New York’s Hetrick Martin Institute, the nation’s oldest and largest organization committed to serving LGBT youth, is honoring actor-activist George Takei at the 30th annual Emery Wards on December 7.
Retail specialist Rob Smith will receive an award at the gala, being held at Cipriani’s Wall Street in Downtown Manhattan.
The theme of this year’s awards, “Help Me Imagine,” recognizes the bravery of the youth who come to HMI to seek a better future for themselves, as well as the limitless potential of what’s next for the LGBT community.
“All children should have the right to healthcare, education, supportive adults, and a community that understands and embraces them,” says Takei, whose 2015 Broadway musical Allegiance will screen in theaters later this year.
“I am thrilled and honored to help bring light to the important and timely work of Hetrick-Martin Institute.”
Throughout his life, the Star Trek icon has faced racism and homophobia with grace, compassion and determination. His journey parallels that of many youth at HMI, who face multiple barriers to stability and success.
Smith, who has helped grow major brands like Victoria’s Secret and Macy’s, has raised more than $10 million dollars for HMI’s lifesaving services
“The incredible resilience of HMI youth never ceases to inspire me,” says Smith, an Emery Awards co-chair. “They help me imagine what the world could be if more people showed their determination and integrity.”
HMI director Thomas Krever praises both this year’s honorees, adding that “the way George Takei has helped to inspire an entire generation of change, Rob Smith has helped to empower an entire generation of HMI youth in New York and beyond.”
Each year, the Emery Awards recognize those who demonstrate outstanding leadership within the LGBT community, and who work to address the most critical issues affecting HMI youth, including HIV/AIDS, homelessness, education and health and wellness.
For Emery Awards ticket and event information visit the HMI website