FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HETRICK-MARTIN INSTITUTE AWARDS BALL UNLEASHES “THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON”
The 18th Annual Event to Celebrate Excellence and Inclusivity in the Kiki Community
New York, NY, January 22, 2024 – The nation’s oldest LGBTQIA+ youth services organization, Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) announced today its 18th Annual Awards Ball, themed “The Year of the Dragon.” This highly anticipated event—the largest of HMI’s monthly balls—is set to take center stage at Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019, on Saturday, January 27 from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
This year’s theme is inspired by the Wood Dragon year from the 2024 Chinese Horoscope, which claims to bring authority, prosperity, and good fortune to all. The annual Awards Ball, in conjunction with the Kiki Coalition, promotes health and education by offering a resource fair and confidential HIV/STI testing, aligning with HMI’s commitment to comprehensive support.
The Kiki Coalition, comprised of a group of youth-serving organizations, was conceived in response to the challenges faced by young African American and Latino LGBTQIA+ youth. It plays a crucial role in empowering the community through innovative prevention and intervention activities. With the help of HMI as one of the leading HIV/STD prevention organizations, the Kiki Coalition originated in 2003 in response to the disproportionate impact of HIV on youth in NYC. The coalition also includes the following organizations:
The Kiki scene provides a unique safe space for queer and trans youth of color to express themselves through voguing, find peer support, and receive encouragement—an integral part of HMI’s programming.
Predominantly made up of African-American and Latino LGBTQIA+ youth, the KiKi House Ball community serves as a kinship system that meets the needs of its members. Through competitive events known as “balls,” participants showcase their talents in categories such as Fashion, Face, Runway, Performance: Vogue/Dance and M/C’ing. The KiKi Houses integrate HIV prevention messaging and resources into their activities, promoting safer sex and harm rejection themes in ball categories, such as “Reduction Realness”. The Houses pride themselves on imparting values that focus on health, personal and professional development infused with community leadership.
Despite progress in HIV/AIDS awareness, NYC continues to face disparities, particularly among young men having sex with men (YMSM) and LGBTQIA+ youth. HMI acknowledges the ongoing support and leadership of community partners, including Callen-Lorde, HEAT, Housing Works, BrightPoint, Exponents, and others, in funding and organizing this impactful event.
Please note that the event is not open to the public.
ABOUT HETRICK-MARTIN INSTITUTE
Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) is the nation’s oldest LGBTQIA+ youth organization serving queer and trans youth, primarily of color, between the ages of 13 and 24. Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, the organization fosters healthy youth development. HMI’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models. HMI serves a diverse community, the vast majority of whom identify as Black or people of color. The youth organization is dedicated to building its approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels, throughout its operations and functions.