Introducing our new Policy and Advocacy Officer, Zach Smith

I’m a proud Gunai man who grew up on Latji Latji Country (Irymple) and am currently living and working on Wurundjeri Country in Naarm (Melbourne).

I moved to the city in 2017, and since then I’ve had the opportunity to study at the University of Melbourne, whilst also having the opportunity to work within the public sector at Department of Health and Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Ever since moving to Naarm, Koorie Youth Council (KYC) has always been on my radar, whether it be hearing stories from other deadly young mob about the Koorie Youth Summit or seeing the amazing work within the policy space, KYC is something I’ve always wanted to be apart of. Since starting at KYC, I’ve met so many incredible young people who are revolutionising the way young blak kids can have their voices heard and represented.

Growing up in regional Victoria as a queer Blak person was difficult, I grew up thinking that there wasn’t a future or even place for me and couldn’t imagine where my voice mattered. However, I’m so grateful and offer my continuous thanks to the amazing people in my life, specifically the Blak matriarchs who have been pillars of strength and continuous guidance and support within community that I’ve managed to get to where I am now.

Since working within the policy space, I’ve begun to really take notice of our old people who have put in lifetimes amount of work into uplifting and speaking for our communities. I’m in continuous awe of them when I hear them speak about their dreams for us. I’m in awe of them when I see the impact of their advocacy their work has achieved in my everyday life.

What I want in most in this role is to be a voice that is heard for young people, I want to ensure that young people across the state are afforded any opportunity or support they need to be their best selves.

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