Melinda Katz President, Borough of Queens
Melinda Katz was elected on November 5th, 2013 to serve as the 19th Queens Borough President. She has been a dedicated public servant for nearly 20 years, serving in key governmental positions on both the city and state level.
Born and raised in Forest Hills, Melinda is a graduate of the public school system. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and received her juris doctorate from St. John’s University School of Law. While at St. John’s, she was published by the Journal of Legal Commentary and interned with the tenant rights division of the Legal Aid Society, the US Attorney’s Office and Judge Michael Mukasey in the Southern District of NY.Her father, David, was the founder and conductor of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and her mother, Jeanne, was the founder of the Queens Council for the Arts.
Melinda represented Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and parts of Maspeth, South Elmhurst and Richmond Hill as City Council Member from 2002 to 2009. She rose to Chair the influential Land Use Committee which, under her leadership, secured private-sector partnerships that led to the creation of over 15,000 units of affordable housing. Melinda championed zoning measures that paved the way for redevelopment projects in all five boroughs, while safeguarding communities from overdevelopment..
Elijah Betts (he/they pronouns)
Eli Betts has been out and proud for eight years. He started going to Generation Q soon after he turned thirteen, and after taking a break for high school and the beginning of college, he returned to Gen Q in 2017. Since then, he has been regularly attending programming and bringing plenty of new members with him.
Eli has been active in the LGBTQ+ community for as long as he can remember. Whether it’s planning events, outreach, or just learning new things, he is always happy to be a part of such a vibrant and growing community. This will be Eli’s seventh Queens Pride, and he is honored to be serving as a Grand Marshal this year.
Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI)
Hetrick-Martin creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13 and 24 and their families.
In 1979, life partners and educators on gay and lesbian issues, Dr. Emery Hetrick, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Damien Martin, a professor at New York University, heard the heartbreaking story of a homeless 15-year-old boy who had been beaten and thrown out of his emergency shelter because he was gay.
They were so moved that they gathered a group of concerned adults and created what was then called the Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth (IPLGY) to assist this group of young people who desperately needed support. In 1988, the organization was renamed Hetrick-Martin Institute in honor of its founders and their lifelong commitment to service and is now led by Krever Thomas, CEO since 2003.
Thomas is a recognized leader in the field of youth leadership who has brought quality services to at-risk and fringe-youth populations and established HMI’s Center for LGBTQ Youth Advocacy and Capacity Building, throughout the country and across the world with regard to issues confronting LGBTQ youth. Most recently, he pioneered “HMI Goes Citywide for LGBTQ Youth,” a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to reach LGBTQ youth in all five boroughs of New York City in their own communities.
She's been writing her own songs since the beginning of her career. She was one of the first artists in house/dance music signed to a major record deal with Warner Brothers in the UK in 1989 and have more than 25 years of experience making groundbreaking music having collaborated with a wide array of artists such as: The Basement Boys, Nellee Hooper, D-Inflience, Mood II Swing, Nona Hendryx, Lenny Kravitz, N'Dea Davenport, DJ Class, NERVO, Tony Moran, StoneBridge, Todd Terry, David Morales, Michele Williams (of Destiny's Child), Boy George, Morgan Page, Quentin Harris and others!
Her sound embraces a variety of genres including house, soul, disco, electro pop, R&B/hiphop and rock and I am honored to be considered an icon of the Dance and LGBT communities worldwide.