Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the fifth annual WE Day Special, honoring young change-makers who are positively impacting their communities and the world, will air live on ABC from coast to coast starting at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. This unforgettable event will feature chart-topping performers and beloved celebrities, including Mahershala Ali, Chance The Rapper, Selena Gomez, Joe Jonas, Bill Nye, Natalie Portman, Hailee Steinfeld, Pentatonix, Meghan Trainor, and WE co-founders Marc and Craig Kielburger.
One of the remarkable youths that WE will be honoring during the special is Zeke Sumpter Ibarra, an incoming junior and president of his school’s WE club, who lives everyday advocating for inclusivity, positivity, and self-acceptance.
Although Zeke champions such attributes like positivity and self-acceptance, he himself knows that it is not always the easiest journey to achieve them.
“When I was younger I got bullied for being overweight and for being feminine; just for being myself. I kind of went through a spiral of not loving myself. It was a dark time,” recalls Ibarra. He stated that the harassment wasn’t what hurt the most, but it was everyone being a bystander to the bullying that did. Zeke acknowledged that he struggled a lot with his identity growing up, including being biracial: “My mom is white, my dad is Mexican. I grew up in this limbo or middle-ground between these two sides. It was all a journey of self-discovery and finding myself.”
“Therapy for me I believe was the turning point of it all. I [not only] came out as gay, I came out in the sense of loving the fact that I’m biracial and different.”
Zeke Sumpter Ibarra
With his newfound inner-strength and passion for doing good, Zeke joined his school’s WE club. Knowing how it feels to be an outsider, Zeke decided to create a Positivity Takeover on his school campus. With the help of his club, Zeke spread positivity and the message of inclusiveness through acts of kindness, such as handing out flowers, cookies, hugs to his peers and placing anonymous notes of encouragement on lockers around the school. The Allstate Foundation later honored Zeke with a school mural and plaque to acknowledge his exceptional actions.
“When students are empowered with the right tools and support, we know that they can accomplish great things,” says Laura Freveletti, Senior Program Officer at The Allstate Foundation. “It’s an honor to celebrate Zeke and his peers for the work they are leading to promote positivity and inclusivity within their school and community.”
“They make me happy that I can represent people who share stories similar to me and be the beacon of this new era [of inclusivity] that we’re entering,” stated Ibarra as he thanked WE and The Allstate Foundation.
Neil Patrick Harris and Zeke Sumpter Ibarra
“I have the most amazing life I could ever ask for, and now I’m being able to spread my story nationally. I want to use this life that I’ve been given in a positive way because I don’t see the point in wasting what I’ve been so graciously given.”
While tuning into the WE Day Special, viewers will witness hope, optimism, and passion that will hopefully inspire them to create significant and lasting change. “I hope that people can come to terms with loving themselves and being happy with who they are,” says Ibarra, “and to take inspiration to use their platform, use their diversity, use whatever they have to help other people.”
“In a world like ours today, there needs to be a lot more love, a lot more positivity, and I think that’s something that we all as collective people can work towards.”
Zeke will be featured in the upcoming national broadcast, WE Day, and will be watching the show alongside his entire school district, community members, and local leaders, as The Allstate Foundation hosts a WE Day Broadcast Viewing Party on the North Monterey County High School football field.
Join Zeke and his community as they watch the WE Day Special, airing on ABC, Friday, August 9, 2019 at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. WE Day was made possible by title partner The Allstate Foundation, and by presenting partners Walgreens and Microsoft.