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Youth MOVE Change Initiative Fellows Q & A: Nakiya Lynch

We are checking in with the new Youth MOVE Change Initiative Peer Fellows this week, and they have a lot of great things to say. Today, we are meeting Nakiya Lynch!

What is something about you that you think is important for others to know?

I’m passionate and I never give up!

What does being a leader mean to you?

To me being a leader means listening to the community you represent and advocating for their best interests at all times according to their needs. It’s less about taking control and more about being a mouthpiece.

What’s something that you did that was embarrassing but taught you a lesson?

One time I almost took a failing grade in health class instead of completing a project we were assigned. We were asked to make a pop song about whatever disease we were assigned and sing it for the whole class. I had terrible social anxiety and couldn’t do it. But at the last minute I begged my teacher for another chance and was able to perform and pass the class. Now I barely think about that experience, and I almost failed an entire class for it! To me it was a lesson in not letting my anxiety get in the way of my own interest. If I let my fears take over my life I’ll be suffering the consequences of major decisions I made motivated by temporary feelings. Sometimes feeling the fear but doing the scary thing anyway is the answer.

What does advocacy mean to you?

To mean advocacy means speaking up for yourself and others in the name of equity.

What is one thing you want others to know about mental health?

That mental illnesses are exactly that: illnesses. People don’t magically wake up ‘better’ even if they’ve had a good day or good several months without issue. Mentally illnesses are chronic illnesses just like any physical disability.

What is one of your favorite ways of practicing self care?

I love spending time with myself doing things I enjoy doing with other people- watching movies, going out, just generally hanging out. It humanizes my own presence and reminds me of the importance of my own friendship and that cultivating a close relationship with myself is just as important as cultivating one with other people in my life.

What advice would you offer to young LGBTQ+ and BIPOC leaders looking to create impact within their communities and beyond?

To make sure that they’re advocating in a way that makes them the bridge between their community and equity and not the sole representative of their community. You can’t speak for everyone and their experience so it’s important to listen and let your community use you instead of stealing the mic from an entire diverse group of people.

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