2019 Justice Leadership Award to Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton during an awards ceremony attended by more than 250 people at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
“From leading the Cook County Justice Advisory Council many years ago, to representing the 5th District of Illinois, to becoming lieutenant governor of Illinois, Juliana Stratton has consistently fought for a fair and equitable justice system,” said TASC President Pam Rodriguez. “We’ve been fortunate to work together often and cross paths on this journey, and we are grateful for her passion and leadership.”
“You are not just changing lives, you are, in fact, saving lives,” said Lt. Gov. Stratton in accepting
TASC’s award. “Honestly, there can be no greater mission than TASC’s collective work to build a
healthier, safer, and more just society.”
TASC Leaders with 2019 TASC Leadership Awards Honorees (l. to r.): John Zielinski, TASC board chair; Brian Morales, Public Voice Award honoree; Pam Rodriguez, TASC president; Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Justice Award honoree. Photo by Uk Studio, Inc.
Stratton highlighted the critical role of policymaking in creating that society: “As I approach my
work in policymaking, first as a State Representative and now as Lieutenant Governor, I first
have to acknowledge how much harm has been done to our communities in the name of policymaking. And with that realization, I now aim to do no harm in the policies that are being
created, and also intentionally seek out ways to repair the harm that has been done by working
on policies that will help create healthy and thriving communities.”
TASC presented its 2019 Public Voice Leadership Award to Brian Morales, branch chief within the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), for elevating the field of substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery in communities across the world.
“We’ve had the opportunity to work under Brian’s leadership in developing and delivering
training and curricula on several continents,” said Rodriguez. “Brian is deeply committed to
building community-based services, as well as systems that support evidence-based practices.”
Accepting the award, Morales thanked TASC for its partnership and shared the international
momentum around developing the field. Describing a number of successful initiatives, he noted
the State Department’s position in being able “to engage at the government level, at the civil
society level, with researchers and scientists and people in treatment and people in recovery.
And what we’re hearing around the world is not a message of doom and pessimism. In fact,
there’s a lot of optimism.”
Morales offered examples highlighting an increased international understanding of the disease
of addiction, an increasing use of evidence-based practices to treat it; a sense of urgency to
train the workforce and advance credentialing and certification; and successes in building
prevention, treatment, and recovery curricula and uniform standards for treatment around the
TASC Leaders with 2019 TASC Legislative Champions (top photo, l. to r.): George Williams, TASC senior vice president; Sen. Mattie Hunter; Sen. Melinda Bush; Pam Rodriguez, TASC president; Rep. Marcus C. Evans, Jr. (bottom photo, l. to r.): Pam Rodriguez; Rep. Tom Demmer; George Williams. Photos by Uk Studio, Inc.
This year TASC also inaugurated its first-ever Legislative Champion Awards for state lawmakers who have provided key leadership and support for health and justice initiatives in the Illinois General Assembly. The 2019 recipients of this award are: Senator Mattie Hunter, Majority Caucus Chair; Senator Melinda Bush; Representative Tom Demmer, Deputy Republican Leader; and Representative Marcus C. Evans, Jr.
“We’re here for a particular reason,” said TASC Senior Vice President of Community and Government Affairs George Williams, before co-presenting the Legislative Champion Awards with Rodriguez, “and that is to honor the men and women and families and communities that we all work in, and work with, and our constituents…and to give special acknowledgment to those who we can depend on.”
“We are excited to inaugurate our legislative award,” said Rodriguez. “Each of the individuals we are honoring has demonstrated fortitude in standing up for policies to ensure equitable access to behavioral health care services.”