Get to know our nominees for Youth of the Year, one of several Simcoe County Pride Awards.
Find bios for all categories and nominees here. Don't forget to get your tickets to our Pride Awards Gala, a fundraiser and celebration happening August 11!
Nelson Morgan is a 17 year old queer/genderqueer person from Barrie. After recently graduating high school, they are planning to attend Nipissing University in the fall for a Bachelor of Social Work, in order to continue their education in anti-oppressive practice and social justice.
They have been an active member of the LGBTQ2+ community in Barrie over the past year, working with the Gilbert Centre both as a youth volunteer and as a member of the Gilbert Youth Board which facilitates relevant, queer-focussed programming in the Barrie and Simcoe area for LGBTQ2+ youth, including past events such as a Queer Valentine's Day party, a Youth Speaking Up! Forum, and a Seeing Queerly Art Show.
Nelson is planning to become involved with the 2QTPride group at Nipissing University in the fall to continue their activism and community-building work. Nelson has also been active in engaging discussion in their own school and peer communities, both on- and off-line, to challenge homo/transphobia and inaccurate assumptions about queer people, and hopes to inspire other young LGBTQ2+ folks to feel empowered to speak up about their identities and become activists in their own community as well.
The Two-Spirit Youth of Chminissing (Beausoleil First Nation)
Including youth leaders Terra Sandy Roy, Jesse Michael Sharma, and Marti Cress.
My name is Jesse Michael Sharma, and I’m from Saugeen First Nation Territory. I am 17 years old. My pronouns are they/he and I identify as Two-Spirited. I am an advocate for trans and Two-Spirit youth local to Simcoe County and Beausoleil First Nation.
The work I have done throughout my high school years includes teaching introduction to Anishinaabe language classes, zine making workshops, poetry writing workshops, teaching pow wow dance and traditional drumming, and creating space for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ youth.
Skills I have obtained during my borrowed life include: porcupine quillwork, woodland art styles, graffiti writing, songwriting, song composing in traditional Anishinaabe styles, digital art, and writing in Ojibwe syllabics.
I recently received an award for my community work ethics by the Rotary Club of Midland, Ontario. I recently hosted a Two-Spirit Pow Wow on August 4 at Springwater Provincial Park, and am working to enrich my cultural knowledge and Anishinaabe language skills.
Mnaan Mad kwe ndizhnikaaz, myingan ndodem, Chimnissing ndoonjiba miinwa Chiminissing ndamiigwa.
I am Terra Sandy Roy, I am a band member to and reside on Beausoleil First Nation (Christian Island Indian Reserve #30). I'm 16 years old.
I am Youth Chief of the Beausoleil First Nation Youth Council (BFNYC), previously sat on the Barrie Native Friendship Centre Youth Council for 2 years as both Board members and Vice President. I was apart of the STACD (Start Talking About Coping and Drugs) Project through CMHA. Volunteered at the Barrie Native Friendship Centre for approximately 3 years as youth leader with the Wasa-Nabin program as well as the Right To Play Youth Leadership Program. Followed my work and joined the Well-being committee at my high school; worked with Springwater Provincial Park on a medicine wheel we designed and put in in June.
Continued to develop my skills and career as much as I could bringing me to where I am today, helping in the development of the BFNYC, as well as several other youth councils across Ontario and lastly, organizing the Niizh Manidook Powwow with my peers for the community of Simcoe County.
I am extremely humbled to be doing the work I am doing; being the voice and speaking for those who cannot.
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