My Personal Connection to HMI and the Emery Awards
by HMI Alumni Jonovia Chase
As a former intern and proud alumni of Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), I want to share my incredible journey and the impact HMI had on my life.
During my time at HMI, I was able to build a vital social network with my peers. This network provided me with a profound sense of safety and security as a young trans person, navigating the challenges of being marginally housed in the vibrant yet daunting landscape of New York City. HMI became my haven, offering not only a safer space but also mentorship that was instrumental in shaping my path.
One of the most transformative experiences during my senior year of high school was my involvement as a “Stars of CHANGE” intern at HMI. In this role, I had the opportunity to plan and help manage various events within the ballroom community. From decorating to budgeting for events like Vogue Fem Fridays, campaigns, and HMI Awards Balls, I was exposed to a world of creativity, public health, advocacy, and self-expression. This invaluable experience provided a platform for me to connect with incredible ballroom icons who have since become an essential part of my chosen family.
HMI has been an integral part of my journey, and I can honestly say that it played a pivotal role in shaping me into the person I am today. It offered an environment where I could embrace my true self and connect with a community that has become my support system. My story is a testament to the profound impact HMI can have on the lives of LGBTQIA+ youth.
As a proud alumnus, I encourage you to support the Hetrick-Martin Institute by attending the 2023 Emery Awards on November 16 so that you can see firsthand how HMI empowers and uplifts young LGBTQIA+ individuals, just as it did for me.
With gratitude and warmth,