“Hello!! My name is Zackary James White, I’m 17, from Yellowknife, NWT, and use he/him pronouns! Being only an 11th-grader, I do the best I can to take part in any form of social justice and self-care activism where possible. Growing up fairly sheltered in a privileged household, I was never really exposed to the issues at which engulfed not only millions across the world but to the injustices and mistreatment happening in my very own community. And as I got older and started to become aware of the prejudices and hate surrounding different groups in Yellowknife, I had an urge to do something about it. Now, I’m part of the Youth Advisory Committee at the Tree of Peace, part of my school’s mental health advocacy group — MAGMA, as we call ourselves — as well as our school’s GSA, and taking part in community efforts to advocate for a greener world through organizations like OurTime and pushing for a more inclusive system and society through the Rainbow Coalition — Yellowknife’s LGBTQ2S+ resource and outreach centre.
One of the biggest things that I’ve learned from being a leader is that prejudice is systematically built into each and every one of us and that sometimes the first step in taking action to resolve issues which we have with the world is to look into ourselves. As isolated as I’ve been recent with social distancing and the pandemic, I whole-heartedly miss the spiritual connectedness that I’m able to feel out on the land. And with the absence of being able to experience the quietness, comfort, and blissful content I get out of looking across lakes and large areas of land as balancing my life has prohibited me from doing thus far, I’ve noticed it negatively affect my ability to feel spiritually connected with the land. However, I soon wish to change that. I hope to begin going on walks and even hikes as I’m becoming better able to sort my school and personal life out as of recent.
Lastly, I want youth to know that they aren’t alone. That in or out of their homes that there are people very similar to them. That there are people who can support them in times and need. Because the last thing I’d want is for somebody to feel alone in a world so full of people wanting someone like them in their life.”