Rising Together: A Reflection on Pride and National Indigenous Month



Creating a World Where Everyone is Seen, Heard and Valued

The Struggles of Today’s Youth

In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, it’s easy to overlook the struggles that many young people face. From the pressure to succeed academically or in their careers to the constant waves of information and societal expectations, as well as concerns about the environmental crisis, social unrest and financial uncertainty, today’s youth are grappling with stress in new ways previous generations may not have experienced in part due to our digital and tech world.

Ashley Whiteman, NYMAC Member

Ashley Whiteman, NYMAC Co-Chair

The Importance of Pride and National Indigenous Month

In the midst of this whirlwind, it becomes crucial to pause and reflect on the importance of attending events like Pride and National Indigenous Month, both marked in June. These events are not merely celebrations; they are powerful reminders of the struggles and triumphs of marginalized communities and the individuals who identify with those communities. From the Stonewall Riots to the rich cultures of Indigenous peoples, these events honour history while shedding light on ongoing injustices. For young people like me navigating stress and trying to make sense of it all, these events offer more than just a chance to party; they provide an invaluable opportunity for solidarity and reflection. By joining in, folks can find a sense of belonging and purpose. Connecting with others who share similar experiences is incredibly empowering, and learning from the struggles and resilience is truly inspiring. These events shine as beacons of hope through life’s challenges.

Self-care practices

Moreover, these events remind us of the importance of personal wellness and boundaries. In the midst of advocating for social justice and celebrating diversity, it’s easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Setting boundaries, whether that’s limiting social media usage or carving out time for self-care activities, is essential for maintaining mental and emotional well-being. Personally, my self-care practices vary to fit my needs. I’ve found success in meditating, exercising, paying attention to nutrition, gratitude journaling, and grounding myself in nature. I also enjoy activities like watching TV, dancing, and more recently, reading for fun. Recognizing when to step back and prioritize our own needs is not selfish; it’s an act of self-preservation.

The Ongoing Journey for Equality

As we celebrate the progress made in 2SLGBTQIA+ rights and Indigenous rights, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the journey is far from complete. Discrimination, inequality, and systemic oppression persist, and young people hold a pivotal role in driving meaningful change. Through education, amplification of voices, and advocacy for justice, we can contribute to forging a more equitable, inclusive, and just society. It’s essential to recognize that our dedication to these causes can and should extend beyond specific months or events. Supporting initiatives from and for 2SLGBTQIA+, Indigenous communities or other important causes year-round ensures sustained momentum in advocating for equality, justice, and the recognition of diverse voices. By actively participating in events, conversations, and actions that promote inclusivity and awareness, we continually nurture a more compassionate and equitable society throughout the year.

A Call to Action

In conclusion, while the challenges of being young and navigating stress may seem daunting, events like Pride and National Indigenous Month serve as beacons of hope and inspiration. Change doesn’t happen in isolation; it requires each of us to stand up, speak out, and all work together towards a more inclusive future. As we embark on this journey of progress, let’s not forget the importance of taking care of ourselves. Let’s prioritize self-care, set healthy boundaries, and nourish our minds and bodies so that we can continue to show up as our best selves. These events remind us of the power of community, the importance of resilience, and the need to continue fighting for a better world. So, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come, honour the struggles of those who came before us, and commit ourselves to the work that still lies ahead. Together, we can create a world where everyone is seen, heard, and valued.

Become a volunteer today!

At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we volunteers play a crucial role in this journey. By providing mentorship and support to young people, we help foster a sense of community and belonging. Mentorship can be a lifeline for many, offering guidance, encouragement, and a safe space to navigate the challenges of growing up. Programs that connect youth with positive role models can make a significant impact, helping them build resilience and confidence. This support is invaluable, especially during times of self-discovery and social change. Click here to learn how to become a volunteer and uplift a young person in your community.