Yukon - Amber Church
Amber Church is an artist, writer, designer and activist who lives in Whitehorse, Yukon. She currently works as the program director for Special Olympics Yukon, as a geography professor for Yukon College and as a writer for What's Up Yukon. She has a bachelor's degree in Earth and Ocean Sciences and Environmental Studies through the Double Honours program at the University of Victoria as well as a master's degree in Earth Sciences, focusing on glaciology and climate change, from Simon Fraser University.
Amber, what does democracy mean to you?
"For me, democracy is about the ability of a citizenry to engage in all aspects of government. Democracy means that citizens are able to voice their opinions and to make sure they are listened to."
How have you supported democracy in your community?
"I have been involved in many campaigns over the years. During the recent election, I was an organizer for the Yukon Youth Rock the Vote campaign, which encouraged 18- to 35-year-olds to vote. During the campaign, we did all kinds of activities, like vote mobs and rock-the-vote parties. We even chalk-bombed the city with messages from young people and drew lines on the streets, leading to polling stations. The murals we drew encouraged youth to vote by presenting positive messages about democracy. This was recorded, and we produced a time-lapse video, which compressed the entire process into eight minutes. The video was then posted on Vimeo as a way of encouraging young people both in Yukon and throughout the country to vote."
What would you tell a young person who thinks they can't make a difference?
"I would tell them that it is not true that one person cannot make a difference. The important thing is to shift your mindset and develop the confidence necessary to make change. Once you have been involved in a few things, you can begin to develop the tools you need to make a larger impact."
How can Canadian youth get more involved?
"There are so many ways! There are youth and community organizations across the country that support democracy and other issues, like social justice. The important thing is to begin volunteering and to get active with an organization."
What's one thing about Canada's democracy that makes you proud?
"That fact that Canada's democracy is open to everyone makes me proud. Our system is open to anyone, and all segments of our society are encouraged to vote."
What's one thing about Canada's democracy that you'd like to make better?
"I think Canada could use some electoral reform. I'm not sure that the current system is accurately representing voter wishes, and this may be causing some people to vote less frequently."
Who are your heroes, and who would you say inspires you?
"I'm inspired by people in all walks of life. I think inspiration comes from all around you, from community activists to Nobel Peace Prize winners."
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
"The ability to stop time. There is just so much to do that I would love to have the ability to freeze time and catch up every so often!"