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Illinois State Bar Association honors Gina A. DeBoni with Human Rights Award

August 17, 2020

Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, a national personal injury firm primarily based in Chicago, is pleased to announce that Managing Partner Gina A. DeBoni has been honored by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) with the Elmer Gertz Human Rights Award. This is a meaningful honor that recognizes Gina’s work on legal cases and legislative advocacy that advance human rights on a state-wide and national level.  The award honors the legacy of Chicago attorney Elmer Gertz, who had a lengthy and successful career on landmark civil rights cases and was also a professor at John Marshall Law School and author. He died in 2000 at the age of 93.

Gina creates an extremely high standard with her willingness to create change on behalf of her clients. One such case involved Desiree Robinson, a 16-year-old girl, who was murdered in a garage in a south Chicago suburb on Christmas Eve 2016. A 32-year-old man later was charged with her death and reportedly confessed to police that he had sex with the teenage girl before killing her. Desiree had fallen victim to a salacious online sex-trafficking ring and had been featured in prostitution ads on the notorious website 

Gina played an active role in an aggressive national public affairs campaign that ignited pressure on big tech companies like Google and Facebook, that had previously opposed new legislation that would regulate content of online platforms. Gina sent a personal letter to both Illinois Senators, Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, seeking their partnership and support of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act which resulted in Congress inviting Desiree’s mother to deliver heart-wrenching testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. It was after that testimony that the bill gained bi-partisan support and major tech companies reversed their stance and signed on to support the bill. On April 11, 2018, Gina and others were invited to the White House with Desiree’s mother, who stood next to the President in the Oval Office and witnessed the monumental signing of the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex-Trafficking Act. The FBI indicted key owners of and a federal trial will soon be held in Arizona.

Gina, who is a mother of two young children, is also a leader in the efforts the firm is making legislatively on a key environmental issue. Romanucci & Blandin is lead counsel in the case against Sterigenics in Willowbrook, Illinois, a medical sterilization company that emitted carcinogenic ethylene oxide for decades, causing cancers and miscarriages in the community. The fight in this ongoing case, thus far, has resulted in the closing of that business and a public affairs campaign that has raised awareness on the national level. A Congressional task force has been created to examine this issue, and lobby and educational efforts will continue on this essential environmental, public health and human rights matter in the months to come.

“Romanucci and Blandin is proud of the work Gina has done to bring justice to so many, and for the leadership, dedication and energy she brings to the practice of law,” said Antonio M. Romanucci founding partner of Romanucci & Blandin.

Click here to read the ISBA’s complete list of award recipients for 2019-2020

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