Scholar Class – 2008-09
Jonah was born into a family of five children in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He began questioning his sexuality at a young age, but a strict Baptist upbringing prohibited his from openly expressing his feelings. During high school, he struggled with the weight of living a double-life, but excelled academically and received his associate’s degree in Music Production at the age of seventeen.
Facing inevitable familial and religious conflict, he left home at eighteen and came out shortly thereafter. Many lifelong friendships grew estranged, but several LGBT community leaders and friends surfaced providing him with a renewed sense of family and belonging. With the encouragement of this ‘new family,’ he signed up to volunteer at the Task Force’s 2008 Creating Change Conference. He experience of the conference opened his eyes to the importance of role models and the need for the current generation to work towards paving the way for future LGBT leaders.
Jonah currently studies Performing Arts Technology and Counseling at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Following graduation, he plans to enter a master’s program in Entertainment and Media Management. His passions for business, music, and mentoring have evolved into a vision for his life’s work which involves establishing community centers and programs to provide artistic spaces for underprivileged youth. Jonah recognizes the vital role LGBT community elders played in sustaining him through his teenage years, and plans to continue the tradition by mentoring and supporting future generations.