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I am HALC: Basil Simon

Thursday, June 2, 2016  | 

Basil Simon of Simon, Stella, and Zingas P.C. is a dynamic lawyer who has had his pulse on global and local politics throughout his 40 year legal career. As a prominent Detroit attorney who specializes in bankruptcy and business law, U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee for the Eastern District of Michigan and longtime HALC member, Basil has found a unique path that combines his passions for Greek-American culture and a desire to fight for communities in need. Basil works to get people elected who he believes represent the interests of the Greek-American community while also enacting policies that grow the economy and benefit human rights.

His Greek ancestry hails from the island of Rhodes with both his parents born in the village of Lindos, a southeastern destination known for its beaches, historic Acropolis and charming restaurants. Basil remains active with his heritage. Not only is he a member of the HellenFullSizeRender(1)ic American Leadership Council, but also belongs to the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York, AHEPA, American Hellenic Institute, Coordinated Efforts of Hellenes, and the Hellenic Bar Association of Michigan. He also serves as the Chairman of the Greek American Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party and is a precinct Delegate of his district in Grosse Pointe Park, MI.

Basil’s dedication to the things he cares about are shared by his wife, Evey Simon, who works as the Music Director for the Holy Trinity Greek Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York. The two are proud of their three children who have taken to heart what they learned from their parents: a commitment to working hard and pursuing the things you believe in.

Basil’s passion for Hellenism, activity in the community, and hard work ethic are just a few of the many reasons we are honored to feature him in our I am HALC series.

 

What do your Hellenic roots mean to you?

Both my parents were born and raised in Greece, and didn’t leave Rhodes until theyFullSizeRender were in their late teens. Inevitably, my parents instilled in me and my brother that one of the most important things is to maintain a strong Greek ethnic identity. Similar to many Greek Americans, what this means to me is that I pride myself with preserving my culture, maintaining a connection to our faith and family, and staying committed to helping one another with an emphasis on helping those that are in need. My parents came from poor backgrounds and through them I learned to recognize that no matter how successful you are you really don’t achieve that success until you are able to help others as best as you can. This is how I grew up and how I raised my children.

 

With such a strong Hellenic background which issue do you feel most passionate about?

Even though I am not from Cyprus, I am extremely passionate about the illegal Turkish occupation of the island. Being a person from an island and knowing that what happened to Cyprus could easily spread to other islands in the Aegean, I am very serious about seeking justice for the people of Cyprus. I feel I also have to mention Greece’s more recent issue with their hurting economy as a lot of people in Greece have lost their jobs and the country is trying to find a way out of the crisis. I know that Vice President Biden and Prime Minister Tsipras recently spoke and agreed that Greece needs to continue making reforms to satisfy their debt relief program. At the same time, the leaders spoke on ensuring that Europe have reasonable terms for a sustained recovery. This seems to make sense, and I hope both the EU and the people of Greece will make all the efforts necessary so Greece can get out of its debt without asking unnecessary burdens to be placed on the quality of life of the people.

 

Why is it important for you to remain active in the Greek community here in America?

It’s important that as a community we continue maintaining our historic culture so that it remains a viable part of the Greek-American community. Greek-Americans are prominent citizens of the United States and should use that prominence today in order to help our native land of Greece and the communities we live in. We have a rich history of philosophy, art and political thought and we can build off of that to create a future to be proud of as well.

 

Where do you want to see HALC in the future?

I want to see HALC grow. It would be great to see it expand its membership base across the United States and have satellite locations and offices throughout the country. HALC can mobilize the Greek- American community to promptly respond to issues critical to Greek-Americans. I think the people that work at HALC have the ability to facilitate this growth. They are very dedicated hardworking individuals and I think they deserve to be recognized for the wonderful job that they currently do.

 

What do you want to see from the Greek community in the future?FullSizeRender(2)

I want to see more active involvement and more passion. I think sometimes we all get complacent with our lives and unless something directly affects us, we tend to ignore the issues. We need more involvement in regards to Greek-American issues here in the United States so that it translates to better support of Greece and Cyprus. We need to lead by example. We cannot presume these issues only matter to somebody else and somehow they will be resolved. We need to work together to find solutions for our issues. Overall, I want to see Greek-Americans more proactive, and they can do so through HALC. HALC has gained substantial credibility with members of Congress and Greek-Americans, so we must take advantage of this channel to become a stronger community.

 

What advice would you give to the young generation of HALC members?

It surprises me how many Greek-Americans are really not informed with the current and historic Greek-Americans issues. With that being said, I would advise the younger generation to find what motivates you and get involved. Learn what you can do with HALC and its mission and work together. It is so important to become familiar with all of the Greek-American issues, after all, these are issues of human rights and economic livelihood.

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