Jon Henry Receives PFLAG Richmond’s 2012 Scholarship
This is a guest post by Kenneth Decker.
Jon Henry, known to regular readers of GAYRVA.COM as the media outlet’s 2011 Richmonder of the Year (and current contributor), is also the 2012 recipient of PFLAG Richmond’s annual scholarship. Now in its fourth year, this stipend encourages young student activists by offering financial support for their continuing education.
A recent graduate of the University of Richmond, with a BA in Studio Art and International Studies, Jon was accepted to that school with the designation of a Richmond Artist Scholar, an honor he modestly says surprised him since he viewed his artistic pursuits as an expression of personal interest rather than work intended for an outside audience.
Studio art evolved as an interest over Jon’s first two years at UR; a transformative moment occurred when a professor encouraged him to study the work of Keith Haring. Not fully out at that point, Jon found Haring’s work a revelation; the idea that an out, queer artist could not only survive but also thrive in the 1980′s (an era when the specter of AIDS created a backlash against the community which in many ways pales in comparison to the culture wares fueled by the struggle for marriage equality) became an inspiration.
Following Keith Haring’s courageous example, Jon’s art became increasingly political in content and activist in intent. Touched by Haring’s death due to AIDS, as well as by friends currently living with this illness, Jon incorporated his hero’s artwork into posters, flyers and other tools promoting safe-sex practices. Jon has also organized numerous HIV testing events with the Fan Free Clinic.
Jon’s work on the University of Richmond campus runs the gamut from breathing new life into the Student Alliance for Sexual Diversity (for which he served as president from 2009-2011), organizing Safe Zone trainings, advocating for inclusion for gender identity and expression as part of the University’s nondiscrimination policy and serving as cofacilitator for Icebreakers, the campus’s support group for closeted LGBT students.
Additionally, he’s a member of the Golden Key Club, the Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society and outgoing president (2011-2012) of the Art Club. Making the most of the opportunities offered by such leadership posts, Jon worked tirelessly to improve the campus climate for sexual and gender minority students. In the words of Dr. Nathan Snaza, Visiting Lector on English, “As a new faculty member invested in GLBTQ issues, I cannot imagine what the campus would be like without the work of Jon and his peers.”
Dr. Glen Hughes, Director of Common Ground, UR’s diversity initiative, further states, “Richmond’s history has insulated it from the kinds of activism that many larger schools and more progressive geographic pockets have resulted in student and campus cultures that now expect activism. Jon’s courageous efforts at UR have not only created a better climate for LGBT people; they are also transforming the campus culture of activism and community organizing in broadly positive ways.”
Jon is enrolled at New York University for the Fall 2012 semester, where he plans to pursue an MA in Arts Politics. His career goal is to work in the visual arts field, specifically in a curatorial capacity.
Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) meets the second Tuesday of each month at the ROSMY building on 2311 Westwood Avenue from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
The folks at Richmond PFLAG (Parents and friends of lesbians and gays) are on track for another awesome monthly meeting. September’s meeting will feature a talk from Mark Loewen of LaunchPad Counseling. As a licensed practical counselor, Mark is familiar with the unique challenges facing LGBT individuals and will be discussing the issues of depression and [...]September 1, 2016
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