FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hetrick-Martin Institute Presents Virtual ‘Youth Pride Extravaganza’ to Benefit Queer Youth of Color
NEW YORK, June 15, 2020 –The nation’s largest and first LGBTQ+ youth services organization, Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) will host its first-ever virtual fundraiser, “Youth Pride Extravaganza, #ProudToBe Uniting for Queer Youth of Color”, a four-episode series beginning Thursday, June 18.
For the past 21 years, the Kiki Coalition made up of HMI and a number of other agencies, has hosted Youth Pride Fest specifically geared toward LGBTQ young people. Because the likelihood of in-person events is a long way coming, the nonprofit organization felt it was important to do something for their youth primarily of color, given the current climate that has plagued the nation between the COVID pandemic and racial tensions. HMI Chief Development Officer, Amy Harclerode, remarked “As HMI considered how best to celebrate Pride with our youth this year, we knew we wanted to create a platform for our staff, partners and friends that acknowledges our youth’s creativity and resilience, and that calls others to action around the continued work needed for the LGBTQ+ and black communities. We hope that everyone who watches, especially HMI youth members, feel the love and support of our community.”
The four half-hour episodes will run through the second half of June and will feature performances by Big Freedia, Taylor Dayne, Andy Bell, Wé McDonald, Kodie Shane, Dashaun Wesley and Miss Lawrence, with special guest appearances by Zachary Quinto, Sandra Bernhard, Tina Burner, Mighty Real: The Sylvester Musical, Miss J. Alexander, Jonathan Knight & Harley Rodriguez, Judy Gold, B. Hawk Snipes and more, plus music by DJ John Michael and DJ Jazzy Joyce. The organization also hopes to raise money from the event, since it had to forgo its annual events it relies on to help fund its vital programs and services.
Thomas Krever, HMI’s Chief Executive Officer, who is due to leave his post at the end of this month, commented, “This is not how I imagined leaving the organization. While I was looking forward to our annual Pride events as an opportunity to say goodbye to our amazing youth and our wonderful donors, staff, volunteers, board members and corporate partners in person, I’m glad that we’re able to at least deliver an event that will bring some joy and laughter to everyone.”
Since social distancing measures went into effect in mid-March, HMI has been providing virtual programming and counseling to its youth members to ensure no disruption in their critical services. The organization has been sensitive to what has been happening in the black and brown community, especially among trans people. Krever continued, “We’re at a crossroads with so much on the line for the queer, black and brown communities. The recent protests are a reminder of the Stonewall riots and why we celebrate Pride and why we must continue our fight to eliminate discrimination and violence against marginalized communities so that everyone is afforded the equal rights they deserve. Today’s SCOTUS landmark decision, protecting against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, sends a powerful positive message to our young people to celebrate this momentous victory and live their lives authentically under the protection of our highest court.”
The Youth Pride Extravaganza episodes will be broadcasted live stream on HMI’s YouTube and Facebook channels. To see the complete schedule, visit their website at www.hmi.org/youthpride.
ABOUT HETRICK-MARTIN INSTITUTE
Founded in 1979, Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit leader in LGBTQ youth service programming. Today, HMI serves more than 2,000 at-risk youth each year between the ages of 13 and 24 from more than 300 zip codes in New York and throughout the tri-state area, and an additional 8,000 young people through outreach efforts – as well as countless lives changed by our advocacy, training and capacity building work around the world. For more information, please visit www.hmi.org.
*Updated on 6/20 to include additional talent highlights.